Planning a trip to national parks in Utah, Wyoming, Montana? Start now

Wild flowers in bloom in Death Valley in February.

Over the holidays my husband and I had many opportunities to see old and new friends as well as family. The topic of renewing travel plans in the new year has often come up, how the pandemic started to get worse, travel restrictions being lifted and the optimism that comes with a new year.

Several popular destinations came up in various conversations. One trip was to the California Desert area, putting in national parks like Death Valley or Joshua Tree national parks in late winter or early spring. Another was many variations on the theme of touring Wyoming and Montana and exploring three of our most iconic national parks, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole and Glacier, the absolute gems of those beautiful states.

Joshua Tree forests inhabit the northern parts of Joshua Tree National Park.

So let’s share some ideas about advance, smart planning for trips to these attractions. We will provide our experience and the resources we have found to make such trips fun, painless and truly memorable. Our resources: our vehicles GPS system, Susan’s cell phone (my copilot), AAA, the internet, national and state park websites, travel apps like KAYAK and Hopper, hiking apps like AllTrails and state travel agencies and local. For fellow travelers’ impressions of motels, restaurants and travel destinations, TripAdvisor and Yelp will provide cumulative and individual ratings from real travelers. Internet searches will lead you to specialty sites (if you’re looking to stay ranch white, to sites like duderanch.org, which offers detailed options in many western states).

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