Advice for a Road Trip to a National Park

 I'm excited to have Rosanne McHenry join my blog today for a guest post as part of the blog tour for her book Tales of a Rogue Ranger. A giveaway for her book is happening there too. Make sure to find out more about her book. Thanks Roseanne!

Ready to visit your favorite National Parks? There are so many fun ways to go! It all depends on your destination, and how you prefer to travel. Many parks offer camping and lodging options. 

Whether you choose a sleeping bag under the stars, a room in a lodge, or a full-sized motorhome with all the comforts, the idea is the same: to get out and explore! Creating your own adventure and going where you want, when you want, is the epitome of freedom.

But every great road trip hinges on good planning and decent gear. Here are some tips that will help make your adventures foolproof and fun:

Plan Your Route: Even if you’re not exactly sure where you’re headed, pull out some maps (real or virtual) and look at the routes you want to follow.

We always ask ourselves the three G’s:

Where do we want to GO and how much time do we have? 

How will we GET there?

What is the distance, and how much GAS will it take? Then we highlight the route we want to take, and plan our trip accordingly.

What to Take:  There are lots of detailed, online checklists for basics to bring on a road trip. Always carry cell phones with charge cords, driver’s license and car registration, auto insurance, roadside assistance kit, first aid kit, wallet with at least two credit cards, water, snacks, extra clothing, and plenty of cash. Have duplicate car keys hidden in a safe, accessible place. 

Bring Good, Durable Maps:  These are essential to plan your trip. Navigation systems are convenient … until you get to an area where the satellite technology is useless. 
For the backcountry areas I recommend the National Geographic maps at around $15 each. These detailed maps show road types, topographic features, contour lines, featured landmarks, points of interest and much more. They cover most National Forest and National Park lands in the country.

Check Your Vehicle: Remember to check the condition of your engine, tires and spare. Do you know where the tire changing gear is in your vehicle? Practice changing a tire before you leave on a trip. A basic tool bag, roadside assistance kit, jumper cables, and car manual are critical.

Carry chains if you plan to go into the high country, no matter what time of year it is. Sudden snowstorms and hail storms can happen any time of year. Keep your chains in a canvas pack and know how to use these. They can be a lifesaver.

Know your parks:  Most parks have helpful websites to help you plan your visit. Some of the most popular parks are closed during the certain times of the year due to weather conditions. Some require advance reservations during the busiest months. All have limited campsite space and lodging.  It’s best to plan ahead and learn all about your destination. Visit for more information.  

Happy Trails!

About the Book, Tales from a Rogue Ranger

Tales of a Rogue Ranger is full of stories that speak to the comedy and tragedy of being a park ranger: a job that is nothing like you might imagine.  Set against the stunning backdrop of California's American River Canyon, this is an engaging and wildly unusual read about the untamed life of a woman ranger.  From a miner riding a mule to a young man lost in the system, these tales show the kaleidoscope of characters a park ranger encounters, giving the reader a fascinating look into a true ranger experience. Readers will laugh out loud, cry tears of sadness, and feel the greatest joy as they revel in this amazing book!  

Purchase a copy on Amazon today!

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