Limited Offer: Get the Best of National Geographic Channel 6-DVD Set for only $20 when you spend $100 or more.    VIEW DETAILS >>
  1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
View National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks image
Zoom
Video

National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks

$22.95

Price: $22.95

Item#:6201015

Qty: Available, ready to ship.





You May Also Like

Find the best National Geographic picks in 32 amazing national parks including Yellowstone's Lamar Valley, the Everglades' Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail, and Yosemite's exquisite Snow Creek Trail. Discover that Lamar Valley is home to many of the park's wolf packs; why the Everglades is the domain of the pink flamingo; and that astounding views of Yosemite's Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon are accessible on an easy day hike. The majority of national park visitors often stick to the most celebrated trails and scenic overlooks, missing a whole world of stunning scenery in the process. Informed by park rangers, superintendents, and frequent park visitors, National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks provides all the inspiration and information you need to plan your visit beyond the well-trodden, touristy spots in these 32 great national parks. Stunning photographs, informative sidebars, and easy-to-use maps will help make your next national park adventure memorable.


  • Softcover
  • 272 pages; 200 color photographs, 30 maps
  • 5 1/4" x 8 3/8"
  • © 2013

  • East: Acadia, Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, Biscayne, Everglades
  • Southwest and Rockies: Big Bend, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Arches, Rocky Mountain, Wind Cave, Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier
  • Pacific: Mount Ranier, Olympic, Crater Lake, Redwood, Yosemite, Channel Islands, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Hawaii Volcanoes, Haleakala

SHENANDOAH

As the closest national park to Washington, D.C., Shenandoah is an oasis straddling 300 square miles of Southern Appalachian ridgeline for metro residents and other visitors.


To the east is the Appalachian Piedmont, to the west lies the Shenandoah Valley, and in the corridor between are expansive mountain vistas, abundant black bears and deer, and secluded waterfalls and swimming holes.


Homesteaders first settled these mountains in the 1750s, and their descendants were displaced in the 1920s and 1930s when the Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the land to create the park.


Some were allowed to stay in their homes (the last resident died in 1979), and some worked with contractors to help build Skyline Drive and other park facilities. Family cemeteries and ruins serve as enduring reminders of the farm families who once lived here.


North District: Skyline Drive from Front Royal to Byrd Visitor Center

The park’s 105-mile long spine is Skyline Drive, a scenic roadway (speed limit 35 mph) built in part along trails blazed by Indians, fur traders, and pioneers.


Mileposts begin at zero at the northernmost point— Front Royal, Virginia (US 340) — and count up as you drive south. The drive and the park end at milepost 105, Rockfish Gap (I-64), where Skyline connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Viewing the park in three leisurely driving chunks— North, Central, and South— makes it more likely you’ll take the time to explore the side trailsoff Skyline Drive and stop at the scenic overlooks.


While the 75 overlooks along the ridge-crest route (the high point is 3,680 feet) make the Appalachian mountain vistas accessible to all, appreciating the park requires approaching it as more than a drive-through destination, says Andy Nichols, director of programs for a local guide company. “Shenandoah has more than 500 miles of trails, most of which lead to stunning places, but few people ever get out from behind the wheel. There are some often overlooked trails that are true gems.”


1. Fox Hollow Trail

The first stop for most people who enter the park via Front Royal is the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, where clean restrooms and an information center are the main draws.


Few people venture across Skyline Drive from the center to the Fox Hollow trailhead. The 1.2-mile loop doesn’t offer any of Shenandoah’s sweeping panoramas, but it does provide a window into the history of the people who lived here before the park was created.


The trail is named for the Fox family, tenant farmers here from the early 1800s through 1936. Thomas Fox eventually bought this site from owner Marcus Buck and built a seven- room log house in this area. The forest has reclaimed their cornfields and pastures, but the family’s cemetery and homesite remain.


2.Overall Run/Heiskell Hollow Loop

If you’re physically up to a challenging circuit hike (about 12.5 miles, half that if you only go to the falls and back), this one delivers Shenandoah’s best in microcosm.


“There are beautiful falls [including the park’s tallest, 93-foot Overall Run Falls], great views, and swimming holes near the bottom,” says Nichols. “In summer the swimming is amazing, and in winter the upper falls are magnificent.” (Freezing temps can turn the cascades into icicles.)


From Skyline Drive, park at the Matthews Arm Campground amphitheater and follow Traces Trail to the Tuscarora-Overall Run Trail, connecting with Heiskell Hollow to complete the circuit.


3. Beahms Gap

With 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) paralleling much of Skyline Drive through the park, it’s easy to hike a short section. White blazes on trees mark the AT. Blue signifies park trails, and yellow, horse trails (hiking allowed).


The AT crossing near Beahms Gap is only a few hundred yards from the parking area and is a favorite birding spot of biologists Ann Simpson and her husband Rob, co-owners of a local photography business.


“More than 200 species of birds are found in the park,” says Ann. “In summer, look for scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, and rose-breasted grosbeaks. In fall, sparrows, eastern towhees, and migrating warblers love the scrubby, insect-filled cover here.”


Central District: Thornton Gap to Swift Run Gap

To meet Shenandoah in the middle, enter the park through Thornton Gap or Swift Run Gap, and drive between the two. This is the highest section of the park, and it includes its highest peak, at Hawkskill (4,051 feet), and second highest point, 4,011-foot Stony Man.


4. Stony Man to Spitler Knoll Overlooks

With 75 Skyline Drive vista overlooks, it can be difficult to pick the perfect spot to pull off and watch the sun go down. “Most of the overlooks are oriented with a westward view into the Allegheny Mountains, so there are many that are nice for sunset pictures,” says Rob Simpson.


To snap the quintessential Shenandoah sunset vista, the Simpsons suggest staking out an unobstructed view at one of their favorite photo stops along this stretch of Skyline Drive: Stony Man, Timber Hollow, or Spitler Knoll.


5. Stony Man

The popular loop hike to the top and back is steep (about 340 feet upward) and rocky (it’s called Stony Man for a reason) in spots.


At only 1.6 miles, however, it’s a short way for some long views west over wave after wave of forested Appalachian Mountain ridges. Park at historic Skyland Resort early in the day to make the climb before the crowds arrive.


For a shorter option with similar views, hike the trail to Little Stony Man, a 0.9-mile round-trip.


6. Limberlost Trail

The easy Limberlost Trail (named for an early 1900s novel) is Shenandoah’s most accessible woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife trail.


The five-foot-wide crushed green- stone walkway loops through 1.3 miles of forest. Mountain laurels bloom in June and white-tailed deer are regularly spotted here throughout the year.


The gentle grades make it possible to push a stroller or wheelchair, but ruts can form and wooden bridge surfaces can get slick when wet. If you’re a wheelchair hiker, invite a friend to join you (always a good idea for any hiker on any trail).


7. Big Meadows

The Byrd Visitor Center is a popular rest stop since it sits roughly at the halfway point along Skyline Drive.


Take some time here to stretch your legs and walk across Skyline Drive to Big Meadows, the park’s largest open vista, suggests Mary Craig, summer park teacher.


The meadowlands’ low-bush blueberry, maleberry, and deerberry bushes; two nutrient-rich wetlands; and native grasses attract abundant wildlife and insects, including some species found nowhere else in Shenandoah.


“Early morning or just before sun- set are the best times to wander Big Meadows,” says Craig. “It’s a quieter period with fewer visitors and more opportunities to see white-tailed deer and black bears.”


While any of the bigger mammals are fairly obvious, spotting the Jones Run Falls four-toed salamanders, eastern gray tree frogs, upland chorus frogs, and other critters that live here requires walking softly and listening closely. Adds Craig, “Unplug from your electronics and have your kids do the same. When you get engaged in the outdoors, you see and hear so much more.”


8. Rapidan Camp

Before President Franklin Roosevelt established the USS Shangri-La retreat (renamed Camp David) as the presidential country residence, President Herbert Hoover built this fishing camp on the Rapidan River.


“The Hoovers enjoyed ‘Camp Hoover’ during the summer months to escape the heat of Washington and to entertain government officials and international guests,” explains Ann Simpson. “On a pleasant 4-mile round-trip hike along Mill Prong Trail from the Milam Gap parking area, you can reach Rapidan Camp, explore the area, and enjoy the same inspiring mountain trout stream that soothed the souls of many famous national and world leaders.”


To fish here, bring your gear and purchase a five-day nonresident fishing license at the Big Meadows Wayside or a local sporting goods store.


9. Lewis Mountain Campground

The campground is the park’s smallest, making it a quiet, somewhat secret retreat. When visiting with children, this also is an ideal setting for an impromptu discussion about the civil rights movement, say Ann and Rob Simpson.


“The Lewis Mountain facilities opened in 1940 as a segregated campground,” says Ann Simpson. “Later, that segregation ended and the campground was freely shared by everyone.”


The site is close to the Appalachian Trail, so through-hikers often camp here to shower, wash clothes, and stock up on supplies.


Near the campground facilities, hike to the summit of Bearfence Mountain, suggests Rob Simpson. “The name comes from the palisade-like rocks resembling a fence that surround the summit. The hike is a fairly easy 1.2- mile circuit to a 360-degree vista.”


South District: Rockfish Gap and North

“The southern edge of Shenandoah is much less populated, but there’s still plenty to see and do,” says Craig. Approach the park through the southernmost Rockfish Gap Entrance at US 64 for a different perspective.


Heading north up Skyline Drive from here, there’s generally less traffic, and in early morning and early evening, adds Craig, more chance you’ll spot black bears, deer, or wild turkeys walking or feeding near the road.


10. Jones Run/Doyles River

In summer, pack a picnic and towel and spend a day cooling off in the swimming holes along this 6.6-mile loop trail, suggests hiking guide Andy Nichols. Park at Browns Gap (mile- post 83) lot, cross Skyline Drive, and follow the AT along the ridge for 1.4 miles to the Jones Run Trail. “This is a fun and rewarding hike on a hot day,” says Nichols. “There’s not quite as much solitude as some of my other ‘secret’ hikes, but it’s great for water- falls and pools.”



REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks
 
4.2

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

80%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Compact (5)
  • Easy to read (5)
  • Durable (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Hiking (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Casual/ recreational (5)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (4)

    Reviewed by 5 customers

    Sort by

    Displaying reviews 1-5

    Back to top

     
    3.0

    Relatively unimpressed

    By Stan

    from FL

    About Me Casual/ Recreational

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Easy to read

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks:

        I was quite disappointed in this volume. It was not worth the price. We've been to most of the sites, and wanted text and photos as a way of keeping our memories alive.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No
         
        4.0

        National Parks To Go

        By Plug

        from Hyde Park, NY

        About Me Casual/ Recreational

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Compact
        • Durable
        • Easy to read

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Hiking

          Comments about National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks:

          Great resource for the National Parks.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No
           
          4.0

          Handy guide for hiking

          By Hiking enthusiast

          from Farmington, CT

          About Me Casual/ Recreational

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Easy to read

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Hiking

            Comments about National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks:

            I used the hiking trail suggestions in this book when we hiked Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion National Parks. Good suggestions for trails at Capitol and Zion.

            But we ran into some problems on Bryce's Swamp Canyon Trail. (Pg.79) I don't fault the book. I inquired at the Visitor Center before we started out and received no warning about the trail's condition.

            After 1.5 hrs., the trail had damage and was hard to follow. Lot's of downed trees. There wasn't a marker depicting the turn off for the 4.5 mile loop. We ended up on another part of the trail, 3 miles from our car.

            Ironically, we ran into another experienced hiker. He had the same issue. Lucky for us, a nice German couple drove us to our car at Swamp Canyon Overlook trailhead. I made a report at the visitor center outlining the issues.

            All in all, I think the book is good and plan to use it for other National Park visits. One thing I would like to see is a trail rating system: easy, moderate, strenuous as well as the trail length. Sometimes that info was there, but hard to find.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No
             
            5.0

            Traveling with a Park Ranger

            By Avid Traveler

            from Corvallis, OR

            About Me Casual/ Recreational

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Compact
            • Durable
            • Easy to read
            • Insightful

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Hiking

              Comments about National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks:

              Before heading out to our many national parks, read this Guide with insights from our Park Rangers. It's like traveling with your own personal Ranger. It can't get much better than that!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Travel Guide

              By Native Texan Traveler

              from Mansfield, TX

              About Me Casual/ Recreational

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Compact
              • Durable
              • Easy to read

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Hiking

                Comments about National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks:

                This book will be used on an upcoming vacation to Utah. We will visit some national parks we've already seen there but are interested in other less crowded scenic areas. The book is packed with useful information and will go with us on other trips to the Lower 48 states.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • Yes

                Displaying reviews 1-5

                Back to top

                See Other Related Products

                Other Products Related to National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks

                National Geographic Secrets of the African Wild DVD Collection
                National Geographic Secrets of the African Wild DVD Collection
                (Got it? Rate it.)
                Category: DVDs/Animals and Nature/Animals and Wildlife

                National Geographic travels to the heart of Africa to reveal up-close encounters and intimate stories of lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo in the wild in this collection of eight of our most acclaimed specials.


                $34.95
                National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada
                National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada
                (Got it? Rate it.)
                Category: Books/Animals and Nature/Nature and Environment

                Canada's 42 National Parks are beautifully showcased in this first edition official guidebook for the 2011 100th anniversary of Parks Canada. In the same manner that the best-selling National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States covers America's crown jewels, this book is a handy, practical, and extensively illustrated guide to help visitors plan and execute their trips to all the Canadian national parks. It also offers short excursions to more than 40 National Historical Sites and the four National Marine Conservation Areas. Written by authors who know Canada's national parks well, this volume includes seasonal facts on these stunning and vital wilderness areas as well as guidance for getting there, when to go, how to visit, practical information on where to stay, and detailed descriptions of specific places within each park. Stunning photographs and custom, one-of-a-kind maps prepared by National Geographic cartographers enhance the entries. Just in time for the Parks Canada milestone anniversary, this guide will inspire visitors to celebrate the treasures of Canada, from the pristine shorelines of British Columbia's Pacific Rim to Newfoundland's Gros Morne and from the Arctic landscape of Aulavik to the prairies of Grasslands.


                $26.00
                National Geographic Magazine Digital Access (U.S.)
                National Geographic Magazine Digital Access (U.S.)
                (Based on 3 reviews)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                Roam the world through the pages of National Geographic magazine, now available in an enhanced digital edition. Explore the diversity of our planet's lands and inhabitants in compelling stories covering topics such as animals, nature, science, technology, culture, history, travel, adventure, exploration, and geography.


                $15.00
                National Geographic Magazine U.S. Delivery
                National Geographic Magazine U.S. Delivery
                (Based on 9 reviews)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine
                You are invited to roam the world in the pages of National Geographic magazine. Explore the diversity of our planet's lands and inhabitants in compelling stories covering topics such as animals, nature, science, technology, culture, history, travel, adventure, exploration, and geography. The monthly National Geographic magazine is your key benefit of membership. Join the Society and bring the adventure of National Geographic into your home! For additional membership benefits see "Member Benefits" tab.
                • 12 issues
                • Please allow 4-6 weeks for the delivery of the first issue within the U.S. and Canada.

                $19.00
                Complete National Geographic - 2010 and 2011 Annual Update DVD-ROM
                Complete National Geographic - 2010 and 2011 Annual Update DVD-ROM
                (Based on 6 reviews)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                Customers who purchased the original Complete National Geographic with issues through 2009 can update their collection with all 2010 and 2011 issues on one DVD-ROM.


                $9.95
                The Complete National Geographic on 7 DVD-ROMs
                The Complete National Geographic on 7 DVD-ROMs
                (Based on 83 reviews)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                Browse 123 years of National Geographic magazine—more than 1,400 issues, 8,000 articles, 200,000 photographs, and hundreds of maps exactly as they appeared in print. Our definitive collection of every issue of National Geographic magazine through 2011 is digitally reproduced in high resolution. Use the visual interface to explore a topic, find photographs, browse the globe, or wander on your own expedition. Includes bonus DVD featuring the history of the National Geographic Society. Requires Windows® 7/Vista/XP/2000 or Mac® OS X v10.4 or later. Internet access required for some features.


                $79.95
                $24.99
                National Geographic Bee Wall Decal
                National Geographic Bee Wall Decal
                (Got it? Rate it.)
                Category: National Geographic Bee Study Shop/Stationery

                Get students and teachers motivated for the National Geographic GeoBee with this large, colorful wall decal that’s easily removable. 24" diam.


                $39.95
                Complete National Geographic - 2010 Annual Update DVD-ROM
                Complete National Geographic - 2010 Annual Update DVD-ROM
                (Based on 7 reviews)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                Customers who purchased the original Complete National Geographic with issues through 2009 can update their collection with all 2010 issues on one DVD-ROM.


                $9.95
                $6.99
                National Geographic Ultimate High-Definition Blu-ray Collection Volume 2
                National Geographic Ultimate High-Definition Blu-ray Collection Volume 2
                (Got it? Rate it.)
                Category: DVDs/Best of National Geographic

                Explore the ocean depths, the historical past and far out galaxies with National Geographic's new high-definition collection. The five-disc Blu-ray set showcases four best-selling films from the large screen, including Sea Monsters, Forces of Nature, Journey to Mecca and Lewis & Clark plus the compelling and visually-dynamic TV special, Inside the Milky Way..


                $59.95
                National Geographic Mysteries of the Maya Special Issue
                National Geographic Mysteries of the Maya Special Issue
                (Got it? Rate it.)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                This National Geographic Special Issue will transport you back in time to witness the glory and demise of the Maya, an ancient and complex civilization. Unlock the secrets of Maya writing, relive religious rituals, watch deadly sporting events, and marvel at Maya architecture and engineering. Spanning the Pre-Classic (500 BC to 250 AD), Classic (250 AD to 900 AD), and Post Classic (900AD to 1,500 AD) eras, Mysteries of the Maya is full of essays and sidebars on topics like the Mayan book of creation, the Mayan alphabet, and Mayan warfare.


                $10.99
                The Complete National Geographic: 125th Anniversary Edition
                The Complete National Geographic: 125th Anniversary Edition
                (Based on 3 reviews)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                Browse every issue of National Geographic magazine from 1888 through 2012—more than 1,400 issues, 8,000 articles, 200,000 photographs, and hundreds of maps exactly as they appeared in print. Our definitive collection of every issue of National Geographic magazine through 2011 is digitally reproduced in high resolution. Use the visual interface to explore a topic, find photographs, browse the globe, or wander on your own expedition. Requires Windows® 7/Vista/XP/2000 or Mac® OS X v10.4 or later. Internet access required for some features.


                $79.95
                $32.99
                National Geographic Holy Land: Crossroads of Faith and Conflict Special Issue
                National Geographic Holy Land: Crossroads of Faith and Conflict Special Issue
                (Got it? Rate it.)
                Category: Magazines/National Geographic Magazine

                This National Geographic special issue starts with the geography of the Holy Land itself, including modern-day Israel and Lebanon, parts of Jordan, Syria, and northeast Egypt. By looking at the rise of early cities, like Jericho and Ugarit, we see the combination of commerce, culture, and politics that shaped early regional civilizations. Then the issue moves into the three faiths that intersect in Jerusalem.


                $12.99