PARKS MADNESS: Round One Raffle Winners!

We love all the love that's been shown to the parks for the past week. Thank you to everyone who submitted a Round One bracket. Round Two starts today. Submit your Round Two bracket here to be entered in the next raffle. And now the winners of the Round One raffle are . . .


Stephanie Kraft wins a book of her choice from Anderson Design Group.

Stephanie chose iconic Yosemite to win. Yosemite beat Pinnacles with an overwhelming 94.8% of the votes compared to Pinnacles’ modest 5.2%. As one Californian commented, “I was first upset Pinnacles and Yosemite were matched together. Both are fantastic parks. But this bracket has showed me I am not familiar with as many parks as I thought I was!”

James Burney wins two National Park Geek stainless steel carabiner mugs.

James chose Mount Rainier to win it all. In case you missed it, see our interview with Darius Nabors, Parks Channel Chief Bracketologist, in which he shares how he approached making the Parks Madness bracket, and why he gave Mount Rainier a number two seed.

Ashlynn Piwowarczyk wins a hat from the Parks Channel.

Ashlynn chose Rocky Mountain National Park to win it all. Fan favorite RMNP was in the top five with 91% of the votes, coming in behind Yosemite and Zion (both with 95%) and Acadia (92%), and just ahead of Great Smokies with 90%.

Alexander Pease wins a copy of Linda Mohammad’s new book The National Parks Bucket List.

Alexander chose Zion to win it all, and with 95% of the vote, it’s very possible. Some of the Round Two matchups are pretty tough. Here’s a rundown of all the winners including a few upsets. Hello Haleakala!

Round Two

Round Two begins today and ends April 2. Enter your Round Two bracket here. Raffle winners from Round Two will win Parks Channel swag, products from National Park Geek, the Anderson Design Group, the Bucket List Traveler, and new for this round Parks Project. All entries will also receive a 10% one-time discount code to the Anderson Design Group store.

Thanks for playing!

Bonus Content: Here are some of our favorite comments from Round One

Our Parks Madness bracket was meticulously crafted, pitting iconic parks against each other in an East vs. West showdown. From the majestic peaks of Glacier to the sun-kissed cliffs of Zion, the match-ups were fierce. The seeding was at times controversial, and judging by the comments, there were more than a few “upsets”.

  • Those poor Midwest parks don’t stand a chance . . .
  • All entries are winners for the US!
  • Great idea! My first trip to Yellowstone was 73 (not a typo) years ago. It has always been my favorite National Park, and definitely my Happy Place. I still visit every year.
  • Acadia is a powerhouse. This is their year!
  • Acadia v. Gateway Arch feels like UCONN – Stetson. Feels almost unfair to put them on the same court.
  • North Cascades was snubbed!
  • Channel Islands and Lassen Volcanic are hidden gems, but won’t last through the first round because of the parks they’re up against.
  • Bryce vs Black Canyon of the Gunnison was a tough one!
  • Zion v Indiana Sand Dunes is like Virginia playing UMBC in 2018. No way a 1 seed could lose in the first round to a 16 seed, never happened, never will. Oops…..
  • Both Katmai and volcanoes have things that can kill you, grizzly, bears and lava, respectively. The unbelievably harnessed power of mother earth in Hawaii volcanoes national Park is something that most other parks cannot compete with, and as a celebration of nature, a park that literally celebrates a Phenomenon that creates new land and habitat, should at least make it out of the first round.
  • White sands vs great sand dunes was cruel.
  • Channel Islands doesn’t stand a chance against Crater Lake since many people don’t know it exists and it could’ve done better against many other parks. Same with Lassen Volcanic and Sequoia.
  • North Cascades vs. Grand Tetons was very difficult for me because those are my top 2 parks.
  • Love it – thanks for doing this! Hard choices across the board. I wish there could be more than one winner!
  • Making me pick between Congaree and Badlands was f*$#ed up.
  • Bryce vs Black Canyon of the Gunnison was a tough one!
  • Joshua Tree v Olympic is a shocker of a first round matchup! Lassen deserves better as does Big Bend and Teddy Roosevelt. Congaree is so underrated and I personally think Zion & Acadia are great but overrated. Mt Rainier as a #2 is high high high!
  • Absolutely love this! Our parks need more attention!

Featured photo of Glacier National Park by Grant Eaton


PARKS MADNESS: Round One Winners!

First-round voting brought a few upsets and lots of drama! See full results below. Round Two begins now and will run through midnight ET on April 2, so even if you missed the first round, there's still time to pick your favorites. All entries eligible for a raffle of prizes. Follow @theparkschannel for stories and reels, and use #parksmadness to share photos and let us know what you think!


The 2024 Parks Madness Round One featured hard-fought battles from coast to coast and some tight contests, but there were no Cinderella shockers for the top seeds, who dominated their competitors. Yosemite, Zion and Acadia all defeated their first-round opponents by at least 90% of the votes. With Yellowstone getting a first-round bye, our competition still has all four of the iconic parks whose names are on the brackets, along with perennial powerhouses the Great Smokies and the Grand Canyon.

The No. 2 seeds also breezed through, although Mount Rainier faced a scrappier-than-expected Petrified Forest, whose effort proved anything but fossilized. No. 3 seed the Grand Canyon also had a tough first-round matchup. Despite an annual visitation advantage of 5 million to under 400,000, the “Mountain Lying Down” had to fight to the end to defeat upstart Kenai Fjords.

Utah’s “Mighty Five” had a dominant Round One and all look formidable going into the next round.

Narrow Upsets

Round One saw a handful of upsets. The famed Fat Bears of No. 7 seeded Katmai National Park scuttled into early hibernation, unable to overcome the powerful geologic forces of No. 10 seed Hawai’i Volcanoes. The sun-kissed beaches of another No. 10 seed, Virgin Islands National Park, proved too alluring for No. 7 seed Guadelupe Mountains. No. 9 seed Gates of the Arctic, despite “no roads, no trails and no established camping sites” (per NPS) managed to upset No. 8 seed Lake Clark, which can at least boast 7 miles of trails and great bear-watching.

Close Calls

Among the narrow escapes, No. 6 seed Shenandoah faced an august challenge from Michigan’s No. 11 Isle Royale, and No. 4 Everglades had to swim for its life against No. 13 Dry Tortugas.

Like vs. Like

In matchups of sibling biospheres the top seeds prevailed, with No. 3 seed Glacier easily putting No. 14 seed Glacier Bay on ice and No. 6 seed Death Valley offing No. 11 Kobuk Valley. Eighth-seeded Carlsbad Caverns buried No. 9 Mammoth Caves and No. 6 Great Sand Dunes made No. 11 White Sands bite the dust.

Under the Radar

Some hugely popular parks that don’t get as much attention as the bigs moved into Round Two without breaking a sweat, including the No. 5-ranked Grand Tetons, No. 3 Canyonlands and No. 4s Sequoia and Crater Lake. And don’t sleep on some of the less high-profile names that drew picks for overall champion, including No. 2 Rocky Mountains, No. 8 Bryce Canyon and the No. 5 Badlands.

Headline Matchups for Next Round

As Round Two of Parks Madness opens today, there are several marquis matchups to look out for:

Yellowstone bracket – No. 6 Olympic, which won the ring from fan favorite No. 11 Joshua Tree, now faces the chilling challenge of No. 3 Glacier.

Yosemite bracket – we have a white-hot matchup of dormant and active volcanoes, with Mount Rainier up against Hawai’i Volcanoes.

Acadia bracket – the dry fury of No. 5 Badlands enters the swamp to meet No. 4 Everglades.

Zion bracket – Mighty No. 1 Zion, beloved but often overcrowded in the lane and slowed by permits, must take on Utah sibling No. 8 Bryce Canyon, which has been among the top picks for overall winner in the early voting.

Even if you missed Round One, be sure to send in your ballot for Round Two and you’ll be eligible for a raffle of prizes, now including a gift card from the amazing Parks Project!

And your Round One winners are…

Featured photo by rorozoa – Freepik; Parks Madness logo by Drake Poe; badges by Anderson Design Group; Parks Madness brackets by Darius Nabors.


PARKS MADNESS: Round Two! Make Your Picks

Help your favorite parks make it into the Sweet Sixteen! The ballot below will be live through midnight ET on April 2, so even if you missed the first round, there's still time to make your picks. All entries are eligible for a raffle of prizes – details at the bottom of the page. Follow @theparkschannel for stories and reels, and use #parksmadness to share photos and let us know what you think!


Headline Matchups for Next Round

As Round Two of Parks Madness opens today, there are several marquis matchups to look out for:

Yellowstone bracket – No. 6 Olympic, which won the ring from fan favorite No. 11 Joshua Tree, now faces the chilling challenge of No. 3 Glacier.

Yosemite bracket – we have a white-hot matchup of dormant and active volcanoes, with Mount Rainier up against Hawai’i Volcanoes.

Acadia bracket – the dry fury of No. 5 Badlands enters the swamp to meet No. 4 Everglades.

Zion bracket – Mighty No. 1 Zion, beloved but often overcrowded in the lane and slowed by permits, must take on Utah sibling No. 8 Bryce Canyon, which has been among the top picks for overall winner in the early voting.

Even if you missed Round One, be sure to send in your ballot for Round Two and you’ll be eligible for a raffle of prizes, now including a gift card from the amazing Parks Project!

Enter Your Picks Here:

Voting has closed for Round Two. Be on the lookout for Sweet 16 voting at 10 am ET on April 3!

Featured photo by rorozoa – Freepik; Parks Madness logo by Drake Poe; badges by Anderson Design Group; Parks Madness brackets by Darius Nabors.


PARKS MADNESS: Round One Winners Announced Soon...

Watch this space for the announcement of Round One winners and Round Two ballot. All entries eligible for a raffle of prizes listed below! Fill out your first-round bracket at the bottom of this page. Deadline for Round One is midnight ET on March 27. Follow @theparkschannel for stories and reels, and use #parksmadness to share photos and let us know what you think!


In 2023, an impressive 325,498,646 visitors explored our National Parks. Meanwhile, roughly 25 million fans attended College Basketball games. Clearly parks won.

Given the fervor of March Madness—the annual tournament of the top 64 college teams—and the fact that we have 63 National Parks, we’ve created Parks Madness to give National Parks fans the opportunity to show their love and create a bracket that pits their favorite National Parks against each other. First we had to make some choices.

The 64th Slot Dilemma

We needed to fill that elusive 64th slot. Should we pick a National Forest, a State Park or a National Monument? After much deliberation, we decided to honor history. Our first National Park, Yellowstone, founded in March, received a BYE in the first round. It seemed fitting to give Yellowstone a head start.

The First Round Bracket

There are only 13 National Parks east of the Mississippi and 50 to the West. There are 51 in the Continental U.S., and 12 in Alaska, Hawai’i, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands. That number drops to 49 if you exclude Dry Tortugas and Isle Royale (since they’re found on islands). Ultimately, we opted for an East vs. West bracket and we just kept moving further west until we got a 31 vs. 32 split.

Drawing the Line

We drew the line at Colorado and Arizona, and took every park east of there. That gave us 27 parks, leaving us four or five short of an equal bracket. Luckily, the Mighty Five in Utah gave our Eastern bracket a total of 32 parks, leaving the Western bracket with 31 for the needed Yellowstone BYE, and that’s how we created the bracket.

Seeding

#1 Seeds – We feel pretty good about these. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia and Zion.

#16 Seeds – We feel pretty good about these as well with Pinnacles, Indiana Dunes and Gateway Arch. With the exception of New River Gorge and White Sands, these are the most recently created National Parks.

Yes, we know that Grand Canyon is a #3 seed and Crater Lake a #4. But what do you do when Mount Rainier, Denali, Sequoia, Glacier and Grand Teton are all in the same Western region?!

That’s the whole fun of it. We want you to pick your favorite park for each of the matchups. Vote for it and tell your friends to do the same. We would love to hear how wrong we are about our seeds. Would you have done it differently? At the end of the Round One ballot we offer you the chance to pick the overall champion by submitting a personal photo if you have one. And at the end there’s the opportunity to add your thoughts/suggestions for next year.

Prizes

Everyone who submits a complete Round One ballot will be entered in a raffle for Parks Channel swag, products from National Park Geek, the Anderson Design Group store and the Bucket List Traveler.

All entries will also receive a 10% one-time discount code to the Anderson Design Group store.

As you’re voting, remember – they call it madness because of the potential for upsets! We encourage you to support some lesser-known parks along with the usual suspects…

Be sure to check back here on March 28 for the announcement of Round One winners and to fill out the ballot for Round Two.

Watch the interview with Darius Nabors who explains how he approached making the Parks Madness bracket.

Round one ended on 3/28/24 at 12AM EST. Stay tuned for Round Two!

Featured photo by rorozoa – Freepik; Parks Madness logo by Drake Poe; badges by Anderson Design Group; Parks Madness brackets by Darius Nabors.


Q&A: Hollywood to Patagonia with Alice Ford

Parks Channel contributor Alice Ford has a life that could only be dreamed up in Hollywood. When she's not traveling the world for her series Alice's Adventures on Earth, she's dodging bombs and kicking butt as a stuntwoman on films like Transformers. We spoke with Alice as she was putting the finishing touches on a new series that will debut on PBS, building on an audience that has already reached 5.7 million views on YouTube.


Alice, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. 

Of course, I love you guys, and I’m always happy to chat about national parks.

I always like to start with this summary bio challenge. In three sentences, tell us your origin story: how did you grow up, how did you find your way, and what are you doing now?

Childhood—lover of nature. Wanted to explore the world. Making it happen one country at a time.

That’s almost Haiku going on there – impressive! I know you’ve got a massive following for Alice’s Adventures on Earth, but some of the people who watch your videos may not realize that your day job is actually Hollywood stunt woman. Tell us how you got into stunt work and a little bit about those experiences.

I grew up as a perpetual tomboy. I was always roughhousing and jumping off things and getting into trouble, ripping my stockings, outside playing in the snow or climbing a tree.

Alice Ford in Lassen Volcanic National Park
Photo by Jorge Lopez Media

I didn’t even know being a stunt woman was a thing growing up. But I was in gymnastics and track and field and skiing and diving, and all these different sports. And when you do those things throughout college and then get out of college, you’re left with kind of this void in your life, because all the competition that you’ve done throughout your entire life ends.

Becoming a stunt woman was a way for me to not only feel like I was still competing and performing—in all the kinds of sports combined into one that I had done my whole life—but I also got paid for it, which was not possible in college sports until recently, especially in the sports that I did.

Alice in the Amazon Prime Live Show at Comic Con

It was a perfect fit. I didn’t discover it right after college. I actually got into stunts when I was around 24, 25 years old, so a little bit later than a lot of other people in the industry. But it was a perfect fit for me to be able to kind of marry my love for athletics with my love for being in front of the camera as well.

What was the first movie?

The first was actually a TV show called Make It or Break It on ABC Family. It was a scripted drama about a gymnastics team, and I doubled one of the girls who was on the gymnastics team.

I understand that you also worked on the Transformers films. 

I worked on Transformers 4, Transformers 5 and Bumblebee. My first really big, long multi-country movie was Transformers 4. It was an amazing experience. Definitely a lot of chaos on those sets, because there are a lot of people, a lot of moving parts, a lot of explosions, and you’re working really hard every day. But that was a fantastic experience. And getting to work with Michael Bay is something I’ll never forget. He’s a man who knows what he wants. It was a very exciting set to work on and I’m glad I got to experience that.

I bet. Is it a lot of green screen? It’s not like you were standing next to actual Transformers.

Well, the robots are digital, but unlike the Marvel movies, for Transformers we were on location in all these crazy places around the world.

Unlike Spider-Man or Deadpool, or one of the other comic book movies—where they shoot everything on a green screen now, and they key in New York City, or they key in a field full of buffalo, or whatever it is—on Transformers we were in all these cities.

We drove cars. We closed down the middle of Chicago. We were in China. We were in Washington State. We were in Detroit. We were in Hong Kong, and we’re closing down city streets. It was wild, like a real movie. Nowadays, we’re getting so much into digital that when you get to actually work on a set where you’re out in the field on location or out in the elements, that’s really cool.

Alice in Transformers 4 (Photo courtesy Alice Ford)

It sounds like a perfect job for you, since travel has always been a passion. What was the first park experience that lit the fuse for you? 

It was when I was very little—I was maybe 6. My parents loved to travel, and the first national park I remember going to was Yellowstone. We flew to Colorado—my grandmother lived in Colorado—and we did a big, huge road trip all throughout Colorado and Wyoming. We rented a cabin in Yellowstone for a couple of weeks in the summer, and I just loved it.

I wanted to move there. I literally was like, okay, family: there’s an ice-skating rink here; there’s a gymnastics gym nearby. Why don’t we just stay here and never have to go home? I loved seeing the bison and all the different wildlife.

This was long before the wolves were reintroduced, so I didn’t get to see those as a kid, but I loved the geysers and just the spectacular-ness of all the different landscapes there.

I remember we were caught in a hailstorm at one point. My dad had to go find somewhere to find shelter because we thought the windshield would break. It was just really exciting. That was the first national park that I remember vividly as a little kid.

We did a lot of long road trips as a family, especially out west. My mom and dad met in Colorado, and my dad worked a lot in the mountains of Arizona and Colorado, and he loved the landscapes out west.

Alice in Yellowstone with her mom, Elli, and sister, Meridith.

So I fell in love with that as a young kid. I also grew up in a spectacular wild place in New Hampshire, surrounded by forest and animals, and my sister and I were always out playing in the woods. We made all the animals our friends.

When did you decide to put a camera on yourself and share those experiences—the germination of Alice’s Adventures on Earth?

When I was in college, or maybe even before college, I had this notion that I wanted to do something involving travel and being on TV. But I grew up in small towns where things like that didn’t exist, where you couldn’t really get into that. We didn’t have people who were TV hosts there.

For a long time it was just this dream. Then when I started working in stunts, I met some people who were producers, and I told them I wanted to have a travel show. They suggested I write a treatment for one, at least have something on paper that outlines my ideas. So I wrote a treatment, and for a long time, all I had was this piece of paper and this dream that maybe someone will find me on the street. You know, things aren’t like that anymore.

Then I got on Transformers and we were traveling all around the world. I had planned this big trip afterwards through Southeast Asia and Australia, and one of the people I met on the movie said, if you really want to have a travel show, you should just shoot all the places you’re going to see and come up with a proof of concept, shoot a pilot.

Alice shooting for World Heritage Adventures in Parque Nacional del Teide in Tenerife, Spain

So that’s what that trip became—my first ever pilot. At the time it was a show called World Heritage Adventures, and it was basically about the world’s national parks. And that’s kind of what started everything. Because after that, I had something to show to people in the industry, so maybe somebody would take me seriously and I could grow it into something else.

That was 11 years ago. Things evolved slowly. I have become so much better as a host and editor, and as a cinematographer—as you do when you spend a lot of time doing these things. But then I got serious about YouTube a couple of years later. And now we’re here. I’ve got a show on PBS, and obviously quite a few followers on YouTube as well.

And soon hopefully shows on the Parks Channel! Excited to have you be a part of that, too. What are your goals for your audience? Obviously, you’re capturing your own experiences. They’re full of insights and advice. But I’m curious if you’ve got a mission statement that you put with the series.

I definitely want people to be able to experience nature in a way that’s more authentic. I also want them to have the takeaways of more respect and love for wildlife and nature.

I just got back from Patagonia a couple of weeks ago, and there was an ethos that the conservation company that deals with the parks down there kept repeating to me—multiple people I met said the same thing. If we can’t get people to touch and feel nature, and they can’t fall in love with it, then they won’t want to protect it.

Gentoo penguins in Antarctica (Photo by Alice Ford)
Alice kayaking in Chile

I think the thing I want to share with people in my videos isn’t just, okay, here’s how, here’s what you can do, here’s where you can eat. It’s also, I want you to feel what I’m feeling. I want you to be with me in my backpack, so you can experience this in the way that I’m experiencing it, so that you fall in love with it, and you want to protect it not only for our generation, but for generations to come.

Follow Alice on her recent solo trek through Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile

Do you have any idea of how many national parks you’ve actually visited to date? I know a lot of people like to get their stamps in the passport and collect them all. I’m sure you’re way ahead of most normal human beings, but I’m curious if you keep that number in your head?

At least 25, maybe more than that. My friend and I have decided to compete to get the most Junior Ranger badges. We started that last year, and I have like 10 Junior Ranger badges just from this past year.

I’m glad you actually have a few more to go, considering how much you travel! That’s a good thing – you never want to completely finish them out, do you? It’s a lifelong journey.

Absolutely. I hope to see more and more national parks as our lives progress.

You mentioned Yellowstone is sort of a first love. But do you have any other favorites?

I love Lassen Volcanic, here in Northern California. Even after living in California for six or seven years, I didn’t know it was a national park. I’d never heard of it—I had no idea it was in California. And then you go there and you realize that it’s so much like Yellowstone. It’s got geysers and sulfur ponds, volcanoes and crazy landscapes that are very diverse. Most Californians really like Yosemite. I like Yosemite, too, but I like Lassen a little bit more.

I love a lot of the Utah parks. Canyonlands is amazing. And some of the parks in Alaska. Denali is great. Lake Clark National Park is one of my favorites as well. I like the Smoky Mountains on the east coast as well.

So you’re obviously an expert in doing this. But going out in nature, there are always surprises. What is the biggest park fail you’ve endured?

Biggest park fail was probably when I did Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and I did not zip up my backpack pocket, and I lost my cell phone off a cliff.

Oh, no! You’re kidding. I take it that was a complete loss?

Yeah. I did search for it. There was another guy who had been hiking and who was very good at rock climbing who scaled down to see if he could find it, but he never found it. It was pinging for a while, showing it was in the park, but I think it must have fallen in a crevasse. There was just no way to find it. Getting back to where I was staying—three hours away—was a challenge because I no longer own a map and I had no directions.

Problems with the modern world—you don’t even think about having a paper map as a backup these days! What would you consider your greatest park success, in terms of achievement, or something that you just stumbled on?

That’s a good question. A recent one was Death Valley National Park, which I went to in October. We’ve had a lot of rain here in California, and Badwater Basin—the lowest, hottest, and driest place in America—has flooded so the landscape has become a shallow lake. If you go there right now, it is just spectacular to see this thin layer of water across the salt flats. I’d never seen it before and I would like to say it would be once in a lifetime—but it’s happening more now this past year. That was a unique and special thing to kind of stumble upon. And at sunset or sunrise it is spectacular.

See Alice’s YouTube video on a recent visit to Death Valley here.

Alice in Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park

Very cool. Any tips or advice for photographers and filmmakers who are trying to follow in your footsteps?

Experiment. Get out there and actually start shooting stuff. Don’t wait. Just go out and do it. I think for a long time I was just like, okay, this is a dream, and hopefully one day it becomes reality. But if you’re not taking steps forward to actually make that happen every day or every week, it’s going to remain a dream for a long time.

As far as filmmaking goes, there are so many resources on YouTube, on the internet, at local photography and camera shops to take classes to learn from other people. If you see something interesting on TV or on social media and you want to replicate it, go out and experiment. Some of the coolest things I’ve learned have been from other people, or from watching movies, or from being on set and just kind of observing others. And be creative.

You mentioned earlier this idea that if we don’t experience nature, we’re not going to want to protect it. The National Park Service is trying to get more diverse and younger people out into nature to discover these places. What would you say for those who’ve been reluctant to even try because they’re intimidated, or for whatever reason they haven’t gotten out there?

I would say that it’s less scary than you think, especially at our national parks. One of the things that is so great about our national parks is that outside of maybe the North Cascades—which has very serious hikes for the most part—most national parks have a variety of trails, from half-mile paved trails to 15- to 50-mile backpacking loops. There is something for everyone, even if you’re not a hiker or a biker or a serious outdoor enthusiast. That is one of the things that makes our national parks so great. They have created them to be welcoming to people of all skill levels. So you should definitely go and check them out.

I think there are also budget ways to experience the national parks. Money is often a big stumbling block for a lot of people to access our national parks, and I think that in the years to come there’s going to be much better infrastructure to get into a lot of our national parks via trains and buses. I look forward to having things be a little bit more accessible to people who can’t afford to get to a lot of these more remote places.

Alice in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park

I know the Park Service has struggled over the years just to keep up with all the infrastructure demands, especially in the big parks that get overcrowded. As you look at the issues that public lands face, what are your biggest concerns, and what are your hopes for what the system can become?

My biggest concerns are definitely overcrowding and infrastructure—not over developing or allowing too many people. But the hard part is, people are very much on both sides of the issue. How can we give access to everyone, but make it so the parks are protected at the same time? A lot of people don’t like the reservations, but the reservations really keep the crowds down and make it so the parks are enjoyable. How can we do both of these things at the same time? That’s one of the biggest challenges the National Park Service is facing right now.

Reservations are back at Yosemite this year, which I think is great, but for people who don’t have flexibility or a lot of disposable income, it can be challenging to find dates that work. I’m not sure where things will go, but I know there has been a lot of experimentation the last few years with reservations and lottery systems. Controlling the crowds is definitely necessary. Another big issue is people getting too close to wildlife in parks like Yellowstone. Those are the biggest challenges in my mind.

Part of it is that so many people want to go to the top four or five parks. Do you have any hidden gems that you recommend for people when they can’t get a reservation to Yosemite?

Well, if you can’t get a reservation to Yosemite in particular, I would say Lassen Volcanic is not that far. Lake Tahoe is beautiful and is not that far. Sequoia and Kings Canyon are right below Yosemite. There are also fabulous state parks. California has 280 state park units, and they’re beautiful. A lot of states have fantastic state parks. Georgia has some fantastic state parks with huge waterfalls, and tons of hiking trails, and yurts you can stay in, and all kinds of stuff.

Alice’s Travel Guide to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Lassen Volcanic National Park (Photo by Alice Ford)

In Colorado, right next to Rocky Mountain National Park there’s an amazing state park that, I think, is one of the least visited state parks in Colorado, and it has trails that are very similar to the ones that are in the national park, and you don’t need a reservation. Same with North Cascades National Park in Washington. You’ve got Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest right next door. Some of the best hikes are actually in that park, not in the national park.

Follow Alice on her Solo Adventure to North Cascades National Park.

We’ve got a long to-do list at the Parks Channel to tell people about all those places! We’re on it. What is your next adventure? 

Well, I have recently been to Antarctica and Patagonia, so that’ll be what’s out next, content-wise. I’m in the planning phase on my next trips. On my travel board over here in the corner, I’ve got New Zealand, Peru, Uganda as potential trips. Maybe Greenland this year as well. Lots of big big destinations.

Amazing. Alice, thank you so much for finding some time to chat with us. We’re really looking forward to seeing more of you on the Parks Channel along with the upcoming PBS series. Happy travels!

Thank you!

Top photo of Alice in Cerro Castillo National Park in Chile courtesy of Alice Ford.