Travel Insurance

Western U.S. National Parks Travel Insurance

Western U.S. National Parks Travel Insurance

The U.S. system of national parks consists of more than 60 parks operated by the National Park Service. The parks were established to preserve and maintain a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems all around the country. Every year, they welcome millions of visitors looking to escape big city life and reconnect with nature. Twenty-nine U.S. states and two U.S. territories contain officially designated national parks. This article, part of a series on U.S. national parks divided up by region, focuses on parks in the western region of the country.

The western region features some of the country’s most famous national parks from a wide variety of ecosystems. Grand Teton National Park boasts a mountainous terrain. Yellowstone National Park, the oldest national park in the U.S., offers hiking trails and a glimpse at the world-famous geyser, Old Faithful. Crater Lake National Park features a geological abnormality, an insulated lake formed inside a collapsed volcano. And Redwood National Park preserves forests of some of the tallest, oldest trees in the world.

As you’re planning your trip, make sure you purchase travel insurance and visitors insurance to protect yourself against any unexpected illness, accidents, or injuries you might face.

Western U.S. National Park Travel Insurance

Before plunging deep into the wilderness of somewhere like Grand Teton National Park, please consider purchasing vacation insurance to keep your trip as stress-free as possible. Depending on the plan, vacation insurance can include a wide variety benefits that cover situations like trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical treatment, emergency medical evacuation, hazardous sports activities, baggage loss or delay, repatriation of remains, and travel insurance. If you need help narrowing your focus down to the plan that works for you, our licensed, experienced staff are happy to lend a hand. Don't hesitate to contact us.

For more information about national parks of the U.S., see the following links:

Western U.S. National Parks to Explore

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

Grand Teton National Park, located in northwestern Wyoming, was established in 1929. The park covers an area of about 484 square miles and includes most of the mountains of the Teton Range as well as the valley of Jackson Hole, which was incorporated into the park in 1950. The park is named after Grand Teton, the highest point in the park at an elevation of 13,770 feet (4,198 meters). At the foot of the mountains lie boulder-strewn valleys, crisp pine forests, and glacial lakes; the most popular of them are Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake. Native wildlife include bison, elk, antelope, moose, black and brown bears, and a wide variety of birds.

The most popular time to visit the park is between May and October. Attractions include hiking, climbing, mountaineering, camping, scenic driving, boating, floating, and biking. It's famous for its 235 miles of hiking trails throughout the park, including Hermitage Point, Forks of Cascade Canyon, Holly Lake, and Jenny Lake Loop. It's also a popular spot for climbers of all skill levels; there are more than 800 climbing routes and 200 peaks of varying difficulties.

Camping is available at backcountry campsites and six campgrounds available for both reservations and walk-ins. Boating and floating are available on the Snake River, Jenny and Jackson Lakes, Emma Matilda Lake, Two Ocean Lake, Bearpaw Lake, and String Lake, among others. Biking is allowed on all paved roads, as well as the gravel roads of Two Ocean Lake Road and Grassy Lake Road. Similarly, the Multi-Use Pathway is open to any non-motorized vehicle.

If you’re planning to do any hiking, climbing, or mountaineering, we strongly recommend that you purchase hazardous sports travel insurance in case of any accidents or injuries.

Yellowstone National Park (Idaho/Montana/Wyoming)

Yellowstone National Park, spread across northwestern Wyoming, southern Montana, and eastern Idaho, was established in 1872 as the country's first national park. UNESCO designated it as a biosphere reserve in 1976 and a World Heritage site in 1978. The park has gained notoriety for its wildlife and its geothermal features, including the Old Faithful geyser. Yellowstone's 3,472 square miles feature lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges. The park welcomes more than 4 million visitors every year.

Within the park, the National Park Service operates 9 visitors centers and museums. National Historic Landmarks within the park include the Old Faithful Inn and the Fort Yellowstone-Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. The service also offers campfire programs, guided tours, and various other presentations.

Popular activities at the park include camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, nature photography, biking, and horseback riding. Yellowstone boasts twelve park campgrounds and more than 300 backcountry campsites. The park features more than 900 miles of hiking trails of various difficulty levels. The website recommends canyon day hikes, lake & fishing bridge day hikes, Madison day hikes (near the Madison, Wisconsin, area), Mammoth Hot Springs day hikes, and Old Faithful day hikes. Whatever locale you care to take in, Yellowstone has it.

Be aware that you may encounter bears during your time at the park. The National Park Service recommends that you hike in groups of three or more, make noise, and carry bear spray.

Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

Crater Lake National Park, located in southern Oregon, was established in 1902. The park is centered around Crater Lake, which fills a caldera formed by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth-deepest in the world at a maximum depth of 1,949 feet (594 m). The lake's water is known for its startling shade of blue. There are no streams running into or out of the lake; all water is lost through evaporation or sub-surface seepage, and it is replenished through direct precipitation like snow and rain.

Please be aware that, due to its high altitude, Crater Lake is often invisible due to cloud cover. Make sure to check the day's visibility levels before you visit. Activities in the park include Scenic Rim Drive, a 33-mile route with plenty of scenic viewpoints and overlooks along the way; backcountry camping (wilderness camping permits required); guided boat and trolley tours that provide insight into Crater Lake's geology; and more than 90 miles of forest trails that rise to peaks with lakeside views. Stargazing and fishing are also popular pastimes.

The park's winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ranger-guided snowshoe walks, snowboarding, sledding, downhill skiing, and snowmobiling.

Redwood National Park (California)

Redwood National Park, located in northwestern California, was established in 1968 and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980. The park was created to preserve groves of ancient redwood trees, including the world's tallest tree. The park also contains 40 miles of coastline of the Pacific Ocean. The park covers about 172 square miles and encompasses land also held by three state parks.

Wildlife in the park includes sea lions, harbour seals, bald eagles, California brown pelicans, black bears, the Roosevelt elk, coyotes, bobcats, blacktail deer, chipmunks, and squirrels.

The park is home to the coast redwood, the tallest species of tree on earth. In 1963, a redwood called "Tall Tree" measured in at 367.8 feet (112.1 meters) tall, with a diameter of 14 feet (4 meters).

Popular activities within the park include hiking, backpacking, and camping. Ranger-led programs include guided kayak tours and tidepool walks. There are a number of scenic driving routes including Howland Hill Road, Enderts Beach Road, Coastal Drive, Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, and Cal-Barrel Road. Among the 200 miles' worth of walking and hiking trails are Big Tree Wayside, Trillium Falls Trail, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Simpson-Reed Trail, the Prairie Creek-Foothill Loop, Tall Trees Grove, and the James Irvine Trail-Fern Canyon Loop.

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