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Old 12-13-2006, 12:53 PM   #43
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Rodney,

One photographer to another--I have along list of world sites I want to visit, but can't seem to see enough of the SW to even consider any other destinations.

Having said that, I will recommend just three spots to start:

Sinbad region of the San Rafael Reef in Utah. Petroglyphs, arches, vistas you can't believe, and alcoves of red rocks! You can boondock north of exit 129 in the junipers--it's my second favorite camping spot. It's above 6,000', so it's moderate even in the summer. There are incredible view points at exit 114 and just west of exit 147. The location of the the photo "Sinbad Storm" is at the second picnic table west of exit 129 (see Welcome to mind's Eye Photography -- Fine Art Prints page "color 1"). I can give you directions to get there on BLM roads (you pass it on the interstate but can't get off). And don't forget Goblin Valley, at the south edge of the map...

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The Wave, on the Utah-Arizona border west of Page (see Welcome to mind's Eye Photography -- Fine Art Prints page "color 1"). You need at least two days--first day sign up at the Paria BLM trailhead at 9 AM and stand by for a lottery to get a pass for the next day. If you don't win, they give you two chances the next day, etc. You can boondock all around there--many access gates from the highway. There are many formations near the dam, plus 10 miles or so south of Page is the big bend of the Colorado--takes a lens a little wider than 17mm on a 35mm camera. There are also slot canyons, the best and nearest is Buckskin--entrance is the same location (Wire Pass) as the start of the hike to the Wave.

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Bandon Beach, in Oregon (see Welcome to mind's Eye Photography -- Fine Art Prints page "color 2"). Google the tide tables for Bandon and check for low tides in the late afternoons. Minus 1' to 2' is good enough. These low tides expose the flat beach, which you can see in my photos. One place not to miss is Shore Acres State Park up by Coos Bay. Stay in the Sunset Beach State Park RV camp--Oregon state parks are tops and worth it! And you're only 1/2 mile from Shore Acres. When you go there, pay the $3 to park in the botannical garden. It is wonderful and great photos. Also great photos down onto the rocks of the beach. However, the best thing is to go to the south edge of the gardens and take the trail down to the cove--you will find the most incredible rock formations. Guaranteed to blow a photographer's mind, or geologist's.

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Enjoy!
Zep
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Old 12-13-2006, 01:21 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by jglabrown
FYI: Mt Rainier (Washington) is also normally a "must see", but last month the heavy rains wiped out a significant number of camping areas. I was told by a Park Service employee that there's Federal money to repair the roads, but little or nothing for the campgrounds.
I wouldn't let that deter anyone. There are tons of campgrounds all around the park. Chances are you wouldn't want to camp in the park anyway; to much of a zoo. Lots of FS camping if you're willing to boondock. Ranger Creek for example just outside the Sunrise entrance provides well over a hundered campsites and it's mostly unused (unless it happens to be a special event like the mtn bike race in July). There's also Crystal Mtn ski area near there which runs the summit lift all summer with a spectacular view of the mountain. I think you could fit a thousand rigs in the upper and lower lots and hardly anyone is there in the summer. A lot of commercial campsites with full hookup but they will always be crowded in summer. Shouldn't be a problem if you reserve in advance.
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:06 PM   #45
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Lets see, my favorite places would be Sante Fe N.M., Taos, NM, Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona Az. Big Sur Ca, Montery Ca, Muir Forrest outside San Francisco Ca. Redwoods Nat. Park Ca, Pikes Market in Seattle and while your there visit the REI store, Olympic Nat. Park Wa.Vancover Island British Columbia. Have an awesome adventure!
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:11 PM   #46
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I guess it's different if you live around it all the time. Pike Place Market for instance, yeah, so they toss fish. Interesting place to take out of towners and still has relatively good seasonal food if you need to shop downtown but a must see? Likewise, the REI store. Nice example of retail space but not exactly the Mall of the Americas (not that I'd plan an Airstream trip to see that either). Olympic National Park is nice, especially the rain forest as that's unlike anything else I'm aware of in the US. But I wouldn't put it on par with Redwoods, Yellowstone or many other parks and man is it out in the corner of nowhere. If you do make it to Washington I'd say the one don't miss attraction would have to be Mt Saint Helen's. That's something you don't see everyday. And, who knows, it may be completely different in a year or two.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:13 PM   #47
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More info on Mt. Ranier National Park

Saw this update on the flood damage to Mtn Rainer National Park.

Rainier to welcome visitors – with limits | TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:22 PM   #48
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Utah!

You could easily spend a month just in Utah checking out all of the National Parks and Monuments. It is a remarkable state. With all the desert and canyonlands, it would be the perfect contrast to Banff and Jasper National Parks. Highly recommended in Utah:
Arches NP
Canyonlands NP
Zion NP
Bryce Canyon NP
Capitol Reef NP
Lake Powell (Glen Canyon NRA)
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:34 AM   #49
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California, 101: Avenue of the Giants! Redwoods to take your breath away!
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:39 AM   #50
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Update

I really appreciate all the responses so far. Here is how I am thinking at the moment. I absolutely want to spend some time in Idaho and Montana and a smaller chunk of time in the four corners area. I am reasonably familiar with the many of the major parks, however, I’m sure many lesser known attractions abound in all three areas mentioned above.

What I am really looking for at this point are favorite campgrounds (BLM, NF, established or boondocking) and the less obvious attractions (natural features, forts, ghost towns, abandoned mines, & what not). For example, the Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument looks interesting. Anyone know about Calf Creek falls? In Montana, are the prime areas just north of Yellowstone in the Gallatin NF or more up toward Missoula? Where are the views? Sawtooth NF is a highly probable destination in Idaho, I would welcome information about the other NF in Idaho for sure.

Ok so here are some specific places I would love to know about: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Hells Canyon National Recreation area, Big Hole National Battlefield, Upper and Lower Mesa Falls (ID), Selway Falls (ID), and Capitol Reef National Park. No doubt other locations will pop up as the trip nears…
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Old 12-15-2006, 12:33 PM   #51
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Capitol Reef

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Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
... Ok so here are some specific places I would love to know about: ...Capitol Reef National Park.
On our recent wild-hare round trip from Angel Fire to Minden, NV in the car, we passed through Capitol Reef NP and stopped in just to check it out. Nice visitor's center; some interesting cultural history (19th c. Mormon); fabulous views of the red-rock reef itself; plenty of hiking; a pleasant-looking campground that looked like had at least several sites we could fit into comfortably with our rig (30'). Bottom line: We think it's worth a visit.

Lynn
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:28 PM   #52
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Rodney, we went to one of the Mesa Falls, good walkways, huge water, impressive. For more ideas within each of the Rocky Mountain states, you might go to your favorite bookstore or online to look for Falcon Books, Scenic Drives of ______ (fill in state name). You'll find byways, well described, 20 or more per state. These really do lead you to the special features of the states, getting you off the interstates and into fascinating regions. We use these wherever we can and highly recommend them to you. ~G
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:59 PM   #53
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Rodney -

I can tell you a bit about Upper and Lower Mesa Falls on the Henry's Fork. They are really pretty, and in a beautiful section of the the river. This is in the canyon stretch below Harriman State Park, which stretches from Riverside Campground to the confluence of Warm River, where the Henry's Fork cascades through a deep canyon.

You can get there over the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (route 47), off Hwy 20. There is a campground right between the 2 falls, Grandview, but one of the most beautiful campgrounds in the US (IMO) is called Riverside, and it's about 7 miles south of Last Chance, off Hwy 20, and as the name suggests is located right on the river, and far enough off the highway that the only sounds you're likely to hear will be the rush of the river as you fall asleep.

You might find areas all along there where you could boondock, but although I've stayed overnight at many places between Rexburg to the south and Henry's Lake to the north, mostly I've just been in a tent or the back of my truck, so I won't attest how easy it may be to get a trailer in to them.

I just wish you wouldn't ask about areas like that that are so beautiful and also have such good trout fishing though.

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Old 12-15-2006, 02:16 PM   #54
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Craters of the Moon National Monument

I drove through Craters of the Moon National Monument a few years back on a multi stop ski tour of Idaho. It was interesting. Actually I found the Atomic City facility in that area more interesting but then I'm an engineer .

Bottom line is I wouldn't make the drive just to see it. If it's on the way to somewhere you could probably have fun getting some interesting pictures of desolation but to me it wouldn't rate as a primary destination.

Now Hell's Canyon, that's spectacular! Problem is most of it's best views are only accessable by raft and permits are in short supply.

-Bernie
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:49 PM   #55
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Rodney -

I can tell you a bit about Upper and Lower Mesa Falls on the Henry's Fork. They are really pretty, and in a beautiful section of the the river.
Hi Rodney,

John's suggestion is well worth considering, Then continue south to Driggs ID and east up in to Teton Canyon on the west slope of the Teton's.

Then head south again to Jackson WY , 20 minutes north of Jackson is a campground Gros Ventre ( pronounced grow-vaunt ). It is the perfect place to boondock with a trailer. From there you can easily explore the whole Jackson Hole and eastern slope of the Tetons. A unlimited amount of photo opportunities. Be sure to check out the Ox Bow Bend of the Snake River.

Then head back north towards Yellowstone.
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Old 12-15-2006, 04:25 PM   #56
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While in the Jackson area, stop by the National Museum of Wildlife Art-you almost miss it because its red color and architecture blend so well with the surrounding valley. This museum has incredible permanent and visiting collections of art to enjoy so plan to spend a while. Also, its dining area offers outdoor seating overlooking the Elk Refuge and the eastern side of Jackson Hole-magnificent! We laugh and say we'll drive across the country for another lunch date at the Wildlife Art Museum! ~G
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