James Kaiser on Acadia, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks

Yosemite Valley

How many of America’s national parks have you been to? I’ve only visited a handful even though I  love the great outdoors, wide open spaces and awe-inspiring scenery. It’s so  beautiful here in Telluride that I often feel like I’m living in a national park. But still. There are so many out there to discover; the question is where to begin.

Here’s a great start:  let James Kaiser, award-winning travel writer, photographer and expert guide you. Listen to my Travel Fun interview below and hear what James has to say about some of America’s greatest treasures. Like me, he agrees that most Americans are missing out on what’s in their own backyard. “Fifty percent of the people you see in America’s national parks are foreigners,” James says. “They travel halfway around the world to visit our national parks,” he continues. And while you’re listening to our interview, I suggest you check out his site, JamesKaiser.com, where you can see and shop for some of his spectacular national park photos.

Acadia Islesford and Mount Desert Island

So far, James has authored four guidebooks, all richly illustrated and informative books that also feature his photography. He started out with “Acadia:  The Complete Guide” and then after tremendous success with that book, branched out to Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon and Yosemite. In our interview, James provides a terrific overview of each of the four national parks he has written about, talking about the highlights of each and the best times to visit.

Acadia National Park has special significance to James since he was born and raised nearby. This is also the first in his series of guidebooks and clearly one of his favorite places in the world.

Joshua Tree at Sunset

James describes Joshua Tree National Park as something out of a Dr. Seuss book or a Salvador Dali painting and indeed it’s not hard to imagine the unusual landscapes for which this park is known. “It’s a mecca for rock climbers,” James explains. “You see these crazy boulder piles throughout the desert.”

Asking James to summarize Grand Canyon National Park in five minutes or less was perhaps unkind of me, but you’ll hear he does a great job. “I set out to show people that the Grand Canyon is so much more than a pretty view,” James says. In his book, “Grand Canyon:  The Complete Guide,” he emphasizes the hiking and geological aspects of the Canyon along with what he deems to be the greatest outdoor adventure in America:  rafting the Grand Canyon.

Yosemite also garners a special spot within James’s travel writings and adventures. Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, James talks about how this national park has become most famous for the Yosemite Valley. That’s where you’ll see some of the highest waterfalls and cliffs in the world. In our interview, James talks about the Yosemite Fire Fall, clearly one of the most exciting and transcending phenomenons he has experienced in nature. Plan to go their in February.

As I mention in my story, Touring the Southwest with My Parents, late fall and winter are terrific times to visit many of America’s national parks. And now is also a good time to begin making your plans for next spring and summer. As James and I discuss in our interview, the important thing is to get out and visit our national parks. They’re too beautiful to be missed.

Click on the button below to listen to my interview with James Kaiser.


Thank you to James for the use of his images in this post.

Grand Canyon Rafting

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