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National Park Visits | Government Shutdown

 National Park Visits During The Government Shutdown

The partial government shutdown is not ideal for anyone. However, we believe that it should not hold us back from campervan adventures. We here at Lost Campers are huge supporters of the National Parks Service. We want to encourage our customers to make sure that their National Park visits are planned with safety & environmental awareness in mind.  Also, we want to point out some options for researching an alternative destination for your trip. Since many of the parks have little to no staffing, we hope that you will make an extra effort to look after these treasured lands if you choose to visit them at this time. 

Planning a trip

The National Park Service website may not be updated until normal operations resume, but we encourage you to read up on the travel alerts that are currently posted in regards to the shutdown & road conditions. Even though some parks are accessible, this could change without notice. It is a good idea to have a backup plan. Check out State Parks as an alternative to visiting a National Park. Here are some useful links for Utah and California to help you research other options.

Visit Utah 

Visit California 

 

Safety & Emergency Services 

If you feel that you must visit a National Park during the shutdown, remember to journey there with a high level of caution and mindfulness. Self-sufficiency is a must and you are traveling to these areas at your own risk. Staffing and resources are very limited for more than general park management services. When it comes to emergency situations there is limited aid available within the parks at this time. Many emergency services are sourced from outside of the parks so response times may take longer. People who are experiencing an emergency should call 911. Backcountry permits are not being provided right now. Please do not travel into restricted areas of the parks. This is not only for the preservation of the public lands but for your own safety. Please be smart about your visit and be diligent about planning wisely.

National Park Visits | Government Shutdown

Lost Camper Team Member Stacia M.

 

Camping Etiquette & Consideration

 

Practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles during your trip.

 

We here at Lost Campers are huge advocates for respect and preservation of the public lands. Please be aware and mindful during your travels. Remember: You pack it in, you pack it out! Don’t be that a$%&^!e human who ruins nature for everyone else. Every visitor leaves a footprint and this impacts the environment and its inhabitants. Please be self-sufficient & self-aware. Make your Mother proud and clean up after yourself!

Please follow local laws and park rules. Be courteous to all park staff that you may come across. They are there out of sheer dedication right now & are not being paid for their hard work. There are some amazing people doing voluntary clean up in the parks right now. We encourage all visitors to consider dedicating a day or a few hours to help out with these efforts. Get involved, every little bit helps!

 

General information for some popular National Parks in California & Utah that might still be accessible to the public:

 

 

California

 

  • Yosemite is open for park entrance and there are some concessions available. Parts of the park are closed and there are road closures due to winter conditions. Visitor services such as trash removal and restroom maintenance are not available. Limited camping is still available in open and designated campgrounds. Camping or sleeping in a vehicle outside of open campgrounds is prohibited.

 

  • Joshua Tree is open for day use only. The Campgrounds are closed but you can arrange camping outside of the park. There are no NPS services available.

 

  • Death Valley is partially open. The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is open. The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells, & Panamint Springs are open. Recreate at your own risk. **UPDATE*** Furnace Creek & Texas Springs Campgrounds have been closed as of Jan. 4th due to health & safety concerns.

 

  • The Redwoods is open, however, there are no NPS visitor services available. Travel with caution as dangerous conditions may exist. There are State Park campgrounds nearby in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

 

National Park Visits | Government Shutdown

Photo compliments of Nora M.

 

Utah

 

  • Zion is open, the visitors center is scheduled to close Jan. 5th. One loop at the Watchman Campground is currently open, this could change so be sure to do your homework. Shuttles into the park have been closed for the winter season.

 

  • Bryce Canyon is open and much of the park is accessible. Most services are currently available.

 

 

  • Capitol Reef is partially open. The Fruita campground will be open, restrooms will be closed except for the vault toilet. The scenic drive will be closed.

 

National Park Visits | Government Shutdown

Photo courtesy of Martin S.

 

We hope this helps with your planning & brings you some awareness. Remember that it is not the end of the world if you cannot camp in a  National Park right now. There are some amazing State Parks that offer fantastic recreation options. Many State Park options may work well for camping outside of the National Parks but are still close enough to allow you to venture into the parks for day use and some reasonable exploration.

From all of us here at Lost Campers, we wish you happy travels!


 

Top 5 Reasons Why Offseason National Parks Car Camping is the Best | Tips to Save Time, Money, Have More Fun

Offseason National Parks Car Camping is the perfect way to take a road trip and stay on budget. Ditch the crowds and high prices, avoid bugs and travel in autumn and winter. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of sharing my travel experience with hoards of other people. Crowds of people make a holiday seem less relaxing and less personal.

Here are some indisputable facts about Offseason National Parks Car Camping:

               1 Roads into National Parks are less crowded

               2 Campsites are easier to grab

               3 The perfect photo is attainable

               4 Travel is cheaper

               5 Outdoor conditions are better

 

National Parks are Less Crowded in the Offseason

According to the LA Times: In 2017 the National Parks System had 331 million visitors. That is almost the population of the United States! March to October are the busiest months for most of the National Parks in the west. Did you know that park staff often temporarily close the roads into National Parks when they become too congested to let in more visitors? Offseason National Parks car camping means no waiting and no congestion.

These photos, below, show crowds of people at National Parks in the busy season (from nps.gov).

AVoid this mess with Offseason National Parks Car Camping

THis is why Offseason National Parks Car Camping is better...

 

 

 

 

 

Offseason National Parks Car Camping Tip 1:

The best place to get information on the quietest times to visit is by going directly to the park’s website.

Offseason National Park car camping is a great way to relax and feel close to nature. Your chances of getting a prime campsite greatly improve after Labor Day. Campsites are economical and if you budget car camp in the offseason,  you are less likely to be crammed into a site next to people who ride their dirt bikes at night, light off bottle rockets and (most importantly) blast Kid Rock at breakfast. Did you know that a Lost Campers budget campervan fits nicely into a tent site? No need to reserve an RV site.

Offseason National Parks Car Camping Tip 2:

Fewer crowds equate to greater chances of seeing wildlife.

 

The Perfect Photo is Attainable in the Offseason

The chance of you capturing that iconic photo, you know the one where you’re standing in front of an alpine lake with a mirrored reflection of the mountain peak in the background, is actually possible. You won’t have to worry about wildfire smoke ruining a photo either, besides that, wildlife photography is also easier. Not only are animals more likely to be visible in cooler temperatures they don’t like crowds either.

   Autumn & Winter = Off Season ↓                                    Summer = Peak Season ↓

This why Offseason National Parks Car Camping is the best...

Avoid this Banff, CN mess: Offseason National Parks Car Camping is Better

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Story About My Offseason National Park Car Camping

Let me tell you a short story about the time I camped in my Lost Campers budget campervan outside of Mt. Rainier National Park in the offseason. It was cold outside our van, but we had our little heater keeping us toasty inside. We were getting ready to fall asleep on our comfy mattress when all of a sudden we heard a strange, high pitched sound. We opened the sliding door to our van and saw green eyes moving towards us.

It was the local herd of elk. The heard split up into smaller groups and the females lead the young ones across a road to a field. They were calling to each other and we got to witness the entire thing. In the morning we awoke to the same herd grazing all around us. No one else was around to scare the elk away and I was able to take some great photos. You wouldn’t get to be a part of something magical like that if you were camping in peak season or sleeping in a hotel room.

Offseason National Park car camping Tip 3:

Lost Campers rents small heaters and extension cords for no fee.

 

Off Season National Parks Car Camping Is Cheaper

According to AAA, gas costs less in the offseason. The national trend is that gas prices go up after Memorial Day in May. In addition to this, even though the cost of gas has risen in the last decade, it is currently cheaper (on average) than it was before right before the housing crisis. Prices of most things go up in peak season – so it makes sense that traveling is cheaper in the offseason. Lost Campers budget campervans cost a third less in the offseason. Not only that, they include a lot of essential camping equipment for free with the rental. (More about that below.)

Offseason National Park car camping tip 4:

Lost Campers often run specials on their budget campervans in the offseason.

 

Outdoor Conditions are Better For Offseason Car Camping in National Parks

Would you rather travel through Death Valley when it’s so hot you could fry an egg on the hood of your car? Nope! To me, summer means heat, humidity, mosquitoes, those persistent and insufferable, little flying insects that get inside your nose and eyes. It means tornadoes and hail storms. Using your vehicle’s AC in summer causes your engine to get hotter and sometimes overheat. The offseason generally has better weather for travel.

The colors are changing, the air is crisper and the fog that is associated with many sections of the west coast make for a gorgeous photo. Even if you are traveling in a cloudy season it will make your roadtrip photos more impressive (moodier). Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip, but depending on where you plan to visit, traveling in winter may not be a bad idea either. With a little planning, you will see things that other people don’t get to see. Snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and animal tracks in the snow are all things you can look forward to if you travel in winter.

Offseason National Parks Car Camping with Lost Campers budget campervans with Roof top tent

Offseason National Park car camping tip 5:

Mosquitoes die or hibernate when the temperature is consistently below 50 C.

Travelers can take advantage of waiting a little later in the year to embark on an adventure. You could have the trip of a lifetime – all to yourself. The best way to take advantage of the shoulder season is by “getting lost” in a Lost Campers budget campervan. What are you waiting for?

Pacific Northwest Camping || 4 Great Spots

 Pacific Northwest Camping || Fall and Winter

 

Summer is ending, but that doesn’t mean that the camping season is over. Fall and Winter can be great times to get away for a little while and reconnect with nature – or maybe just take your mind off of work for a few days. It can be tricky to pick out the best spots to camp, so we’ve put together a collection of 4 great Pacific Northwest camping spots for you to explore in the off season.

 

pacific northwest camping

Photo courtesy of Chelise Simmons, Lost Campers Crew Member

Cape Disappointment

Don’t let the name fool you- Cape Disappointment is anything but disappointing. With plenty of explore, you’ll have a blast at this State Park. The park has old military ruins to explore, an interactive museum, and plenty of trails to hike. You’re never very far from civilization either, so if you’re worried about being too disconnected from the rest of the world you can set that aside and relax!

Crater Lake National Park

No Pacific Northwest camping trip would be complete without seeing Crater Lake. Depending on when the winter storms settle in, Crater Lake has several different options to choose from when it comes to camping! The upper rims are closed off by November 1st at the very latest, but the Mazama campground is still open year round. If you’re into snowshoeing or snowmobiling, there’s plenty to do even after the snow covers the grounds. Crater Lake is one of the PNW’s most gorgeous parks in Summer, it’s still a must-see in Fall and Winter.

 

Larrabee State Park

Larrabee offers a spectacular view of the Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. There’s plenty to do from kayaking to hiking, and the park even offers showers! The park is open year round, so you don’t have to worry about getting in before it closes for the season. A Lost Campers campervan would be perfect for settling down to admire the sea on the coastline.

pacific northwest camping

Photo courtesy of Nora Montanye, Lost Campers Renter

 

Mt. Hood National Forest

Mt. Hood is gorgeous all on its own, but the forest surrounding it is filled with things to do. Hike to Tamanawas Falls to enjoy one of the many beautiful waterfalls Oregon has to offer. If you’re camping in the colder seasons, you can also snowshoe and ski in the area! Pack to suit the season, and you’ll stay warm in one of our campervans.

 

Planning your Pacific Northwest Camping Trip 

Fall and Winter are the best times to travel in one of our campervans – rates are as much as 65% off! Get your quote today, we’re booking up fast! Our new Seattle location would love to see you for a Pacific Northwest camping adventure this fall or winter, availability is limited so booking soon is recommended!