Get your national park fix this winter from home
Posted December 21, 2016
THE GREAT OUTDOORS — While many people rightly lament the advent of technology and how it encroaches on a previously untarnished wilderness experience, tech in the outdoors presents some unique, positive results. One of those positive results are the many live stream cameras placed in strategic locations across the nation’s 58 national parks.
With frigid temperatures gripping most of the country, it’s difficult to convince yourself — let alone the entire family — to take a trip to see America’s “Wonder-book of nature,” as President Theodore Roosevelt once referred to national parks. Luckily, with the advent of live streams, you don’t have to leave the warm fireplace.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular national park live streams to help you get your nature fix through what’s shaping up to be a cold winter.
Formed in 1918, Katami National Monument in Alaska is now home to thousands of brown bears and is ecologically important to sockeye salmon.
One section of the monument, Brooks Falls, is a popular salmon spawning area — which means the brown bears love it there as well. While the best times to see brown bears eating salmon is during June – August, the bears are active throughout the year. They’re visible on the Brooks Falls Bear Cam nearly year-round.
One of the most popular parks in the country, Yosemite is a haven for rock climbers. The park boasts numerous worldwide climbing records, with walls like El Capitan drawing climbers from every corner of the globe.
The other side of Yosemite lies in its appeal to hikers. From sweeping vistas of the glacial valleys to waterfalls, there’s something in Yosemite for every outdoors enthusiast.
If you’re not up for the drive to California, however, you can still see one of the park’s biggest attractions online via the Yosemite Falls Cam.
It’s one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, tumbling 2,425 feet, tucked away in a gorgeous area of the park. The live stream lets you watch the waterfall and dream of the warm spring days that seem so far away.
Yellowstone is accessible during the winter, but few people are willing to brave the frigid weather to see Old Faithful up close-and-personal.
The Old Faithful Geyser Cam provides a live stream of the park’s iconic geyser on a year-round basis, though it may be most popular — and helpful — in the dead of winter. There’s even information on the page detailing when you can expect to see the next geyser eruption.
Zion is one of the handful of national parks that sees visitors year-round due to its relatively low elevation and low annual rain and snowfall totals. However, if you want to plan your Zion trip before going, then you can check out the park’s headquarters camera for a real-time look at the weather in one of Southern Utah’s most popular destinations.
The camera isn’t as entertaining as the Katami brown bears, but it provides a functional use for anyone looking to find some solace in nature.
Do you have a favorite national park webcam? Do you like to visit parks in the winter?
Spencer lives and breathes fly fishing. If he's not out on his favorite streams, he's at home tying flies or he's writing about fishing. Connect with him on Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.