July National Park Highlight: Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park, MI

Hey there, Flock! We’re back again this month with another National Park Highlight Blog. We’re excited to introduce you to this month’s destination: Isle Royale National Park. If you’re unfamiliar, Isle Royale is located in Michigan, within Lake Superior. This park offers a surplus of peace and solitude for outdoorsmen and women of all type. There is endless opportunity for backpacking, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and camping. 

Lake Superior

Park Activities

Camping at Isle Royale is a one-of-a-kind experience. With 36 different campgrounds to choose from, you’re able to camp with Lake Superior access or on the Isle on an inland campground. The inland campground is only accessible by non-motorized boat. When camping in the park, it’s important to take into consideration how isolated it can be. Weather conditions can always take a turn, so be sure to pack an emergency kits and gear you may need, depending on the season. Campfires are not permitted at most campsites, providing an even more off the grid experience for experienced campers. One thing to note: camping gets very popular in the warmer months, so make sure to head to their site to confirm a reservation before your trip.


Gray Wolf in Isle Royale

Wildlife

Gray Wolves have inhabited the Isle since the late 1940’s. With the population fluctuating from around fifty in the 80’s to just two in 2018, your likelihood of encountering a wolf is very low. For this reason, no pets are allowed on the Isle and remember to practice safe camping practices. These wolves are unique apex predators who contribute to controlling the Moose population throughout the park. If you happen to see one, enjoy it! It’s a rare and beautiful experience. Moose have been on the Isle since the early 1900’s and their population in the area has varied from around 500 to 2,400 since 1980. 

So there you have it, Flock! If you get the chance to experience Isle Royale’s unique Lake Superior views, Wildlife, and hiking and camping opportunities. Be sure to pack your Roofnest down blanket for a light sleeping cover to keep you comfortable and protected on your adventures. Happy camping!

Destination of the Month Telluride, CO

This month we’re back and bringing you a new, exciting destination blog to get your adventure juice flowing! We’re excited to highlight a city in our Roofnest home base state, Colorado. If you’re not familiar with it, Telluride is a former mining town in southwestern Colorado. The city itself is located in a box canyon, surrounded by steep cliffs and mountains, and Bridal Veil Falls at the canyon’s head. The central part of town is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is brimming with ski shops, coffee shops, and local artisan retailers. Telluride hits its peak popularity during the ski season, so this summer is the time to take advantage of all the exciting things this city has to offer.

Outdoor Activities

When in Telluride, there is no shortage of things to do outdoors to take in the incredible views surrounding you. One of the most sought after activities in Telluride is the Via Ferrata climb. This climb isn’t for the weak-hearted, as at its thickest point you’ll be standing on one iron ledge and attached to a harness at over 500ft. While you are strapped in at all times, we recommend taking a guided climb or going with a very experienced pal who’s gone before. It’s long, strenuous, but utterly unique in the experience and views its provides to those who take it on. Climbing gear and basic technical skills are required.

Via Ferrata Climb

Another popular outdoor adventure in Telluride is the hike along Bear Creek Falls. The hike is open all year round, and totals in 2.5 miles roundtrip. Unlike the Via Ferrata, this is a great opportunity to get all the family and friends involved. Along the hike you’ll cruise by streams, clearings, and ultimately end up at Bear Creek Falls.

Bear Creek Falls

Campsites

Camping in Telluride can be an experience unlike any other. Scoping out sites before your trip will provide you with some pretty unimaginable views, so we’re here to give you the low-down on two of Telluride’s most popular and cherished campsites: Alta Lakes and Blue Lake.

Alta Lakes Campground is by far the most popular site in the area. This campsite is easily accessible for the whole family, and provides tons of things to do right from your campsite, perfect for our Flock on their family adventures. The campground is one destination, but provides three lakes. In the morning, walk right out of your tent and go fly fishing, paddleboarding, or hiking. This campsite practices No Trace camping, and is increasingly popular during the summer for its one-of-a-kind experience. Be sure to check for availability before packing up and heading out!

Blue Lake camping is for those who are seeking more of a back-packing experience. The views you reach at the end of the hike are more than worth the effort. You’ll need to bring all your supplies on back and prepare to hike through the Mt. Sneffels wilderness. When you finally reach the stunning Blue Lake, you’ll be able to hike down and locate the flattened land area for camping. Throughout the night, it tends to drop down and still get cold, even in the summer. Make sure if you head out to this site without your Roofnest, to still pack your Roofnest down blanket, which is light to carry and warm to sleep under.

Blue Lake

Local Attractions

Aside from all of the outdoor magic, Telluride has tons to offer in the heart of Town. Telluride Brewing Co. is one of the largest microbreweries in the United States, and has several awards to show for it. Stop in and grab a drink or take a tour, but again, be sure to call and check availability this summer as it gets very popular for tourists passing through. The Telluride Food Tasting Tour is another exciting summer feature in this town. The tour is about 3 hours long, and introduces you to the many different cuisines and the folks who have crafted them for you. Be sure to book a tour sooner than later!

So there you have it, adventurers, Telluride in a nutshell. Check back soon for another destination highlight and get your summer planners out and ready.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of Colorado’s hidden treasures. It’s located on the Eastern edge of the San Luis Valley, and only about 30 miles outside of Alamosa. Great Sand Dunes National Park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, with these dunes reaching up to 750 feet in height. In the park and preserve you can find hiking trails with breathtaking and mountain and dune views, endless amounts of sandboarding, plenty of campsites, a shallow creek, horseback riding, and more. Our Sandpiper model is perfect for the Dunes, you can strap all your sandboards and sleds straight to your roof!

What to do in Great Sand Dunes National Park

Dunes Exploration

When you arrive in the park, you’ll be greeted most noteworthy with overwhelming views of the dunes. You’re able to hike all over the 30 mile dune field but Due to the risk of heat exhaustion, burned feet, and lightning strikes you should plan on hiking the Dunes early in the morning or if you’d rather not wakeup at the crack of dawn, you can catch the sunset . While the temperature isn’t too bad in the summer at this elevation, the hike can be strenuous at points. Make sure to bring your phone or camera for the one-of-a-kind views at the top.

Sandboarding

Sandboards and sand sleds are available for rental at several local retailers in Alamosa and surrounding cities to the park. Make sure to make reservations if you’re planning your trip in peak season! To hike up to a low or medium-sized dune, the hike will be around 0.7 miles, but to the higher peaks expect  hike closer to 1.25 miles. Pack and plan to wear some long-sleeves or pants if you want to avoid as much sand as possible getting in your clothes.

Medano Creek

Splash around in the shallow flowing creek adjacent to the sand dunes. It’s a pit-stop on your hike in and out and perfect for cooling off hot feet and washing off sand before heading back to camp. The snowpack in this region was over 100% average this year, so Medano Creek is flowing strong and fresh.

Pinon Flats Campground

This campground provides mountain and dune views! There are 88 campsites, therefore look to reserve before arrival during peak season. The campground is outfitted with restrooms, fire pits, and picnic tables for easy camp setup and maintenance. And for the most convenient camping solution you know where to get the best tent available.

If you make it out to Great Sand Dunes National park, make sure to tag @roofnest and #roofnest so we can share your adventure. Happy adventuring and above all, have fun!

Birds Eye Views at Banff National Park

Moraine Lake at Banff National Park

Banff National Park was founded in 1885 and was Canada’s first national park. The park provides hundreds of miles of hiking trails, high mountain passes with plenty of birdseye views, crystal glacial lakes, unique waterfalls, bubbling hot springs, and breathtaking canyon views. The park is also home to a vast array of wildlife from bighorn sheep to grizzly bears.

Camping in Banff

When you arrive at Banff National Park, it’s hard to find a campsite that doesn’t sport breathtaking views. The park has 2,462 sites in 14 campgrounds, but in the summer it can be tough to grab a spot during peak season. Most sites in the park provide waste disposal, showers, and toilets, but there are other options for those who want to be more off-the-grid. The park does require camping permits, and BLM lands are patrolled, so make sure to stay in permitted grounds.

Lake Louise Campground

Take in the views

When deciding where to camp in Banff, consider which views you would like to wake-up and fall asleep to each night. One of the most popular grounds is the Lake Louise campground, where you can have full lake views from many sites. If you’re camping in a rooftop tent, like our Sparrow, you can align your tent to have a wide angle view to take in the mountain lake fresh-air every morning as you wake up to the sound of wildlife and a crisp sunrise.

Get the full Banff experience

Staying in Banff National Park provides endless opportunities to get out there and really take it all in. Activities in the park range from hikes of all skill level, backcountry trails, visiting the hot springs and cave basin, fishing, climbing, tons of photo viewpoints, seeing the Bison and big horned sheep, and of course lake-side hikes for those famous instagrammable views, just make sure to tag @roofnest.

One of the must-see views in the park is Moraine Lake, though it can get heavily populated in the summer season, you don’t want to miss out.  Visitors come from all over the world to experience the vast, breathtaking views in Banff, so be sure to reserve your site as soon as you start to plan your trip, and of course, make sure to have a Roofnest Sparrow for the trip.


Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is located in Luray, Virginia and is the perfect spot to start your summer adventures on the east coast. Whether you are planning a cross country road trip, need a weekend getaway, or just want to explore a new National Park, Shenandoah is a must see place this summer. With tons of wildlife including black bears, bobcats, barred owls, and red-winged hawks, you’ll want to bring some binoculars to take it all in, and probably stay in a Roofnest to keep away from the Ringneck Snakes.

Photo Credit: National Park Service

What to do at Shenandoah

  • Overall Run Falls – This waterfall is one you have to see when visiting the park, standing 93′ tall it is the largest in Shenandoah. You will climb 1850 feet on your 6.4-mile roundtrip, but there are rock ledges to relax on at the falls to take in the views of the Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten mountain.
  • Skyline Drive – If hiking isn’t your forte, take a cruise down the 105-mile Skyline Drive along the top of The Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll wander through 200,000 acres of Shenandoah National Park and see some of the most fantastic views the park has to offer, all while sitting back in the comfort of your vehicle.
  • Camp at Big Meadows Campground – There are 5 different campgrounds to choose from in the Shenandoah National Park but Big Meadows is our favorite. Located at mile 51.2 of Skyline Drive, this campsite offers everything you want when on an adventure. You can visit 3 waterfalls all within walking distance, take in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley from your Roofnest, and if you’re lucky you’ll also see some of the amazing wildlife this park has to offer.
Photo Credit: Ken Goulding

So what are you waiting for? Go explore Shenandoah National Park and make sure to share your adventures with us by tagging @roofnest.

Happy Adventuring Flock!

Nest at Mount Rainier

 

Despite its active volcano status, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S. It boasts the origin of five major rivers. The highest point in the Cascade Range and the state of Washington is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Don’t let that scare you away — the wildlife, scenery, and rich history is worth the trip!

Why You Should Nest Here

If you’re looking for an adventure, Mount Rainier offers a great escape. Spend the weekend exploring forests filled with evergreen conifers, which keep their needle-like leaves year-round, or gaping at waterfalls, which are plentiful! Brighten up your Instagram feed with pics snapped from location hotspots or hike along the 260 miles of maintained trailhead. You can also travel tucked inside a gondola with million-dollar view or feel the wind rush through your hair as you zipline across treetops. There is something for everyone at Mount Rainier.

 

Pull Over and Pop Up

With three car camping options at this Washington icon — Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River — with more than 100 individual sites each within Mount Rainier, you’re sure to find a great spot to pull over and pop up. Sites vary in elevation, with White River ranking the highest, coming in at 4,400 ft. Cougar Rock is slightly lower at 3,180 ft. and then Ohanapecosh is the least, at 1,915 ft.

Must See

Visitors that flock to Mount Rainier National Park often stop to check out Mount St. Helens. Both mountains are active volcanoes, part of the Northwest’s “ring of fire.” Bike up Westside Road with approximately 1,120 feet of gain. Hike alongside Bench and Snow Lakes, the latter of which may have received its name because of the icy meltwater from the snowfields of the Tatoosh Range that drains into it. Hit Old-Growth Forest and stand among trees ranging from 250 to 350 years in age! If you’re nesting in autumn or early summer, venture off to one of the area’s 18 spectacular waterfalls. Ride the gondola up to Crystal Mountain summit for mesmerizing mountain views. During the spring, look for ephemeral waterfalls that appear after rainstorms.

Get Your Sport On

Mount Rainier is a dream for adventurers. Five rivers run through the National Park with water activities abounding. Hiking, fishing, and boating are all accessible in the park and saddle and pack animals are also allowed. Bikers will love the hilly, winding roads. While there are no designated bike trails in the park, bikes can be ridden on public roads and campground roadways. Mount Rainier is also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, ideal for thrill-seeking climbers. Each year, thousands of adrenaline junkies successfully summit the 14,410-foot active volcano. Skiing and snowboarding are also popular during the winter season.

 

To Help You Navigate Your Trip

 

ProYou’ll never run short of where to explore or get tired of the stellar views. Book ahead options are accessible for Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds.

Con: White River is available on a first come, first served basis. Visitation is at its peak July and August. Consider visiting mid-week during these two months.

Cost: $20 per party + $20 registration fee

Access: Cougar Rock is open May 25 – October 8; Ohanapecosh is open May 25 – October 8; White River is open May 25 – September 24

Awe at Arches National Park

Don’t miss a single Insta-worthy sunset in this red-rock paradise. With more than 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of soaring pinnacles, and giant balanced rocks, you’ll struggle to concentrate on your activities as you ponder the enormity of your surroundings and how such a place even exists!

Why You Should Nest Here

Spectacular, awe-inspiring, magnificent — these are just a few words that will come to mind when basking in the view of Arches National Park, located outside of Moab, Utah. The arid, high-desert environment makes for hot summers and cold winters. The park is sprawled across 76,518 acres. You’ll see vibrant pops of color nestled among red rock desert, thanks to flowering prickly pear cacti, wildflowers, and yucca, while the campground is forested with Utah juniper and pinyon pine. With several places perfect for picnicking, you’ll never be short on views of towering spires, fins, and balanced rock formations. The elevation is about 5200 ft. Its year-round amphitheater is also pretty sweet.

Pull Over and Pop Up

There are 51 sites at Devils Garden Campground. Camp among slickrock outcroppings at Devils Garden Campground, which is about 18 miles from the park entrance, and the only place to nest. Camping facilities include picnic tables, potable water, grills, and toilets. At night, you’ll see nothing but stars, while in the morning you’ll be in awe of its 2,500+ natural arches, the highest concentration in the world! If wildflowers are your jam, head there in April or May, when they’re in full bloom.

 

Must See

The park itself is situated among natural sandstone arches and fins. Hike Balanced Rock trail, an easy 15- to 30-minute loop around the base of a strikingly fragile rock formation. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss Sand Dune Arch, which will lead you through deep sand to a hidden arch surrounded by sandstone fins. The little ones will love it! Marvel at Delicate Arch, a freestanding arch that has become synonymous with the state of Utah and is also one of the most famous geologic features in the world. Wow.

Get Your Sport On

Hikers of all abilities are welcome here. Some short walks lead right up to well-known rock formations, while more adventurous hikers can explore lesser traveled surroundings like “Primitive Loop” in the Devil’s Garden section of the park. If you’re feeling like you need a day off your feet, book a scenic bus tour. Off-site ATV ridings, ballooning, mountain biking, and river activities will get your engines revving. If you’re really adventurous, check out skydiving options.

 

To Help You Navigate Your Trip

Pro: Loads of hiking trails, including Broken Arch Trail, which is a scenic loop with a trailhead within the campground.

Con:  You’ll need to pack all your own food because you won’t find any restaurants in Arches National Park. The closest are in Moah, Utah, about five miles from the park entrance. Also: no showers.

Cost: $25 per night at an individual Devils Garden Site. Reservations months in advance are needed during high season (March–October).

Access: High season ranges from March 1 – October 31, reserve up to 6 months in advance. Definitely book ahead! Between November 1 – February 28, sites are first-come, first-served.