In Step With History: 3 National Monuments For Fall Walks
Hmmmm…National Monuments for fall walks?
Yes, winter’s not far off, and there’s a snap in the air. Is there something that might delight and interest you? Give you a chance to get outdoors? Before it’s harder to get around, before the north freezes over, pavements ice up, or the cold rains of winter set in?
National Monuments for fall walks…
An adventure by foot through a magical place can be a special pleasure in fall.
Plus, you’ve a mind to follow in the steps of our ancestors and experience the traces they left behind. You could check out Manzanar National Historic Site CA, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls NY, or a local NPS Underground Railroad site.
Or, you could dust off your NPS Senior Pass at a National Monument. Here are 3 National Monuments for fall colors, history, and exploration on foot.
#1 Bandelier, NM
Spectacular in every season, Bandelier is a great place to visit in September and October.
This is a whole different take on “taking a walk”…
Bandelier can offer a leisurely stroll at the base of the canyon or an aerobic workout scampering up ladders and elevated walkways to wander around centuries-old Native American dwellings cut into the tufa of the canyon wall.
Either way, you walk in the footsteps of ancients and feel their presence.
#2 Pompey’s Pillar, MT
Pompey’s Pillar stands out from surrounding fields along the Yellowstone River, conveniently just off I-94 near Billings MT. The large rock feature has been designated a National Monument in tribute to the Lewis & Clark expedition. Clark inscribed his name there, the only physical evidence of the long journey west.
However, Clark was not the only one to leave a mark on the rock, since there are many native American petroglyphs on the Pillar. The Monument has a new interpretive center and a series of trails overlooking the river.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Pompey’s Pillar is just one site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The Trail makes a great long-distance driving adventure from the Plains to the Pacific. If you’d like to spice up a cross-country drive, this National Historic trail may give you a memorable trip.
While you’re in the Billings area, if you have a chance, visit the National Historic Site at Pictograph Cave State Park. There, several thousand native American artifacts have been unearthed, along with over 100 pictographs. Bring your binoculars for optimum views.
#3 Scotts Bluff, NE
Half the fun of Scotts Bluff is getting there. The drive takes you through western Nebraska following the wagon ruts of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.
Plan to spend a full day driving and exploring the area between Scotts Bluff and I-80. You’ll find agenda suggestions, including walks and picnic ideas at Ruts: Make Your Day On Nebraska’s Oregon Trail.
Yep, those gouges are Oregon Trail/Mormon Trail wagon ruts. Time and weather have eroded the tracks and turned them to gullies.
That’s it for National Monuments for Fall Walks…
You’d like to camp nearish to Scotts Bluff?
Oregon National Historic Trail
Want to take more than a day pursuing ruts? The US National Park Service has something perfect, because they have mapped out the entire route in detail with explanatory graphics. If you’re more interested in the Mormon Pioneer Trail, well, they do that too.
Before I forget: More National Monuments For Fall Walks coming soon…
Did you catch on that Native Americans, pioneers, and Lewis and Clark were doing a whole lot of walking?
Photo credits. Featured image and top, Boardwalk, Pompey’s Pillar National Monument: CC BY 2.0 by BLM via Flickr. Autumn in Tyuonyi Pueblo, Bandelier NM: Public Domain by NPS. Ladders at Bandelier: Public Domain by NPS. Pompey’s Pillar: CC BY 2.0 by BLM via Wikimedia Commons. View from Scott’s Bluff National Monument: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Ken Lund via Flickr. Ruts in fall, Scotts Bluff National Monument: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Ken Lund via Flickr. William Clark’s inscription on Pompey’s Pillar: Public Domain by BLM.