Podcast Episode #35: National Parks for History Buffs, ft. Mesa Verde & Hot Springs

When most people picture a national park, what comes to mind usually fits into the “natural beauty” category of what is protected within the National Park System: mountains, shores, canyons, and giant trees. But there is another half of the NPS’s mission that is often overlooked: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources… Read more »

Podcast Episode #34: Our Top Ten National Parks that Aren’t “Parks”

In the United States, national monuments, preserves, scenic rivers, battlefields, and historic sites come together to create a wide overview of what we deem important in our country. We call these important places “national parks,” and we protect them with the National Park Service. When Cole and I started planning our big national parks trip,… Read more »

BONUS POST: Amazon Prime Day!

Affiliate links included in this post. It’s Amazon Prime Day! I know we don’t usually promote buying into the idea that you have to have stuff, like right now, but a good deal is a good deal, and I thought we’d pass some on to you today. One of the biggest ways we are able to acquire… Read more »

Podcast Episode #33: Interview with Mikah Meyer, epic National Parks traveler

Whooaaaaaa. I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday and time for another episode of Switchbacks! 4th of July last week super messed with my understanding of time. Hope you all had a great short holiday week and were able to spend some time celebrating our country! Even though it’s hard sometimes to be proud of where… Read more »

Podcast Episode #32: Gateway Cities of the National Parks, ft. Acadia and Olympic

Of all 32 podcasts we have recorded so far, this might be one of the biggest. Why? Well, today we’re talking about Acadia National Park and Olympic National Park. We are on the record as naming these two in our Top 5 of the national parks. We loved Acadia and Olympic for their natural beauty,… Read more »

Podcast Episode #31: Big City Getaways in the National Parks, ft. North Cascades and Channel Islands

Last weekend, we got away from the city. It was wonderful. Even though St. Louis isn’t the biggest metropolis in the country, we often find the desire to get totally away. We drove down just two hours into the Ozark mountains, to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway, one of the NPS sites in Missouri that… Read more »

Unique Travel Opportunities with Voluntourism

Travel is a win. Volunteering is a win. Travel+Volunteering is a win+win.   “Voluntourism” a simple equation, but one I feel like too few people take advantage of. So I’m aiming to share my experiences and maybe help you brainstorm the broader possibilities for your next trip.   Over the past 11 years, I’ve taken… Read more »

Podcast Episode #30: BONUS Episode: Our Three-Week Southeast Asia Adventure

If you aren’t following us on Instagram, you may or may not know that we just came home from a dream three-week trip in Southeast Asia. I say dream trip because we have been working on this one for awhile. Since as far back as I have been traveling, I have wanted to visit this area… Read more »

VIDEO: The Perfect Great Lakes National Parks Road Trip

We’ve mentioned before that our trip to all 59 National Parks only lengthened our list of must-see spots around the U.S. The only National Parks in the Great Lakes region are Voyageurs in MN, Isle Royale in MI and Cuyahoga Valley near Cleveland. So we missed a lot of great spots. We decided before our… Read more »

Podcast Episode #29: Luxury in the National Parks, ft. Virgin Islands and Kenai Fjords

Cole and I speaking to luxury in the national parks is almost laughable, but stick with us. In our year on the road visiting all 59 national parks, we averaged about 4.5 days per park, most of that time out of cell service range. We lived out of our car and small backpacking tent, cooking… Read more »

  • How to Visit Capitol Reef National Park for (Almost) Free

    All National Parks, by typical vacation standards, are cheap. But lately, we’ve been trying to find creative ways to enjoy the parks for even cheaper. When we researched and planned out our visit to Capitol Reef (one of the “Mighty Five” in southern Utah) we knew almost nothing about this place. It isn’t nearly as… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Capitol Reef National Park

    Capitol Reef National Park is like all the other Utah parks smoothed into one: towering slot canyons like Zion, mind-bending rock formations like Bryce, spans of Natural arches and bridges like Arches and expansive overlooks like Canyonlands. Throw in the Historic Fruita district at the center of the park where you can tour an old… Read more »

  • BRYCE CANYON WATER WORLD: Hoodoos, tropical storms, E. coli and flash floods

    As we near the end of the first leg of our journey to all 59 National Parks, we’ve realized that all the parks in Utah and Arizona have one thing in common – water. It’s what turns the layers of rock dumped into this area into incredible unique formations. Nowhere have we found this more… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Bryce Canyon National Park

    Though our time at Bryce Canyon began with a bout of cold rain, things quickly turned around and we wrapped things up in typical Switchback Kids style. During our four-day tour of Bryce Canyon, we: Attended four ranger programs Drove to popular overlooks Hiked short trails through the hoodoos Explored 32 miles of backcountry trails… Read more »

  • CAMPLIFE: One Month on the Road

    *Some of the following items have been given to us by sponsors and companies we partner with. Opinions stated are fully our own.* As I am writing this, we have been on this adventure for a total of 32 nights. Seems crazy, but it’s flying by! I thought it’d be fun to give you guys a… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Great Basin National Park

    The magazine BACKPACKER, which I subscribe to, once called Great Basin the quietest National Park in America. No doubt its recent creation (1992) and extreme remoteness  in eastern Nevada (the closest town with over 5k people is 142 miles away) make it an overlooked destination for many. That’s a real shame for those “many” because we… Read more »

  • BEAUTY IN THE UNDERSOLD: Great Basin National Park

    *We are changing things around here a bit on our site. Instead of writing up lengthy, detail-heavy descriptions of our time at the parks, we are going to give ourselves time to be a bit more reflective and thoughtful. We will now feature posts like this (along with videos still), which give you a look… Read more »


    We’ll tell you straight out… we had very high expectations for Zion. Out of the 11 parks we had scheduled for our first leg Zion was the one we were both looking forward to most. Crazy slot canyons, one-of-a-kind hikes and spectacular rock formations all make Zion a crown jewel of the NPS. We found… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Zion National Park

    Let’s be honest. Zion National Park is popular for a reason. Although we shared the park with hundreds of tourists, we also were able to step out of the crowds and into the parts of Zion that are a little more wild. In doing so, we experienced four busy days of: Observation Point Trail –… Read more »

  • GRAND CANYON RIM TO RIM TO RIM: 4 days, 55 miles and 1 hitchhike

    Backcountry permit applications for the Grand Canyon open up on the first of the month 3 months before. You have to print out the application, fill it out with all possible itineraries, fax it to the backcountry office and wait to get your permit or denial letter in the mail. Getting the permit (to camp… Read more »