Best national parks: Avoid the crowds

Get outdoors and skip the lines during the high season

Grand Canyon, AZ
Photo by Laurence Parent; written by Ted Katauskas

Grand Canyon, AZ

Mule rides from the South Rim book up months in advance—and cancellations are as rare as a room with a canyon view. Instead, go to the North Rim, 215 miles away. It sees a third of the visitors and has plenty of mules for hire. Arrive at the trail rides desk in the Grand Canyon Lodge when it opens at 7, and you may find yourself in the saddle, loping in the early-morning light down the vertiginous Kaibab Trail ($75 half-day; canyonrides.com).

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