Friday, May 11, 2007

10 Best Southwest Picnic Spots

Picnic season is upon us and seeking the best location is a sport for some. The following are the 10 best picnic locations in the southwest United States. When you go on a picnic at these places you must have the right picnic basket. My Secret Pantry has a complete selection of some very functional picnic baskets.

They’re ranked by scenery, accessibility, and amenities.

10. Mesa Verde, Colorado This amazing national park offers you a glimpse into history. Ancestral Pueblo people resided here for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.
9. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado This Park hosts 31 picnic areas with fire pits, tables, and grills. While picnicking, you can view mighty Bull Elk, marmots, and picas, and a menagerie of birds, bugs and bunnies. After lunch, take part in more than 350 miles of hiking trails or join your children as they take part in one of the park’s many programs just for children. Romantic picnic enjoy a quiet hike or a scenic drive on Trail Ridge Road, which rises to an elevation of more than 12,000 feet.

8. Sedona Canyon, Arizona Of course you could visit the popular Grand Canyon in Arizona but why not visit the location that has been voted the most beautiful place in the United States? Sedona hosts a variety of parks and picnic spots however one of the more beautiful locations is the Red Rock Crossing/Crescent Moon Ranch picnic spot. This beautiful location has Cathedral Rock as a backdrop. Bring a picnic lunch and a pair of binoculars for bird watching. This location offers picnic tables and vaulted toilets.

7. Arches National Park, Utah Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. It is an absolutely amazing experience. The colors, textures, and formations will make you feel like you’re dining on another planet. Both the Devil’s Garden Trailhead and the Visitor center near Courthouse towers host picnic areas with tables, grills, fire pits, and bathroom facilities.
6. Hoover Dam, Nevada or Arizona Lake Mead on the Hoover Dam offers spectacular boating, amazing scenery and a variety of picnic locations to choose from. Visit Shaded picnic areas with tables, water, fire grills, and restrooms are located at Callville Bay Las Vegas Bay Boulder Beach Cottonwood Cove and Katherine.
5. Red Rocks, Nevada Just 10 miles north of the famous city of Las Vegas you’ll find red sandstone cliffs jutting 8000 feet into the air. In addition to a 13 mile loop and several short hikes the conservation area offers Picnic sites at Red Spring and Willow Spring pullouts. Additional pullouts, offering views of wooded canyons and desert washes, are located at Icebox Canyon, Pine Creek Canyon and Red Rock Wash.

4. Taos, New Mexico hosts the Rio National Gorge recreation area where visitors can experience the beauty of the Rio Grande and Red River. Wild Rivers has five developed campgrounds and a picnic area, each with tables, grills, drinking water and restroom facilities. The park also offers 10 hiking trails, 3 bicycling trails, and a 13-mile backcountry byway for those that prefer to see it all from their cars.
3. Angel Peak National Rec Area, New Mexico If you’re seeking isolated beauty and a quiet picnic without the distraction of other visitors, this may very well be the location you’ve been seeking. Off the beaten path, the view from the picnic area is of a rolling expanse of pastel-colored badlands, cliffs and dry washes. The picnic area offers pit toilets, fire grills and concrete table and chairs protected from the harsh sun by metal sun shelters. Want to see something truly amazing, stick around for sunset or plan an evening picnic. It’s a view you’ll never forget.

2. Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah Another quiet location amongst our top ten, Kodachrome Basin often gets ignored due to it’s famous brothers and sisters. Nonetheless, it’s earned its spot on our top ten. National Geographic actually named this location because of its amazing colors and contrasts. The Park encompasses 2,240 acres and several picnic locations with full facilities, tables, and even a general store if you forgot to pack something!

1. Big Bear Lake, California The forests surrounding Big Bear Lake offer trails for hikers and walkers at all skill levels. For the adventurous, high peaks offer 360-degree panoramas. A Sky Chair takes you to the top of Snow Summit so you can hike down while enjoying spectacular scenic vistas that include superb views of Big Bear Lake and lush forests. Entry into the National Forest is free, but parking requires an Adventure Pass from the U.S. Forest Service. Picnic locations are found throughout the park as well as bathroom facilities.