Emily Ann Hart, better known to the internet as “Emily Ventures,” knows national parks. She’s currently visited 50 out of a possible 61, with plans to see those last 11 as soon as her schedule allows. Since 2015, Emily has documented her travels on her blog and Instagram account, taking photos with a keen eye for composition, offering ruminations about the nature of travel, and sharing her state of mind in long captions that recall Bourdain’s poetic monologues in No Reservations.
When she explores, Hart is known for taking her time. She never races to tick off boxes — preferring instead to slow down and reflect on the natural world. Meaning there’s literally no better person we could have asked about which national parks you should see during the last month of summer, as wild adventure blends with the introspective spirit of fall.
Check out our interview with Emily and get out and see those parks while the weather holds!
What are some of the best national parks to visit in the month of August?
I would say there are a lot of parks that are only even really accessible in the summer, because of snow. I was just in Alaska. A lot of the parks like Denali are only open May to September, so anything north, like the North Cascades, Crater Lake, Glacial National Park, even Yellowstone isn’t as accessible in the winter. Those would be the parks that I would definitely try to go to in the summer and not the desert parks, they’re way too hot!
What’s some park etiquette that people should keep in mind?
What I’ve noticed in some of the more popular parks — that you’d think would be common sense — is just not to leave trash or go up to wildlife. That’s still something that I see a lot, and you hear a lot about on the news, especially about people being attacked by wild animals while trying to feed them. I’ve also noticed a couple of times recently people just blatantly disregarding signs. I feel like one thing about national parks is that they make a really great, easy vacation. There are signs to tell you what you should do, or what is safe, or unsafe. But it seems like people just blatantly disregard what’s written. So, understanding that those things are there for a reason and the reason is to keep you safe is an important piece of etiquette.
When I was in Alaska, I did notice quite a few times there were signs that said, “This trail is closed.” Or, “It’s dangerous to go beyond here.” And people were just walking directly around them, and there were a lot of stories just this year about people who have fallen off cliffs and died because they didn’t pay attention to those signs that are pretty clear.
And then I guess, just trail etiquette. I think understanding your surroundings — like if someone is trying to pass you — those basic things are always important. And I really like when I’m in a park and parents are taking that opportunity to teach their kids about letting people go around you, or that someone who’s ascending has the right of way, just those basic things. I think it’s a good opportunity, especially for families and kids.