The Official Deneen Pottery Mug Collector’s Guide to the National Parks

Love taking trips to National Parks? Looking for a way to remember your experience every morning? Then this guide is exactly what you need to help you build the most amazing National Park Mug collection ever.

Table Of Contents:

Introduction:

Remembering Your Epic National Park Experiences with Each Mug You Collect

In 1972, when our family began making hand-thrown pottery in a two-car garage, we had no idea where our path would lead. The one thing we knew for certain is that we had talent and love for our craft.

As we are quickly approaching our 50th year of making pottery we have a lot to look back on - many ups and downs, or as we call them our challenges and opportunities, and many moments of celebration. Today our mugs can be found in a growing number of National Parks and after sharing the locations on a weekly basis with mug collectors, we decided it was time to create this official list.

While our focus is on creating the highest quality mugs on the planet – a secondary goal seemed obvious. Help build lasting memories for visitors to these national treasures through our mugs. This guide is intended not only to share the physical locations that offer our mugs, the online retailers, but also to give a few fun fact and visitor tips.

The images of mugs contained in this guide are not always going to be available, just like the inventory at visitors centers will also vary depending on the season and the timing of production. What should not be in question is our passion for helping share our work, support of, and enthusiasm for our the National Park System. It takes a collaboration of not-for-profit, for-profit and government players to make the National Parks what they. We are humbled to be a part and honored to share our life’s work to assist in this endeavor.

The mugs pictured in this guide are only available at the real National Parks or from the websites listed. We are only the makers and unfortunately, we do not sell any of these through our website. To build your collection you’ll need to get out and explore or connect with the online stores of these AMAZING NATIONAL PARKS!

Good Luck!

Sincerely,
Niles Deneen

5 National Parks & Mugs

Starting w/ Yosemite Natl Park

Yosemite National ParkYosemite is one of the U.S.’s most popular parks, and for good reason. The combination of mountains and forests creates picturesque landscapes for miles around. Fans of the outdoors should recognize the park’s three main centerpieces: El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. In Yosemite you’ll see the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, an abundance of life and gorgeous views no matter where you turn.
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Should you ever find yourself in Yosemite, make sure that you stop by Tunnel View, the parks most famous scenic viewpoint, where you can see how towering El Capitan and Half Dome truly are. Animals that you may see out on the trails and near the rivers include black bears, coyotes, bobcats, river otters, red foxes, spotted owls, and cougars.

What not to miss: El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls
Best time of year to visit: Springtime if you want to see the waterfalls in full force, fall for backpacking.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Spring and fall
Busiest Time of the year: Like most National Parks, Yosemite is busy whenever school is out – but the peak time of year is definitely July and August.
 Helpful Hint: Obey all posted signs.
Caution: Hike in groups when possible and never feed the wildlife!

 

Yosemite Mugs

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Yosemite Conservancy – Half dome The good people down at the Yosemite Conservancy help ensure that the park stays in tip-top shape, and their mug featuring Half Dome is the perfect addition to your mug collection.

Majestic HotelThis slender mug portrays the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, against the backdrop of the looming mountainous cliffs that the park is known for.

Bridalveil Falls Another famous waterfall in Yosemite, Bridalveil falls makes for the perfect design on this mug. A great mug to help you reflect on your trip to this wonderful park.

Where to Buy Mugs

There are currently two mugs available from the Yosemite Conservancy online here.

For purchasing mugs inside the park, visit the following locations:

Valley Visitor Center
9035 Village Drive
YNP, CA  95389

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill’s Studio
8308 Wawona Road
Fishcamp, CA  93623

Big Oak Flat Information Center
Hwy. 120, North West Entrance
YNP, CA  95389

Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center
Hwy. 120 (Follow the signs)
YNP, CA  95389

Mariposa Grove Depot
9219 Wawona Rd.
Yosemite National Park, CA  95389

Glacier National Park

Montana

Glacier National Park holds a special place in outdoor enthusiasts hearts for its sheer beauty and size. Imposing snow-capped mountains and stunning blue lakes highlight the park. Lake McDonald on the west side of the park is one of the top spots to catch these views.

The Iceberg Lake Trail is a must do for hikers, while Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the most popular scenic drives in the country. The road, which divides the east and west regions, has plenty of areas along the way where you can pull-off and take in the mountains.

Glacier Bay National Park

Sperry Chalet Unfortunately the Sperry Chalet building burned down in 2017 due to a fire, but you can support the rebuilding process by donating here and show your support by purchasing a mug.

If you’re really looking to get a workout in, then head down the Highline Trail, which follows the Continental Device and features stunning scenery of the glacial valleys. Eleven miles in all, the trail is one of the toughest in the Park. While in Glacier, see if you can spot the following animals: lynx, bighorn sheep, black bears, deer, and the very popular mountain goats.

What not to miss: Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier Valley, and Two Medicine
Best time of year to visit: Early September for a less crowded experience, but July and August are breathtaking in Glacier.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: September
Busiest Time of year: Early July to mid August
Helpful Hint: Bring a lot of water, buy bear spray (just in case), and get up early to beat the crowds
Caution: Don’t feed the sheep! No matter how much they beg. Stay away from cliff edges and bring your bear spray

Glacier Mugs


Black BearThe black bear inhabits Glacier National Park and the sturdy and agile animal’s silhouette serves this mug well.

Grinnell Point A favorite spot for outdoor photographers, Grinnell Point is featured on this mug, including the exact longitude and longitude of the location.

Logan PassAnother picturesque location (although there are many), Logan Pass was an obvious choice for the detailing on this mug.

Where to Buy Mugs

To purchase mugs inside the park, visit the following locations:

Two Medicine General Store
Glacier National Park
West Glacier, MT 59936

Many Glacier Hotel
1 Rte 3
Browning, MT 59417

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn
Columbia Falls
MT 59912

Rising Sun General Store
Going-to-the-Sun Road
East Glacier Park, MT 59417

Logan Pass Visitor Center
Browning, MT 59417

St Mary Visitor Center
Browning, MT 59417

Historic Belton Train Station
12544 Hwy 2 East
West Glacier, MT 59936

Lake McDonald Lodge
288 Lake Mcdonald Lodge Loop
West Glacier, MT 59936

Agpar Vistor and Transportation Center
West Glacier, MT 59936

Lake McDonald Hotel and Gift Store

Lake McDonald General Store

 

Grand Canyon

Arizona

Grand Canyon - ArizonaThe Grand Canyon is millions of years in the making, as erosion over the years has exposed the multi-colored layers of the Colorado Plateau in the mesas and canyon walls around the park. Many big-time hikers will take on the park’s epic rim-to-rim hike, which will take approximately 5-7 days to complete. For a shorter hike, try the South Kaibab Trail or the Bright Angel Trail, both of which can be done in a day.

Hermit Road Drive is an excellent way to see a lot in a little amount of time if you’re just passing through. Meanwhile, Mather Point Overlook is one of the best scenic spots in the all of the park. While taking in the valleys of the Grand Canyon, look for the following animals: elk, California condors, bighorn sheep, and the occasional mountain lion (although sightings are rare).

What not to miss: Desert View Tower, Mather Point Overlook, the Yavapai Geology Museum
Best time of the year to visit: Autumn. The weather is excellent, the river is orange, and it isn’t as crowded as the summer months
Best time of the year to avoid crowds: December-April
Busiest time of the year: Summer months
Helpful Hint: Bring layers of clothing, as the weather can be cooler than you think. Also, make sure you arrive before 10 am if you want to snag a parking spot
Caution: Ride the mule, not the elk! And never get too close to the edge

Grand Canyon Mugs

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Rock formations and erosion highlighted Another mug that perfectly highlights the rough, rugged terrain of the Grand Canyon National Park.
blue-grand-canyon-mug-deneen-pottery
100th anniversary Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park with this mug, which features the jagged Colorado Plateau.

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase Grand Canyon mugs at the Grand Canyon Lodges website here

In the park, look for the following locations to buy a mug:

National Geographic Visitor Center
450 AZ-64
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel
235 N Grand Canyon Blvd
Williams, AZ 86046

El Tovar Hotel
9 Village Loop Dr
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

The Hopi House
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Great Smoky Mountains

Tennessee and North Carolina

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Known for its diversity of life and the beauty of its ancient mountains, this is America's most visited national park.

Some of the most popular hiking destinations include Charlies Bunion, Alum Cave Bluffs, Andrews Bald, and Rainbow Falls. For kid-friendly hikes, check out the Kephart Prong Trail and Porters Creek.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

Black Bear Black bears are commonly found within the Smoky and while they rarely will try and harm humans, this mug is a helpful reminder to respect the wildlife in these parks.

While the Smoky Mountains will look gorgeous anytime of the year, the park truly comes to life in the fall, where the red, orange, and yellow leaves can be seen touching the horizon. Animals to look for in this park include: black bears, raccoons, woodchucks, white-tailed deer, and elk.

What not to miss: While it may take multiple trips to see everything the Smoky Mountains have to offer, make sure you stop by Cades Cove and Clingmans Dome during your first trip.
Best time of the year to visit: Autumn. The weather is fantastic and the fall foliage is stunning. Spring is a great time as well, as the trees shake off their winter dustings and green emerges once more.
Best time of the year to avoid crowds: September and April
Busiest time of the year: July and October
Helpful Hint: Bring plenty of water on the trails
Caution: Do not approach the wildlife!

Smoky Mountain Mugs:


Tulip PoplarThe Smoky’s are known for their giant tulip trees, so it absolutely made sense to create mug revolved around these towering trees.

Old Cabin The Smoky Mountains have some antique cabins hidden among the tall trees, and if you look closely, you just might find a couple.

All threeThis mug features all three of the previous emblems.

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase Smoky Mountain mugs at the Great Smoky Mountain Association website here.

Or, visit the following locations if you are in the park:

Cades Cove Visitor Center
686 Cades Cove Loop Road
Townsend TN 37882

Clingmans Dome Visitor Center

7078 Clingmans Dome Road
Cherokee NC 28719

Gatlinburg Welcome Center
1011 Banner Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont Visitor Center
9275 Tremont Road
Townsend, TN 37882

Sugarlands Visitor Center and Museum
1420 Fighting Creek Gap Rd.
Gatlinburg TN 37738

Townsend Visitor Center
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend TN 37882

Swain County Visitor Center and Museum
255 Main Street
Bryson City NC 28713

Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Museum
1194 Newfound Gap Highway
Cherokee, NC 28719

Arches National Park

Utah

arches-national-parkArches National Park is a place of open night skies and breathtaking sandstone structures. Millions of years of erosion have created the park’s hallowed arches, including the popular Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch. This park can be unforgiving with the dry desert heat and altitude, so water should always be on standby after hikes and while exploring. Despite the conditions, wildlife still thrives in these conditions by using nocturnal strategies to survive. Be on the lookout for the following critters: kangaroo rat skunks, ringtails, foxes, bobcats, owls, deer, mountain lions, and black-tailed jackrabbits.

Arches National Park truly comes alive at night, where stargazing is a must if you’re planning a visit. Balanced Rock Picnic Area, the Windows Section, Garden of Eden Viewpoint, and Panorama Point are some of the best places to go for stargazing. Pro tip: bring a star chart and stargaze during a new moon or when the moon is below the horizon to really see the stars.

What not to miss: The Windows, which is the most accessible place in the park to see the most arches!
If you have the time, Delicate Arch is also incredible, but will include about a mile of trails to reach.
Best time of year to visit: Early part of November, as the crowds have thinned out and the temps are perfect for hiking.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: December – January and definitely any holiday weekends.
Busiest time of year: June, July, and August
Helpful Hint: No matter where you explore in canyon country be sure to bring and drink plenty of water.
Caution: Be sure to stay on the trails because the soil is alive!

Arches Mugs

Red orange Arches National Park Mug
Delicate Arch
An extremely detailed mug that uses the Delicate Arch, a favorite among visitors of the Arches National Park. The orange color embodies that of the terrain of the park.

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase this mug online at the Canyonlands Natural History Association shop here

Images credits:
Yosemite – Mark J. Miller

Glacier National Park – Bradley Davis

Grand Canyon – Grand Canyon National Park

Smoky Mountains – The Soar Net

Arches – Neil Herbert

Intermountain Region

Big Bend National Park

Texas

Big Bend National Park is a hidden gem located right at the border of the U.S. and Mexico. In fact, the park is actually named for the prominent bend in the Rio Grande which is one of the must-see features of the area. The Chisos Mountains are full of backcountry recreation opportunities, including the Lost Mine Trail, South Rim, and the Canyon Trail which are some of the most popular hiking spots. If you have kids who love dinosaurs, then take them hunting for fossils - there is a wide variety of Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils within the border of the park and the Fossil Discovery Exhibit is the perfect place to learn more about the ancient life that once inhabited the park.

If you’re interested in floating down the Rio Grande to experience the park that way, just keep in mind that you will be crossing back and forth between the U.S. – Mexico border. While it is illegal to land on the Mexican side of a bank, expectations are made if it’s for scouting rapids, seeking shade, repacking a boat, etc. Overall, incidents between Big Bend visitors and Mexican nationals are exceptionally rare according to the park’s website. Animals that you may encounter while visiting include Carmen Mountain white-tailed deer, whiptail lizards, Mexican jays, gray fox, and mountain lions.

What not to miss: Fossil Discovery Exhibit and the mighty Rio Grande
Best time of year to visit: Summer and Fall
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Fall and early Spring
Busiest time of the year: Summer
Helpful hint: Bring plenty of water!
Caution: Always be aware of the border if you’re on the river.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Colorado

While the Rocky Mountain National Park gets a lot of the attention in terms of Colorado parks, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a fantastic option where you’re likely to experience a little less foot traffic on the trails. There are plenty of hiking options for all experiences, including the Deadhorse, North Vista, and Oak Flat Loop trails.
However, if you want to hike the inner canyon, you better be ready to work. The Gunnison Route, which is often referred to as the easiest route, is extremely steep, rocky, and strenuous. These routes are covered in poison ivy as well, and the park’s website claims it is nearly impossible to avoid. We appreciate their honesty! It’s safe to say that the inner canyon routes should be left to the expert outdoorsmen.

That’s not to say that the novice national park adventurer won’t enjoy Black Canyon, as there are some tremendous scenic drives along the rims and down the river, great trout fishing, kayaking, and amazing views of the night sky. You can find yellow-bellied marmots, rocky mountain bighorn sheep, rock squirrels, ringtail cats, elk, and the rare black bear sighting, as well as a large number of birds, including the peregrine falcon (the world’s fastest bird).


What not to miss: The iconic Painted Wall – the tallest cliff face in Colorado

Best time of year to visit: Fall
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Winter
Busiest Time of year: Summer

Helpful Hint: At the rim, elevation is over 8000 feet, so drink plenty of water and wear sun protection. Oh, and slow down.
Caution: Please don’t feed any wildlife. Watch your step along rim trails; drop-offs are 2000 feet straight down. Never throw anything from the rim into the canyon.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Mugs

grand-canyon-national-park-mug
blue-grand-canyon-mug-deneen-pottery

Where to Buy Mugs

WNPA Store inside the South Rim Visitors Center
10346 Hwy 347
Montrose, CO 81401.

Bryce Canyon

Utah

Contrary to what you may believe based on the name, Bryce Canyon is not one canyon, but rather a series of natural amphitheaters that are carved into the edge of a high plateau. For those visiting this park, they won’t have to wait long before being mesmerized. The four main viewpoints of Bryce Canyon can all be found within the first few miles of the park. This includes Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point - all of which are located within the Bryce Amphitheater.

Hiking trails along the forests of the plateau connect between these viewpoints. Along with these hikes, the backcountry hiking within the park is one of its best-kept secrets. In total, there are 23 miles of trails through the Under Rim Trail and nine miles through the Riggs Spring Loop Trail. Here, avid campers enjoy the lesser seen side of Bryce Canyon. Pronghorn deer, black bears, ground squirrels, ravens, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and prairie dogs inhabit the area.

What not to miss: The Bryce Amphitheater, backcountry hiking.
Best time of year to visit: June.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Winter – there are some great winter activities such as snowshoeing, skiing, and sledging.
Busiest Time of year: July-August.
Helpful Hint: Book camping spots in the backcountry well in advance.
Caution: Always be aware of your surroundings and don’t get too close to cliff edges!

Bryce Canyon Mugs

grand-canyon-national-park-mug
blue-grand-canyon-mug-deneen-pottery

Where to Buy Mugs

The mugs can be purchased through the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association website here

Canyonlands National Park

Utah

Thanks in large part to low light pollution and healthy air quality, Canyonlands has some of the most spectacular night sky views. There are few things better than spending the night under the open sky after a day of exploring, and few places do it better than Canyonlands National Park. So, what do you do during the day while here? Well, there are many districts that make up the park, which include Island in the Sky (great for scenic drives and easy hiking), The Needles (for a more backcountry experience), and The Rivers (for flatwater trips on the Green or Colorado rivers and whitewater trips in Cataract Canyon).

There’s reduced visitor services in the winter, but you can still check out the park and take in some views even with snow on the ground. Just remember to pay attention to the weather forecasts and road conditions, as well as bring a pair of crampons. Coyotes, bats, owls, foxes, mule deer, jackrabbits, and kangaroo rats are frequently seen within the park.


What not to miss: Mesa Arch! This spectacular arch is perched on the edge of a cliff, so be careful. On a clear day, you can see White Rim Road, amazing canyons, and the distant La Sal Mountains. Sunrise at Mesa Arch is a favorite for photographers and remains popular all day long!
Best time of year to visit: Early part of November – The crowds have thinned out and the temps are perfect for hiking.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: December – January.
Busiest time of year: June, July, and August
Helpful Hint: No matter where you explore in canyon country be sure to bring and drink plenty of water.
Caution: Be sure to stay on the trails because the soil is alive!

Canyonlands Mugs

Red orange Arches National Park Mug

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase the mugs online here

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah

Despite its name, the Capitol Reef National Park is not a place for snorkeling (You’ll want to check out the Great Barrier Reef if that’s what you’re looking for). Instead, at this park in Utah, you’ll find the heart of red rock country, with a number of hidden treasures like cliffs, domes, bridges, and canyons. Waterpocket Fold offers one of the most incredible views in the area if you can make it to the top through backcountry hiking.

Don’t worry. The park also offers fifteen day hiking trails, each with varying degrees of difficulty, ranging from easy strolls to more strenuous hikes. No matter your skill level, you’ll be able to find a trail for you!

While Capitol Reef wasn’t known as a rock climbing destination, recent years have seen an increase in climbing in Utah’s canyon country. This is the perfect park to go to if you’re looking for some solid climbing spots without running into a lot of other climbers. Bicycle tours are also an option, and a great way to see a lot of park in a shorter amount of time. Road tours are also popular. Ringtails, gray fox, beavers, bison, bighorn sheep, and goats are all seen in Capitol Reef.
What not to miss:
Best time of year to visit: September – October – The weather is great, the colors are at their peak, and the hiking is at its best.
Busiest Time of year: May, September & October
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: January.
Helpful Hint: Make sure you include a stop at the picturesque Fruita Orchards and bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade of the trees.
Caution: Always bring plenty of water and SPF!

Capitol Reef Mugs

Capitol Reef Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

You can find the mugs at the following locations inside the park:

Capitol Reef National Park Visitor
UT-24
Torrey, UT 84775

Gifford House
Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive
Teasdale, UT 84773

Carlsbad Caverns

New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns is a series of 117 caves, the longest of which is 120 miles long, filled with over 400,000 Mexican free-tailed bats and sixteen other species. In other words, if you come to Carlsbad Caverns you better: A.) Not be claustrophobic and B.) Not be afraid of bats. If you can get past those two things, then you’re sure to enjoy Carlsbad Caverns for the unique experiences it offers when compared to a typical National Park. You can take both self-guided cavern tours, as well as ranger-guided one if you’re looking to learn more about the history as you take in the views.

However, what most people come for are the bats. The Bat Flight Program takes place through late May to October, where the evening will begin with a ranger talk prior to watching thousands of bats emerge from the Carlsbad Cavern. The best thing about the program? No cameras are allowed of any kind so as not to harm the bats in complete darkness. This means it’s just you, some friends or family, and some fellow nature enthusiasts enjoying one of nature’s most epic scenes. Sometimes it’s nice to put down the camera and live in the moment completely. Along with the bats, you can find pronghorn, deer, raccoons, shrews, badgers, and wolves in the park.

What not to miss: Definitely the bat flights if you’re here during the summer or early fall,
The Big Room Tour Viewing the Natural Entrance – whether you walk down the trail or not, at least SEE the Natural Entrance.
Best time of year to visit: For bat flights – Summer or early Fall.
Overall, late September is great because it’s not crowded anymore and not so hot. The bats might not be at their best but the cave experience is MUCH better when it’s not crowded.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: September.
Busiest time of year: June and July and the week of Thanksgiving
Helpful hint: The cave is 56 degrees but has high humidity. Bring a light layer that you can take on and off easily.
Caution: The trails are dim and a bit uneven, but have handrails. If you have issues with not being able to see the ground while walking without falling, bring a cane (not a walking stick) or use handrails.

Carlsbad Caverns Mugs

grand-canyon-national-park-mug

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase the mug online on the Western National Parks Association Store’s website here

Grand Teton National Park

Wyoming

Grand Teton has one of the more recognizable mountain ranges in all of the U.S, known as the Teton Range. The range is a favorite among backpackers and possesses incredible views that rival those of the more popular Glacier National Park. There is certainly no shortage of outdoor activities in Grand Teton National Park, with biking, bird watching, boating, climbing, and mountaineering, cross-country skiing, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and scenic drives all apart of the itinerary.

Hiking is the most popular attraction, as the park is renowned for its 230 miles of trails, with varying difficulty levels so that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Along with these hiking trails, the scenic drives are sight to behold themselves, with plenty of turnouts to get out, take in some views, and stretch your legs. If you want to see some moose, Grand Teton is a great spot to go searching. Along with moose, you’ll find marmots, golden eagles, bison, coyotes, and ospreys.

What not to miss: The epic views of the Teton Range
Best time of year to visit: Mid-May to September.

Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Early September when school starts up again
Busiest time of year: Mid-May to June
Helpful hint: Always be on the lookout for moose early in the mornings. DON’T get too close, keep your distance and be respectful of their space.
Caution: Never feed the animals! And bring proper hiking shoes.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park looks otherworldly, where a mix of gorgeous mountain range views and sandy dunes come together. You’ve heard of snowboarding, but what about sandboarding and sand sledding? You can actually rent sandboards and ride down the dunes. It’s a once in a lifetime activity that will create a lasting memory for people of all ages. For the uncoordinated, sand sleds are an excellent alternative where balancing becomes less of an issue.

When it comes to stargazing, Great Sand Dunes is one of the best spots for watching the Milky Way in full form. The foreground of the dunes, coupled with the mountain ranges make for some truly humbling views of the night sky. As with all these national parks, Great Sand Dunes has some excellent hiking, whether it’s through the dunes or within the woods on the outskirts. Hiking to Sand Creek Lake should be on everyone’s list when they go to Great Sand Dunes. Tiger salamanders, elk, pikas, bighorn sheep, bison, and badgers all make Grand Sand Dunes their home.
What not to miss: If you are up for a challenge then we would suggest you attempt to hike to High Dune and or Star Dune. Medano Creek between May & July
Best time of year to visit: Early summer for best creek flow; September for best weather/temperature conditions and fall colors.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: April/May before memorial day or September/October
after labor day.
Busiest time of year: July.
Helpful hint: When visiting in early to mid-summer bring lots of water, sun protection and bug repellent. These three simple and important components will make your time exploring much more enjoyable.
Caution: Summer air temperatures are pleasant at this high elevation, but during afternoon hours the sand surface can reach 150ºF, and dangerous thunderstorms can develop. Plan to hike the dunes in early morning or evening to avoid heat exhaustion, burned feet, or fatal lightning strikes.

Great Sand Dunes Mugs

Great Sand Dunes Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

Buy it here

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef and a diverse collection of flora and fauna (plants and animals for the non-scientists). There are over 80 miles of trails, with a few of the most popular being the Devil’s Hall, Smith Spring Loop, McKittrick Canyon, and Guadalupe Peak trails. During late October to early November, fall colors and cooler temperatures make for excellent hiking conditions.

There are some excellent opportunities for horseback riding within the park as well, however, there are no horses to hire, so you have to bring your own. The Guadalupe Mountains are home to 60 species of mammals, including deer, hog-nosed skunks, rock squirrels, black bears, and gray fox.

What not to miss: Views of El Capitan and Guadalupe Peak from the picnic area on 62/180 south of the visitor center, about 4 miles. It’s STUNNING!
Best time of year to visit: This really depends-
October, early November for Fall Colors, but it can be crowded or September/April if you want it quiet and great hiking weather
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: September, January, February
Busiest Time of year: Fall colors in October and early November, all of March for Spring Break
Helpful Hint: We are a Wilderness hiking park. There are no driving areas, unless you have 4WD. We do have very easy trails for non-hikers.
Another tip – We are on Mountain Time. Cell phones will connect to the nearest cell tower, which is in Central Time. Everyone is confused. Please set your phone to not update the time before arriving.
Caution: The Guadalupes are notoriously difficult to hike in. Big steps, rough hard rocks that are hard on joints and boots. People routinely come in and say they can hike here easy because they hike the 14ers in Colorado, etc. This does not help. Our mountains are geologically young and rugged!

Guadalupe Mountains Mugs

Guadalupe Mountains Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

Visitor Center
400 Pine Canyon
Salt Flat, TX 79847

And the mugs are also available online from the WNPA store here.

Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 in an effort to preserve and study the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who used to live there. The park protects 5,000 archeological sites and over 600 incredible cliff dwellings. If you’re interested in seeing an ancient city in the U.S., Mesa Verde is one of the best spots to do so.

If you’re interested in visiting for a short while, plan on at least being there for four hours, as it will take two hours driving in and out of the park. Some spots to see if you’re here for half a day are the Spruce Tree House and the Mesa Top Loop Road. If you have more time, the hiking trails are excellent, including Prater Ridge Trail, a 9-mile trail that changes in both elevation and vegetation throughout. Of course, you must stop at Cliff Palace, Balcony House, or Long House if you have time. It is incredible to see these cliff dwellings up close. Within the confines of the park, you can spot bats, shrews, red fox, bobcats, Rocky Mountain elk, and minks.

What not to miss: Taking the “700 Year Tour” really gives guests detailed info on the area’s inhabitants and their way of life, along with taking a tour of Balcony House (included with the tour).  Touring Cliff Palace (the largest cliff dwelling in North America) is a must as well; this requires purchasing a ticket in advance and is a ranger-guided tour.
Best time of year to visit: September is great.  The weather is very pleasant, and the Summer rush of tourists has subsided.  
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: May and September are your best months to avoid crowds and most dwellings and trails are open at these times.
Busiest Time of year: We have the highest attendance from mid-June to mid-August
Helpful hint: Since this is designated ancestral lands, all hikers MUST stay on all designated trails and cannot wander off to explore! And bringing plenty of water and some high-protein snacks is strongly suggested. Also, sunscreen and sunglasses should be worn; our sun on the Mesa is about 10x stronger than you would get at a typical beach!
Caution: We have many species of wildlife that should be avoided at all times (especially bears). Yes, staying away from cliff edges should be a priority while hiking and observing the cliff dwellings.

 

Last thing – what is the address or lat/long for the gift shop(s) that have the mugs for sale and are you offering them for sale online? 37.23058 degrees N, 108.4752 degrees W;  this isn’t the location of a store since we sell them in three locations but it’s the approximate center of the park itself. And these coordinates are on some souvenir items we carry.  We do not have an online store at all, everything must be purchased at the store in person or over the phone.

Petrified Forest National Park

Arizona

The Petrified Forest in Arizona is part of the Chinle Formation, which contains 225 million-year-old petrified wood. Yes, you read that right, 225 million years old. The surrounding Painted Desert is one of the featured attractions, which contains eroded cliffs of beautiful red-hued volcanic rock called bentonite. And, to top it all off, dinosaur fossils and over 350 Native American sites are protected throughout the park.

Geocaching is a popular activity within the Petrified Forest, as well as guided tours, hiking, horseback riding, road biking, backpacking, and scenic drives. Backpackers will enjoy colorful sunsets, incredible night skies, and sunrises that will encourage you to get up early to take it all in. Coyotes, foxes, and a wide array of colorful lizards can be seen during the summer months here.

What not to miss: Crystal Forest Loop, the Painted Desert, Blue Mesa
Best time of year to visit: late May to late September
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Fall and winter, early spring.
Busiest time of year: Summer
Helpful hint: Bring enough water! Drink more often than you think.
Caution: Watch your step! You never know when you might find a lizard right under you.

Rocky Mountain

Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best parks to visit year round. Whether you’re visiting in the summer, spring, fall, or winter, there is plenty to see and do while here. In the winter, you’ll see plenty of cross-country skiers, as well as people snowshoeing. You can also snowshoe with a ranger to ensure that you hit up all the good spots, and if you don’t have your own equipment, Estes Park has plenty of rental shops available.

With over 355 miles of hiking trails, when the weather is nice and all the trails are accessible, there is no limit to all the sights you can see. Rocky Mountain National Park is definitely a destination that should, at the very least, be seen over the course of a long weekend. Day trips here will simply not do it justice. Bear Lake, Longs Peak, and Sprague Lake are some of the best spots to hit up for picturesque views. Trail Ridge Road, Emerald Lake Trail, and Old Fall River Road are some other popular spots as well. But, if we’re being honest, no matter where you are in the park, you will be impressed by what you see. Tiger salamanders, fence lizards, bighorn sheep, eagles, mountain lions, moose, and coyotes make Rocky Mountain National Park their home.

What not to miss: It is an easy walk around the lake and early morning photographers often gather on the opposite side of the lake to get the absolute best photograph.

Taking Old Fall River Road up to the top of Rocky Mountain National Park is always spectacular. Please be aware, there are no guard rails and there are many drop offs. There are also a lot of switchbacks to contend with. This road is best taken in early morning when the big horn sheep, elk, and often time moose, can be seen in many of the meadows. This road was the first road in RMNP and was a two way road when it opened and until Trail Ridge Road was built in 1939.

Bear Lake Road is another tourist must see. This is the most visited part of RMNP and if you are driving, it is advisable to get there in the very early morning, before 6:30 a.m. if you plan on parking in the lot provided, or after 3:00 p.m. There is a hiker’s shuttle that goes into the Bear Lake area which you can catch at the fairgrounds parking lot.

Best time of year to visit: Summer is the absolute busiest time of the year and the weekends when the aspen are changing and the elk are in rut. During the week in the fall is generally less crowded. Winter is a great time to come to RMNP to enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The weather can be a bit unpredictable though so come prepared and layer your clothing. It can be snowing and a winter wonderland, windy and cold, or a balmy 50 degrees.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds:.Winter is a great time to come to RMNP to enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The weather can be a bit unpredictable though so come prepared and layer your clothing.
Busiest time of year: Summer and weekends during the fall changing of the aspen and elk rutting season.
Helpful hint: Always let someone know where you are going to hike and when you expect to be back. RMNP is the busiest park for search and rescue operations. Always bring more clothing than you think you will need and a lot of water. This advice could save your life!
Caution: Please don’t feed any of the wildlife. The Rocky Mountain ecosystem is extremely susceptible to human behavior and feeding even a chipmunk can be detrimental to that chipmunks life. Do not advance too closely to any wildlife. Remember they are wild, even as docile as they may seem. If a large elk or moose would charge a human, that animal may be euthanized because of your actions. Stay at least two bus lengths away from the larger animals.

Rocky Mountain  National Park Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase the mugs online through the Trail Ride Gift Store here.

You can also by buy them in the physical store location:

Trail Ridge Gift Store
80517 Estes Park, Colorado

Saguaro National Park

Arizona

Saguaro National Park is split into the separate Rincon Mountain and Tuscon Mountain districts. As you may have guessed, the park is named after the giant saguaro cacti that can be seen throughout the park. Along with this cacti, you can also find barrel cacti, chollas, and prickly pears. There are a number of excellent campsites, with six designated campgrounds. Keep in mind when visiting the park that cellphone reception is poor throughout most of the park.

There are over 150 miles of designated trails in Saguaro, however, there is no off-trail hiking unless you are in an area that is above 4,500 feet in elevation. If you are interested in trying to off-trail hike at this park, then you can grab a topographic map at a visitors center to make sure you are doing so legally. Deer, skunks, jackrabbits, bats, and bobcats can be seen in the park.

What not to miss: Signal Hill Petroglyphs.
Best time of year to visit: Before the heat sets in so November through April.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Busiest month is March, but we get a lot of winter visitors due to the nice winter weather.  We really pick up in January through March.
Busiest time of year: February is the Gem and Mineral show so we get a lot of traffic from that and March is the Festival of Books which brings a lot of visitors to the park.
Helpful hint: Carry lots of water.
Caution: Stay on the trails!

Saguaro National Park Mugs

Saguaro National Park Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

You can purchase the mugs online here

Or visit the following the locations inside the park:

Rincon Mountain Visitor Center
Rincon Mountain District
3693 S. Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730

Red Hills Visitor Center
Tucson Mountain District
2700 N. Kinney Rd
Tucson, AZ 85743

Yellowstone

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is a staple of the U.S. Parks System. Located on the Yellowstone Caldera, the park is known for the sprawling network of geothermal areas that include boiling mud pots, colorful hot springs, and geysers that regularly erupt. The most infamous of these geysers, Old Faithful, has been bringing in people from the around the world for hundreds of years.

Yellowstone is actually the world’s first national park. Explore mountains, forests, and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. Discover the history that led to the conservation of our national treasures “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Some of the best hikes include Mount Washburn Spur Trail, Observation Peak Trail, Ribbon Lake Trail. Otters, badgers, bison, elk, moose, wolves, and lynx can be spotted running around the park.
What not to miss: Grand Prismatic Spring and the Buffalo in Hayden Valley
Best time of year to visit: September, because the crowds are thinning out and the weather is still nice and we don’t have snow to slow down your hiking.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: October
Busiest Time of year: July, followed by August and then June.
Helpful Hint: Stay 100 yards away from all animals – definitely don’t feed them EVER.
Caution: Stay on the boardwalks in the thermal areas, that water is beyond hot

Yellowstone Mugs

Yellowstone Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

Yellowstone Forever
115 3rd Street South
Gardiner, MT 59030

Bozeman International Airport
850 Gallatin Field Rd
Belgrade, MT 59714

Lake Yellowstone Hotel
235 Yellowstone Lake Rd
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

Old Faithful Inn Gift Store
1 Grand Loop Rd
Yellowstone National PArk, WY 82190

Old Faithful Snow Lodge
2051 Snow Lodge Ave
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

Canyon Lodge Gift Store
41 Clover Ln
Yellowstone National PArk, WY 82190

Lake Lodge Gift Store
No address found

Mammoth Gift Store
No address found

Zion

Utah

Known for its red cliffs and mixture of greenery, Zion National Park features the perfect combination of desert and forests and can produce some of the most picturesque views in the region. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through its main section, leading to forest trails along the Virgin River. The river flows to the Emerald Pools, which have waterfalls and a hanging garden. Also along the river, partly through deep chasms, is Zion Narrows wading hike. Angels Landing and The Narrows are two of the best hiking trails as well.

Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present-day adventures. Collared lizards, Mexican owls, California condors, mountain lions, ringtails, and mule deer frequent the park.

What not to miss: Canyon Overlook has the best view in the park, Kolob Canyon is a great off-the-beaten-path spot
Best time of year to visit: Spring and fall for more moderate weather where heat will be less of an issue.
Best time of year to avoid the crowds: Avoid going in the summer
Busiest time of year: Summer
Helpful hint: Be wary of the wildlife and give them space.
Caution: Watch your step! And stay away from the edge of cliffs.

Zion National Park Mugs

Zion National Park Mugs

Where to Buy Mugs

1 Zion National Park, Springdale, UT 84767

Photo creds:

Bend- Blake Trester

Black Canyon – National Park Service

Bryce Canyon – Bernard Spragg

Canyonlands – National Park Service

Capitol Reef – National Park Service

Carlsbad Caverns – National Park Service

Grand Teton – National Park Service

Great Sand Dunes – National Park Service

Guadalupe – Good Free Photos

Mesa Verde – National Park Service

Petrified Forest – National Park Service

Rocky – National Park Service

Saguaro – National Park Service

Yellowstone – National Park Service

Zion – National Park Service

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