Dry Tortugas National Park vs. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Dry Tortugas National Park and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Dry Tortugas National Park.

Dry Tortugas National Park Overview

Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. This 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequents the area.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a beautiful and diverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in West Virginia, this expansive park spans more than 1,700 square miles and features rugged mountain scenery, winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, steep canyons, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. With so much to see and do, New River Gorge is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get outside and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in hiking or biking along scenic trails or rafting or kayaking down rushing rivers, New River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next trip today? Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New River Gorge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Get outside and discover what New River Gorge has to offer!

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Dry Tortugas National Park Hiking Trails

Dry Tortugas National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The easiest trail is the Garden Key Trail, which winds through botanical gardens and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. For a more challenging hike, try the Fort Hill Trail, which climbs to the top of a 19th-century fortress for sweeping panoramas of the island. Dry Tortugas is also home to the longest hiking trail in the park system, the Loggerhead Key Nature Trail. This 10-mile round-trip trek takes hikers through mangrove forests and tidal lagoons in search of wildlife. No matter what your level of experience, Dry Tortugas National Park has a hiking trail that’s perfect for you.

Best Hikes At Dry Tortugas National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Fort Jefferson Loop 0.9144 1 loop 4.5

Hiking Overview at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The park, which is located in southern West Virginia, features more than 50 miles of trails that wind through a variety of terrains. While all of the trails offer stunning views of the New River Gorge, each one has its own unique challenges.

For those looking for an easy hike, the Fayetteville Trail is a great option. This two-mile trail winds through a forest and offers gentle elevation changes. The trail can be accessed from the Fayetteville Visitors Center and is perfect for families or those who are new to hiking.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the New River Gorge Trail is the longest and most difficult trail in the park. This 31-mile trail follows the New River from one end of the gorge to the other. Along the way, hikers will need to navigate steep cliffs, narrow ledges, and deep ravines. The New River Gorge Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers who are properly prepared for a multi-day adventure.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Wildlife at Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is home to a variety of plant and animal life. The park’s diverse habitats – including beaches, mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs – provide shelter and food for a wide range of species. Among the most common animals you’ll see in the park are birds; Dry Tortugas is home to over 320 species of birds, including pelicans, herons, egrets, and roseate spoonbills. The waters around the park are also teeming with marine life; snorkeling and diving are popular activities for visitors, and you can expect to see a variety of colorful fish, turtles, and coral. Dry Tortugas National Park is an important stopover for migratory birds, and it’s also home to several endangered species, such as the Key deer and the Dry Tortugas pink shrimp. Whether you’re exploring the park by land or by sea, you’re sure to see an amazing array of plant and animal life.

Wildlife at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

At New River Gorge National Park, you can expect to see a wide range of beautiful wildlife. Whether you’re gazing at towering trees or trekking through muddy marshes, you are sure to encounter an array of animals and plants along the way. Some of the most common species include deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, wild turkeys, salamanders, snakes, lizards, hawks, eagles, crows and blue jays. Additionally, New River Gorge is home to many different types of flora including ferns, mosses, conifers and deciduous trees. Whether you’re exploring on your own or partaking in one of the park’s many guided tours and hikes, New River Gorge has something to offer for all nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike!

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Dry Tortugas National Park Weather Considerations

Dry Tortugas National Park is located in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. The park has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round. However, there can be some variation in temperature and rainfall between the different seasons. The best time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park is from December to April. This is the dry season, with average temperatures ranging from 73-81 degrees Fahrenheit. There is also less chance of hurricanes during this time of year. The worst time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park is from May to November. This is the wet season, when average temperatures are slightly higher (78-86 degrees Fahrenheit) and chances of rainfall are increased. Hurricanes are also more likely to occur during this time of year.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Weather Considerations

New River Gorge National Park is a great place to visit any time of year, but the best time to go depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in hiking, the spring and fall are ideal because the temperatures are moderate and there’s less chance of rain. However, if you’re looking to whitewater raft, the summer is the best time to visit since that’s when the water level is at its highest. On the other hand, winter can be a magical time at New River Gorge National Park, especially if you’re hoping to see some snow. So whether you’re looking for adventure or peace and quiet, be sure to check the New River Gorge National Park weather forecast before planning your trip.