Retired Austin Travelers
Three Less-Visited Western National Parks / Monuments
By Jackie and Steve Kraal

Capulin Volcano National Monument
https://www.nps.gov/cavo/index.htm
It is in the northeast corner of New Mexico and we stumbled upon it on our way to Salida, CO. We happened to be there when the ladybugs were migrating....very cool. We spent about two hours hiking around the rim and for a portion of it we had a national park ranger giving us a personal tour (just happenstance.) You can use your senior pass here. Whoo hoo!

Petrified Forest National Park
https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm
We took a long road trip to Oregon this summer and decided to make time for this park. We spent the night in Santa Rosa, NM and arrived at this Arizona park late morning. We had our picnic lunch outside the visitor center and then did the entire park from north to south. I checked on Trip Advisor and came up with an itinerary. We did almost all of the hikes, with Blue Mesa being our favorite. This was during the summer so it was hot so be sure to have water, hat, sunscreen. We spent about four hours here and thought we might stop at a rock store outside the park, but we were ready to get to Flagstaff...and we're not really souvenir kind of folks anyway. Your senior pass gets you in for free here.

Craters of the Moon National Monument
https://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm
We visited this monument many years ago. It is about 90 miles outside of Twin Falls, Idaho. We did an incredible hike then, but this time we drove our car and stopped at every pull out point. We did a couple of walks on pavement and maybe spent two hours here. The lava makes it look very other worldly.  We ended by having our picnic lunch at the visitor center (which was closed.) This monument was free. We did not have to show our senior pass.