CREDO Tip: The Seven Great National Parks to Visit in Winter

Winter is one of the best times to visit our nation’s beautiful national parks. Imagine standing in snow-blanketed Cooks Meadow with the iconic Half Dome in the background or standing next to Old Faithful Geyser with no one else around… 

During the winter, the parks’ beauty is nearly unmatched. Leaves fall, leaving behind sculptures made of tree trunk; waterfalls crystallize; snowflakes drift in the wind and Earth’s natural wonders become a place of solitude and reflection.

There are 61 national parks spanning from Hawaii to Maine. Here are seven great ones to visit in winter: 

 

1. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

 

Located less than two hours away from Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon is often overlooked. But during the winter, the rich landscape of hoodoos creates a picturesque view, unlike any other place in the world. Imagine massive red, orange, and purple rock carved out by nature to look like ancient cities. Now blanket that scene in the snow, and it becomes a winter wonderland. 

The parks shuttle service closes during the winter, but roads to popular lookouts including Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, Sunrise Point, and Bryce Point get plowed after every snowstorm. If you’re looking to venture into areas of higher elevation, you’ll want to check with park services about road closures.

The serviced roads with designated parking areas make Bryce Canyon one of the most accessible national parks to visit in the winter. For those looking for more adventure, hiking (with mountaineering crampons) and snowshoeing are available. 

Pro-tip: Bryce Canyon National Park and Ruby’s Inn host an annual Winter Festival, which typically occurs over President’s Day weekend. During the event, there are activities for the whole family including crafts, snowshoe tours, photography workshops, and more. 

Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center. UT-63, Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764. Plan your trip.

 

2. Denali National Park, Alaska

 

Given how far north this park is, temperatures are frigid, dropping to as low as -40°F, and during the fall, daylight shrinks to a mere five hours a day. That makes this park a prime location for stargazing and witnessing the mysterious Aurora Borealis.

If serenity is what you seek, Denali National Park is one of the best places to visit during winter. Plus, fewer crowds doesn’t mean fewer available activities. Popular winter activities in Denali National Park include skiing, biking, and snowshoeing.

Pro Tip: If you have your sights set on seeing the Aurora Borealis, download the My Aurora Forecast and Alert app for your iPhone or Android.

Denali National Park and Preserve. Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK. Plan your trip. 

 

3. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

 

During the winter, Shenandoah National Park is a hiker’s paradise. While the roads are generally closed from late November to March, the park is open year-round. For those willing to hike in strenuous, freezing conditions, the majestic sights of Shenandoah are well worth the effort. Frozen waterfalls, sparkling ice crystals, naked trees void of their leaves, and animal tracks in the powdered snow all reveal signs of life and nature’s natural progression amid the quiet and serene vistas.

Here are a few short hikes to consider: Stoney Man (1.6 miles RT), Frazier Discovery Trail (1.3-mile loop), and Dark Hollow Falls (1.4 miles RT).

Pro tip: In the winter, Byrd Visitor Center switches to weekend-only operational hours and only when the Skyline Drive itself is open. So plan accordingly. 

Shenandoah National Park. 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835. Plan your visit. 

 

4. Big Bend National Park, Texas

 

Whether you have one day, three days, or a week to explore Big Bend National Park, there is plenty to do and see. Located in Southwest Texas with portions of the park crossing into Mexico, Big Bend National Park is filled with huge limestone mountains cut by winding rivers. 

Activities at Big Bend are abundant and include ziplining, bird watching, river tours, fishing, horseback riding, stargazing, scenic drives, hiking, and a fossil discovery exhibit with records dating as far back as 130 million years ago. 

Pro tip: To help you navigate the vast expanse of land at Big Bend, download the Just Ahead app, which is available for both iPhone and Android users

Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129. Plan your visit.

 

5. Yosemite National Park, California

 

Yosemite became a protected National Park back in 1864. With 1,200 square miles, it’s home to iconic landmarks like Half Dome, El Capitan, and the Ansel Adams Gallery and Photography center. Because of this, over 4 million people pass through Yosemite each year, and 75% of those visits happen during the busy Summer months. 

Not only will you encounter fewer crowds by visiting in the winter, but you’ll feel like you’re visiting a completely different park. Here, you get the calm, reflective winter white colors on the ground, contrasted with bright oranges and reds cast upon the mountains during sunset and sunrise. 

During the winter, bundle up and enjoy Yosemite’s winter activities which include: skiing or snowshoeing, snow tubing or sledding, stargazing, ice skating, and photo walks.

Pro tip: Plan ahead. There is limited cell service in the park. If you have a large party, walkie talkies are a good idea.

Yosemite Visitor Center. 9035 Village Dr., Yosemite Valley, CA 95389. Plan your visit.

 

6. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina 

 

If you love the holiday season, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be on your list of must-see National Parks. Just north of the park in Pigeon Forge, you’ll find the Winterfest Lights. This driving tour through town, either on your own or via a trolley, takes you to various gigantic light displays including the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, an array of fairytale characters, and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas event.

Inside the park, the lights dim, the world quiets and you can enjoy crowd-free hikes, wildlife spotting, spectacular waterfall displays, skiing and snowboarding, and historic buildings to visit.

Pro tip: The city of Hot Springs, which is east of the park and along the Appalachian Trail, is a must stop. For hundreds of years, people have come to soak in the natural mineral hot tubs, and after a long hike, there’s nothing better than a relaxing soak. Spaces are limited, so be sure to book in advance. 

Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center. 686 Cades Cove Loop Road, Townsend, TN 37882. Plan your visit.

 

7. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming and Montana

 

When you visit Yellowstone in the winter, it’s an entirely different experience. Because of inclement weather, most of the roads are shut down, but this means you get to explore the park on more adventurous vehicles: the snowmobile or snow coach

With an icy breeze and fresh snow-powdered air all around, a ride to the iconic Old Faithful geyser or to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone on a snowmobile or snow coach feels more like an exploration rather than the typical expedition. 

Apart from snowmobiling, visitors can also: hike, ski or snowshoe, animal watch, see live grizzly bears and wolves at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, take a dip in the boiling river, or join a winter photography safari

Pro tip: Once you enter the park, cell service is limited, so be sure and download the NPS Yellowstone App, which is available for both iPhone and Androids

Yellowstone Visitors Center. View Avenue, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190. Plan your visit.

National Parks during the winter offer solitude, but venturing out during inclement weather is not without its dangers. Before you go, be sure to visit the park’s website to get up to date information about road closures and other warnings. 

What gear you’ll need will depend on the activities you choose to participate in. The NPA has an essential guide to winter clothing and equipment for your reference. But, if you plan to hike check out the National Park Foundation’s hiking guide before venturing into the National Parks during the Winter. And for anyone interested in snowshoeing, check out REI’s guide for beginners. 

Pick your park, check out the sites, gather your gear, and experience the National Parks in a way you’ve never experienced them before.

CREDO members are the reason we will donate more than $1.7 million this year

Today is Giving Tuesday, a special day for many nonprofits to kick off charitable giving over the holiday season.

Here at CREDO, we were created with a mission to fund progressive causes, like civil rights, climate justice and LGBTQ equality, today and all year long –— and we’ve been doing just that for more than 30 years.

We always get the question: How is CREDO able to donate millions to progressive nonprofits like Planned Parenthood, Friends of the Earth, the ACLU and so many others?

So this Giving Tuesday, we want to share with you just how we do that, and the answer is it’s our members. Because of CREDO members who use our CREDO Mobile, CREDO Energy, CREDO Long Distance and Working Assets Credit Card products every day, we can make an incredible impact on the progressive movement. CREDO members are the reason we will contribute nearly $2 million this year – and have donated more than $88 million since our founding – to amazing progressive nonprofit groups doing incredible work. 

Here’s how our donations program works:

  1. All year long, CREDO members who use one of our products or services – CREDO Mobile, CREDO Long Distance, CREDO Energy or the Working Assets Credit Card – fund the CREDO Donations program with their phone, long distance, energy and credit card bills.
  2. Each month, CREDO meets as a company to vote for which three nonprofit groups will be on the ballot to receive the next month’s donations. Just like our members, everyone who works at CREDO shares a passion for our progressive work and takes the act of voting on each month’s slate very seriously. You can nominate a group too, just visit our CREDO Donations site.
  3. We ask all of our members to help decide who gets how much each month. We send the donations ballot to CREDO members, activists and supporters, and they vote for the group (or groups) they’d most like to see funded. The votes of CREDO members carry more weight. The vote of a member with one CREDO product or service counts twice. The vote of a member with two CREDO products or services counts three times, and so on.

Our donations are only possible because of our members who vote with their wallets and choose a company that shares their progressive values. Our loyal CREDO members have helped us donate more than $1.7 million in 2019 and over $88 million since 1985.

You can help us choose how to distribute this month’s donation to three great groups! Click here to cast your vote today.

So thank you, CREDO members, for making these donations possible. Not a member yet? Want to join a company that isn’t afraid to stand up for your values and gives millions to progressive causes? Check out CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and make the switch! Watch and share CREDO’s story too.

Our November grantees thank you for your support

Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups supporting climate justice, civil rights and reproductive freedom. In November, nearly 40,000 CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to Bold, Dēmos Action and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our October grant recipients thank you.


Bold
$52,038

“Thank you for serving as a megaphone for climate action! CREDO members are true allies for national and local groups like Bold. Because of your activism, Bold continues to protect our land, water and climate from risky fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.” – Jane Kleeb, Founder and Executive Director

To learn more, visit boldalliance.org.

Dēmos Action
$32,570

“Thank you for your partnership! We are in a pivotal moment for the future of American democracy, and CREDO members like you make it possible for Dēmos Action to help build the kind of inclusive democracy we all deserve but have never truly had.” – Sabeel Rahman, President

To learn more, visit demosaction.org.  

Planned Parenthood Federation of America
$65,392

“Thank you for your support, which comes at a critical moment for sexual and reproductive health and rights. CREDO members like you keep Planned Parenthood strong for all who rely on us for vital information and care, and we are so grateful.” – Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

To learn more, visit Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  

Now check out the three groups we are funding in December, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.

Vote for American Civil Liberties Union, The American Prospect and Fair Fight Action this December

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This December, you can support groups fighting for civil rights, independent progressive journalism and voting rights by voting to fund American Civil Liberties Union, The American Prospect and Fair Fight Action.

American Civil Liberties Union

The ACLU helps fulfill our nation’s promise of equality, liberty and justice for all. The organization is fighting back against the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants, women, LGBTQ people and voting rights.

Funding from CREDO members will help the ACLU hold the Trump administration accountable.

The American Prospect

The American Prospect is a leading source for coverage of how power works in America, from Washington to the corporate boardroom. The Prospect goes beyond the headlines to explain and analyze our political system, who it benefits and how it can be transformed.

A CREDO grant will support the Prospect’s expansion from four to six issues a year, hiring a new generation of progressive journalists, more coverage at its brand-new website, and a deeper commitment to telling stories about ideas, politics and power.

Fair Fight Action

Fair Fight is a national voting rights organization rooted in Georgia. It’s the nation’s only organization focused on making elections fair – for all – through litigation, legislation and advocacy.

A donation from CREDO members will help fund Fair Fight’s lawsuit challenging Georgia’s unconstitutional elections policies and procedures in a historic federal lawsuit against the Georgia secretary of state and Board of Elections. 

Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by Dec. 31.

CREDO members who use our products and services everyday are the reason we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.

How CREDO donations helped Free Press Action Fund score big victories

This April, more than 64,200 CREDO members voted to donate $44,835 to Free Press Action Fund, a longtime partner in the fight for neutrality, safe online spaces, racial justice and trustworthy local journalism.

These donations, powered by our members who use our products and services every day, helped Free Press Action score some big victories for a free and open internet, launch new campaigns to stop online hate, and protect our rights online.

Photo credit: Brooke Anderson Photography/Free Press, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Here’s just a sample of the work they’ve accomplished since our April donation:

  • Free Press won a big victory in April when the House of Representatives passed the Save the Internet Act, legislation that would bring back the strong net neutrality protections the Trump FCC demolished in 2017. The bill passed 232–190 and included support from every Democratic member. The funds granted by CREDO are providing additional fuel to pressure the Senate to pass the bill.
  • Free Press won a lawsuit against the Trump administration to stop its evisceration of media ownership limits. The 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stinging rebuke of the Trump FCC, rejecting its latest attempt to gut media-ownership rules and slamming the agency for relying on analysis that was “so insubstantial that it would receive a failing grade in any introductory statistics class.”
  • In August, Free Press Action launched a campaign calling on Twitter to ban white supremacists. The organization joined forces with Change the Terms partners Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Media Justice and Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, who was murdered during Charlottesville’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally. They collectively urged Twitter to expand its current policy from one that prohibits dehumanizing tweets that target religious affiliations to one that bans tweets targeting individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.
  • This November, CREDO joined the Change the Terms coalition, including Free Press, Color Of Change and MediaJustice, for a #StopRacistTwitter protest outside Twitter headquarters demanding that the company ban white supremacists on its platform. We also delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures calling on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to stand on the right side of history by banning white nationalists.

To learn more about Free Press Action, please visit https://www.freepress.net/

These important victories were fueled in part by CREDO members who use our products, and our members are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.

And don’t forget to check out the three groups we are funding this month, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

Thank you to CREDO members for a successful Climate Strike

This September, millions of people across the globe joined the Global Climate Strike, the week-long, youth-led movement to end the age of fossil fuels and stop the climate crisis.

We’re proud of our members who helped to play an important role in this year’s Climate Strike and lift up the voices of millions of young people fighting to save our planet.

Here’s some of what CREDO, our employees and our members are doing for climate justice:

 

Additional $50,000 donated to groups fighting for climate justice

This September, 36,000 CREDO members voted to help us distribute an extra $50,000 to five groups fighting for climate justice and a Green New Deal. Here are these five great groups and how much each received:

  • Climate Justice Alliance / $12,300
  • US Youth Climate Strike / $11,650
  • Sunrise Movement / $10,350
  • Data for Progress / $7,900
  • NY Renews / $7,800

 

CREDO joins Climate Strikers across the country

On Sept. 20, CREDO employees – including Ray, our CEO – walked out of work and marched with climate strikers in rallies across the country. We joined Patagonia, Levi Strauss, Ben & Jerry’s, Lush Cosmetics and others, to enlist as many of our employees and customers in the strike as possible as part of the Global Climate Strike Business Working Group. 

We designed and distributed new climate strike posters for activists and CREDO members to display during the strikes. (But we were especially fond of the homemade posters we saw that day.)

 

CREDO activists fighting for the climate

In September, our campaigners at CREDO Action helped to turn out thousands of climate strikers to events across the country. In the last few months, tens of thousands of CREDO activists have taken action to urge big banks and universities to divest from fossil fuels, demanded that the Democratic National Committee hold a climate debate, and told California Gov. Gavin Newsom to phase out all fossil fuel projects

This past year, hundreds of thousands of CREDO members have signed petitions to call on Democrats to support a Green New Deal, protect endangered species, and oppose the fossil fuel pipeline projects.

 

CREDO members funding climate justice

Every month, CREDO donates $150,000 to three progressive organizations. In the past 30 years, our members have helped us distribute nearly $20 million total to groups fighting for climate justice and the environment. Recent environmental organizations who we’ve donated to include: Sunrise Movement, Friends of the Earth Action, Rainforest Action Network, the Center for Biological Diversity, Amazon Watch and 350.org. In total, we’ve donated more than $88 million to progressive groups fighting for the climate, women’s rights, economic equality and more.

To learn more about our donations program and vote for this month’s grantees, click here.

Watch: CREDO’s story is powering progressive change

We have launched something special at CREDO Mobile. It’s a TV ad but it’s so much more than that too. It’s our story and yours

CREDO is all about empowering big and small acts of powerful, progressive change with a business model built to distribute a portion of our revenues to progressive causes and activism. 

At a time when more and more people are seeking to be socially-conscious consumers, and choosing brands that share their values, we want to ensure they know that they can put their money where their values are by switching to CREDO Mobile.

Personally and professionally, I’ve really enjoyed seeing brands large and small take more of a stand in the past few years. As we’ve done for more than three decades, cCorporations are expressing their values both as a way to connect with their audiences and followers and as a means to live their beliefs for their customers, employees and their brand. 

For example, following the Parkland gun massacre, Dicks Sporting Goods removed assault weapons from its shelves and raised the age to purchase firearms, and the company recently announced its best quarter in three years. Ben & Jerry’s has continued a tradition of special edition ice cream pints featuring social justice issues including its recent Justice ReMix’d flavor that highlights the work of Color of Change (a CREDO donations recipient and activism partner) and the Advancement Project on criminal justice reform. And Penzeys Spices has spent millions on ads about impeaching Trump and received some well-deserved attention.  

Likewise, our new ad highlights the people who take a stand every day, by marching, organizing, boycotting, resisting –- and choosing a CREDO Mobile phone. It features families getting ready to attend various rallies supporting progressive issues. Each uses their CREDO Mobile phone as they create signs calling for climate justice, women’s rights, economic justice, civil rights, voting rights and peace efforts. If you didn’t catch it on air, you can watch it here:

Please also share it with your friends and family. If you’re a CREDO Mobile member, thank you for making CREDO’s activism and donations possible. 

Don’t forget that CREDO Mobile customers get a $100 bill credit for referring a friend for each and every line added. Help your friends get off the Big Telecom providers while still getting service on the best network, the same high-quality phones and competitive pricing, all while powering progressive change. Really, why wouldn’t anyone switch? You can learn more here (and make sure your friend has your CREDO Mobile phone number to reference when signing up!)

New Video: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) visits CREDO headquarters

Avril Benoît of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) visited CREDO headquarters on Wednesday, November 6th. Avril shared the impact of increasingly restrictive migration policies in different parts of the world and how these policies heap more suffering on people who were forced to flee their homes.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the entire live stream below or here on our Facebook page, Twitter page, or YouTube channel.

Criminal justice reform – one scoop at a time

Since our founding, CREDO has been fighting for civil rights and against systemic racism, and that includes reforming the criminal justice system. We’re thrilled that Ben & Jerry’s is lifting up this important issue too.  

So, in turn, we want to lift up Ben & Jerry’s new ice cream flavor that is raising money for criminal justice reform: Justice ReMix’d.

The limited-time flavor was launched in partnership with the Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization that works with local grassroots organizers on racial justice issues, and Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization and a long time partner of CREDO who has received more than $371,000 in CREDO donations thanks to our CREDO Mobile, Energy, Long Distance and Working Assets Credit Card members. Ben & Jerry’s will donate a portion of the proceeds from Justice ReMix’d to help fund the Advancement Project National Office to support its work in criminal justice reform.

According to Ben & Jerry’s, their new flavor features “cinnamon and chocolate ice creams, gobs of cinnamon bun dough, and spicy fudge brownies. And the best part? Justice ReMix’d also has a sweet swirl of justice under the lid.”

Over the years, CREDO members have helped us donate more than $12 million to civil rights groups like Center for Media Justice and Black Alliance for Just Immigration who are working to reform the criminal justice system. And hundreds of thousands of CREDO activists have taken action urging key decision makers to end police violence and reform the current racist criminal justice system.

It’s no surprise that Ben & Jerry’s is taking a strong stand on criminal justice reform, either; the company has been a progressive partner for social change for many years. We’re always supportive when corporations leverage their brand’s voice to create positive social change, and we feel it’s important to lift up Ben & Jerry’s work to make “justice for all” a reality for everyone.

To learn more about Justice ReMix’d and Ben & Jerry’s work on criminal justice reform, visit their website here.

CREDO’s Nicole Regalado gives powerful speech demanding Congress investigate Kavanaugh

Earlier this month, on the anniversary of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, CREDO Action Campaign Director Nicole Regalado gave a powerful speech in front of the Supreme Court demanding that Congress investigate Kavanaugh, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and lying under oath in 2004 and 2006 and at least 30 times during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Watch or read Nicole’s moving speech below:

“Good afternoon. My name is Nicole Regalado and I believe survivors.

When Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, every single person on my team at CREDO heard the rallying cry to fight back. We knew that the confirmation of an anti-choice, anti-women judge would put our freedoms and rights in danger.

We also knew that the confirmation of a known sexual predator would sanction and normalize the abuse that too many of our sisters have endured at the hands of predators. We came together and threw everything we had but the kitchen sink at the Senate to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation. We mobilized our members to make thousands of calls to the Senate, we showed up at Senate offices and all of us together watched every minute of Dr. Ford’s courageous and powerful testimony, cheering her on in California.

Like many people here today, we fought like hell to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation. So when Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans pushed Kavanaugh through anyway – ignoring Dr. Blasey Ford, the calls for accountability from thousands of women and the fact that Kavanaugh lied under oath in 2004, 2006 and 2018 – it felt like our voices, our stories, our pain, our work, simply didn’t matter. All of the women inside me were tired.

But today, as I stand here, right outside the Supreme Court, among hundreds of people who are rising up again, I am hopeful. Know that your actions here today will give thousands of people hope. And hope is one of the most dangerous threats to an administration that deals solely in hate and fear.

Brett Kavanaugh is a sexual predator who has no business being on the Supreme Court for a single day, let alone for a lifetime. One year ago today, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler promised that if Democrats took back the House, he would open an investigation into Kavanaugh and the accusations of perjury and sexual misconduct.

Democrats won back the House in November. It is long past time for Congressman Nadler to make good on his promise.

I am truly humbled to be here among you today. Thank you so much for coming out.”