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National park tips: This California valley gets you lower than the Grand Canyon

Deal: Free 'Winter Wonderlands' guide to snow play at 15 national parks

Winter Wonderlands free guide offers tips on where to ski, snowshoe and play at 15 national parks in winter.

Winter at national parks generally is the slow season -- and the snow season. The National Parks Foundation offers a free "Winter Wonderlands" guide to inspire travelers to go ice fishing, stargazing, snowshoeing or skiing at 15 parks around the country.

The deal: The guide is free and details winter vacation ideas for parks like Yosemite, Bryce Canyon and Sequoia & Kings Canyon in the West.

At Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, about 167 miles south of Colorado Springs, Colo., it recommends snowshoeing or sledding down the tallest sand dunes in North America. (In summer, folks go "sand sledding.")

Or you can take a beginner course in snowshoeing from a ranger at Lassen Volcanic National Park in Mineral, Calif. The main road in the park is closed in winter, but the park remains open -- perfect for folks who want to snowshoe or cross-country ski on the car-free roadway.

The road through Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado also closes in winter, but visitors can enter near Grand Lake in the west and in Estes Park in the east to spot wildlife like elk, moose, deer and sheep.

When: The guide is available for download indefinitely.

Details: Access a copy of the guide by registering at the National Park Foundation's website with your name and e-mail address. You'll see other free guides for downloads, such as "Gimme Shelter" about places to camp and "I Heart Parks."

Info: "Winter Wonderlands"

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