Eugene Cho

your favorite national park?

As most of you know, Minhee and I – and our three kids (12, 10, and 8 ) are driving about 7000 miles around the country (mostly around the West and Midwest) for our sabbatical. We’re loosely making things up as we go along – which is both very adventurous and very stressful. But one of my hopes is to show my family – especially our urban kids – the amazing beauty of this country.

During my younger and single days, I drove through every single state in the Mainland U.S. and attempted to visit every single national park. I was pretty close.

While we won’t be able to visit every state or every park, my goal for our sabbatical road trip is to visit a handful of them. We were recently able to spend several hours at one of my favorite national parks, Arches National Park. It’s definitely in my top 3 if not my favorite. While you’re not able to see much wildlife, there’s something about the rocks and the dizzying shades of light that’s throughout the park including numerous spots and “caves” where it’s probably about 20-30 degrees cooler that the area temperature.

This country is so amazing and beautiful so here’s a simple question – both for my curiosity and for our planning:

What’s your favorite national park and why?
Any you’d like to recommend?

Here are some pics from our visit to Arches National Park:

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21 Responses

  1. Matt K says:

    I love the southwest. I went through Zion, Bryce, and capitol reef over a period of 6 or so days. I wish I could’ve spent 6 in each. I still think those are my favorite.
    Short trek away from Arches (relatively speaking)… hope you & your family are enjoying your time!

  2. jeff says:

    Eugene –

    There are several wonderful ones we have enjoyed over the years. Yosemite and Yellowstone are both great. We also enjoy Garden of the gods in Colorado Springs, CO. Very similar to Arches, only on a smaller scale. If you are near Lake Superior the Apostle Islands are absolutely beautiful. If you need a rustic respit from the travels and want to stay in a RUSTIC cabin away from civilization in Northern Wisconsin for a few days e-mail me. You could stay at ours for free. Its on a beautiful (though small) lake. Enjoy the journey.

    ~ Jeff

  3. dkzody says:

    Driving 7000 miles just makes me want to crawl in a hole. I hate auto trips. Prefer to fly and then stay in one place for awhile. I am not a good tourist.

  4. Tyler says:

    I’ve been to Yosemite and thought the whole package of the park was as beautiful as anything I’ve seen. Grand Teton National Park was just as beautiful. But neither compares to Crater Lake National Park. Nothing compares really.

  5. I’m a Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) fan since I live by it and it’s so beautiful. However, my favorite of the many that I’ve visited is Acadia National Park in Maine. Such a different place. So amazing. God got it right with that area. Well, O.K., He always gets it right.

  6. Dale Best says:

    Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia Nat’l Parks are gorgeous! Take your family to hike Half Dome in Yosemite … an experience you don’t forget…

  7. myyellowbike says:

    I’ll go with Yellowstone, it’s got all the wildlife, Old Faithful, it’s near the Grand Tetons and Jacksonhole in the Wyoming part and those are some very beautiful rocky mountains as well, National Park there too I think and that is very green and lush, it’s like the Swiss Alps. I could go local myself but Yellowstone is one of the best known along with I am sure, the Grand Canyon. They all must have their charms though. Going to the East, if you ever see the Smokey Mountains, those are beautiful too. They are all listed here. I think too, there are other National Monuments or something, different.

  8. Chrystal says:

    Arches is one of my favourites….glad you enjoyed it!! I don’t know of anything that can compare with Bryce at sunrise or sunset. The colours are amazing!! The Grand Tetons park is just stunningly beautiful. Mesa Verde is southwest Colorado rounds out my top three. Not only is the high desert geography lovely and serene, the experience of hiking through the ancient pueblo ruins is completely unique. Enjoy!!

  9. Rob says:

    The Tetons are fantastic. A few miles from Yellowstone, but empty. It is not a national park, but the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming is beautiful. Enjoy the national parks, especially Arches. Thank you for your words at the Feast. I count it a privilege to have heard you preach. Enjoy the Sabbath.

  10. Dave Lindsay says:

    Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place for a family to visit. The eastern entrance is from the quaint city of Estes Park where there are hotels, shops, great munchies, a lake in the mountains, and go-kart rides. The park has big horn sheep on the mountains plus herds of elk and even some moose. Trail Ridge road is open in the summer allowing you to drive at over 12,000 feet to the Alpine Visitors Center. Chances are that snowbanks will still be there near the lodge which you can lay in and make snow angels on a warm summer day.


  11. Annie says:

    Oh, this brings back wonderful memories. Along with the Grand Canyon, my favorite national park is Bryce, Olympic, Shenendoah, Smoky Mountain, Everglades, and Acadia.
    Yes, I know that’s more than one, but how could you begin to choose? It’s like asking which child is your favorite.

  12. myyellowbike says:

    Garden of the Gods? Might as well go with Carlsbad Caverns!

    Wisconsin, go to the Dells, those are beautiful but not a National Park that I know of.

    I love Crater Lake but Yellowstone has Mooses and Bears, I like the wildlife too.

    Big Thicket is something in Texas, maybe just a wildlife reserve.

  13. Carol Lynn says:

    Beautiful pics!

    Arches is definitely my favorite so far, as well. I grew up in Grand Junction CO, just over the border from Moab, and I have many fond memories of taking short road trips out to Arches and Dead Horse Point. I miss it…

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

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Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
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I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
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I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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