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Top Five by the National Parks

The Golf: Lake Powell National Golf Course, Page, AZ (520-645-2023). Architect: William Phillips, 1995. Yardage: 7,064. Green Fees: $52.50-$62.50. Windy, open layout beneath desert light. The course winds around and on top of Manson Mesa offering views of red-rock formations and Lake Powell. Lodging: Courtyard by Marriott (520-645-5000) or rent a houseboat at Wahweap Lodge & Marina (800-528-6154).

4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC and TN (865-436-1200). Ninety-five percent of the park's eight hundred square miles of mountain terrain are forested. Hike to waterfalls, fish for trout in pristine streams. Two of ten campgrounds are open year-round. LeConte Lodge, at 6,593 feet, is accessible only by foot (800-336-2463).

The Golf: Hound Ears Club, Blowing Rock, NC (828-963-4321). Architects: George Cobb, 1964, and Tom Jackson, 1970. Yardage: 6,327. Green Fees: $60-$78. A feisty mountain-resort course, especially beautiful in autumn. Lodging: Hound Ears Club Lodge (828-963-4321).

5. Yosemite National Park, Yosemite, CA (209-372-1000). Encompassing mountains, valleys, and some of the best granite rock-climbing walls in the world, Yosemite is also home to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Rock-climb, mountaineer (Mount Lyell peaks at just over 13,000 feet) or hike to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Thirteen campgrounds (800-436-7275) and several lodges (559-252-4848). The Ahwahnee Hotel, with its granite faces, stone hearths and massive beamed ceilings may be the toniest park lodge in the United States.

The Golf: Wawona Hotel Golf Course, Wawona, CA (209-375-6572). Architect: Walter Fovargue, 1917. Yardage: 3,035. Green Fees: $13.75 (nine holes); $22 (eighteen holes). This is your only opportunity to play a golf course inside a national park. Tour the nine-hole layout twice to remember all the boulders, ponderosa pines and incense cedar. Lodging: Try the Wawona Hotel, a National Historic Landmark (559-252-4848).


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