After doing national parks for the last three years I have learned a few things. 1) If you can book reservations do it, and do it early. 2) Hit the visitor Center first thing so you can figure out where you are going and what you are doing. 3) Most importantly, when they hand you the newspaper when you enter the gate, give it a good looking over!
These park newspapers are a huge wealth of info from Ranger talks, to hiking suggestions, to park notices, to maps.
They give you information for the time you will be there and more and they also tell you about the different sights to see. Many of them have the most important or most visited placed laid out based on how long you are there to visit (which was awesome for us).
We also found shower information and learned about laundry facilities.
Outside of the Visitor’s Center, this was the most important thing we had a look at with each visit. In fact, the visitors center often told you all of the things in the newspaper (but I still like to dig for secrets, so it really is worth talking to the folks in the. Visitor’s Center too!).
When you visit a National Park, be sure to read the park newspapers for the best planning of your stay. I also just learned they have many of them online. If you go to the National Park website of your choice and search for “Park newspaper” you can download it ahead of time, and in multiple languages!