Though if you do find yourself in LA en route to Joshua Tree, be sure to check out my Los Angeles travel guide. Denali (Alaska) 6. Best time to visit: Anytime that is not the middle of summer. The park is truly massive (like most protected areas in Alaska), so you should have no problem finding your peace amongst the humbling beauty of Kenai Fjords. This national park is one of the most popular national parks in the US, but for a damn good reason. The dormant (thankfully) Haleakala Volcano lies at the center of the park, whilst the West Maui Mountains dominated the rugged surrounding interior. Yellowstone has massive wilderness areas, so that shouldn’t be too difficult. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the ridge line of the Great Smoky Mountains, is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. From vast variety of plants/tree species to the animals that call the Smokies home; the park is teaming with life. You don’t have to try hard to get away from America’s urbanity and the time-pressured stress that comes with city life. Check in with the National park Service website for up to date details. As a younger American man, I felt like I didn’t really know my own country until I started exploring the national parks. Since 1916, when the National Park Service was created, the United States has preserved wilderness areas within a system overseen by the US Department of the Interior. What time of year will you be visiting? Located surprisingly close to Washington D.C., one can easily escape the city (and its filthy politicians) in a short period of time. There is a sense of remoteness and solitude found here that is absent in the mainland US (with a few exceptions). Wildlife, too, finds refuge in the wild lands in America’s national parks. Granted protection by the U.S. government in 1864, Yosemite and its … The park is famous for its orange-red hoodoo rock formations punctuated by outlying pine forest. Best Time to Visit: All year round normally, but as of July 2018, now is not the time to visit. Best sleeping pads to take backpacking – Your back and weary bones will thank you. Ranier National Park is one of the many gems of the Pacific Northwest region of the USA. National Parks in the USA helps us in conserving endangered species around the world. As of July 2018, the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano continues to dramatically change the landscape of the Big Island. Discover some of the best natural beauty the region has to offer as we take in spots including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited park, and the awe-inspiring Mammoth Cave National … Mammoth Caves is the longest known cave system in the world, with roughly 400 miles that have been explored and mapped. Yosemite National Park is one of the oldest parks spanning portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in Northern California, covering 747,956 acres of land. It is truly magnificent. Denali may be one of Alaska’s most popular national parks, but it is certainly worth traveling too. I deeply love my country’s national parks. Also, read about largest states in the USA. A must-read for anyone who loves rock climbing and adventure sports. Explore the great outdoors at one of America's can't-miss national parks. There are no two ways about it, 2020 has been an absolute disaster. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is home to the oldest mountains in the US and draws more visitors than any other national parks in the country. Glacier National Park spread over 1 million acres and includes parts of two mountain ranges and that are sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains. There is plenty of accommodation near Zion. Acadia is one of the oldest designated national park area, east of the Mississippi River. It takes some effort to get here, but once you do, it is bound to be the backpacking trip of a lifetime. Take in the bubbly sulphuric hot pools (don’t try to swim whatever you do). According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), largest national park in the world is the Northeast Greenland National Park. Yosemite National Park. Life on Hawaii’s Big Island might sound dreamy as hell on the surface — and in many ways, it is — though as recent events have shown us, all hell can break loose at a moment’s notice. Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah This state park in southeast Utah has drawn comparisons to the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Towering pinnacles of sandstone jut up into an endless desert sky. There are enough backcountry trails to keep you busy for a lifetime. There is documented evidence of Native American habitation of the area dating back at least 10,ooo years. Such is life. Yosemite is defined by its almost impossibly large walls of granite; the result of millennia of glaciation and erosion. I love this park because it reflects an America that once was: wild, untamed, radically beautiful, and isolated. Choosing the right backpack – Your backpack is good. Dramatic desert landscapes take over all of your senses from the moment you step foot in the park. Meanwhile, the Snake River appeals to kayakers, rafters and those who simply fancy a float; historic districts like Menor’s Ferry and Mormon Row attract history buffs interested in the 19th-century past of this piece of Western Frontier. Glacier N.P. Shenandoah National park is simply the pride of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is not to be missed if you find yourself in this part of the USA. Endangered species like wolverines and Canadian lynxes inhabit the park. Much respect…. That’s because it’s quite the feat traveling to all 59 National Parks… Hordes of people seeking a holiday in the great outdoors choose to stay in the Smoky Mountains every year. Wales expel water from their blow holes in unexpected bursts. It is on this side that you’ll find the most amenities. For many of America's national parks, the winter season is the best time to visit, when cold temperatures bring a fresh look to our nation's most beautiful landscapes. Plan a trip to one of the best national parks in the USA, like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, to see some of the most scenic places on earth. In addition to the huge trees, rugged peaks, sunshine-filled canyons, awesome hiking trails, and abundant wildlife… the cave systems are something unto themselves. Evidence of a past Native American presence can be found throughout the park. Plus, travelers that want to tick off another national park on the same vacation can travel the few miles north to Yellowstone, which adjoins Grand Teton (you’ll save roughly $10 on combined admission if you choose to visit both parks. For me, the feeling one gets when you are standing in a grove of ancient Sequoias must be close to something like attaining enlightenment. This 145-year-old National Park is covered with pristine lakes and dramatic peaks. This. Don’t try to do too much! Established, in 1980, Kenai Fjords is a relatively new national park. I know. Grand Teton National Park home to Wyoming’s majestic Teton Mountains. Yellowstone is basically one giant pressure cooker. Great lava rivers are still flowing as of this moment. Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs. This is primarily due to its relative proximity to many east coast states. Are you just sticking to day hikes? Check out all the places seen in this video: The USA is a really big place. Yosemite. Watching the sunrise cast its shade over the crimson-colored walls of the canyons is a surreal experience. Miles of desolate peaks, rivers, lakes, coastline, and raw tundra seem to flow together in a never-ending sprawl. Whether you want to hike, ski, or float the snake river with a beer in hand, there is something for every backpacker in Grand Teton National Park. Bottom line, this place is an important ecological treasure. Once you stand at the base of El Capitan, you can not fully fathom how Alex Honnold climbed it without a rope in under 4 hours. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. All rights reserved. It is located in the Swain and Haywood counties of North Carolina, along with Sevier, Blount and Cocke counties in Tennessee, US. There is some excellent skiing and winter-related sports to be had here too. Towering right above Jackson Hole Valley with jagged snow-topped peaks approximately covers 310,000 acres of land. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The photographer’s playground. Towering slabs of sticky granite towering 3,000 feet above the valley floor. The rivers are teaming with trout. The fisherman’s dream. is a treat to the eyes and to the soul. Dry Tortugas National Park is part of the Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve, established by UNESCO in 1976. The sheer number of trails and wildlife-watching opportunities may seem daunting at first but one can always come back. This is a land of immense power and staggering volcanic beauty. Bryce Canyon is a top national park filled with microclimates primarily due to the vast elevation differences found throughout. One of the best parts of the park is when you get high up on a ridge above the tree line. Close, Chris Lininger is a writer, photographer, and guide from California. Dry Tortugas National Park is an ecological wonder located at the very bottom of the Florida Keys. Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement. National Parks in the USA 1. Yellowstone might just be the most famous park in my best national parks in the USA list. There’s plenty of accommodation near Yosemite. If you’re planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, check out these awesome treehouses, cabins and lodges in Tennessee! Home » North America » USA » Best National Parks in the USA (2020). Top 10 Attractions in Yosemite National Park, 10 Most Naturally Beautiful Countries In The World, Top 10 Amazing Natural Swimming Pools In The World, 15 Facts About Antarctica You didn’t Know, Six Reasons you Should try Solo Traveling at Least Once in Your Life, 10 great UK Staycation Benefits for Those who Usually Holiday Abroad. Bryce Canyon … Yes, the USA has its huge cities and historic towns, but the vast majority of the country still consists of rugged mountain ranges, empty deserts and deep forests. Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Best Time to Visit: Winter, Spring, and Fall. Rivers and epic... #2 Sequoia National Park. The Site is dedicated to providing facts and information for the knowledge and entertainment purpose. The centerpiece of the 229-square-mile park is Zion Canyon, which runs up to 15 miles long and dives up to half a mile (depth), cutting through the rust and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The Late Precambrian rocks that are part of the Ocoee Supergroup, are the dominating feature of this park. Arches National Park is a US National Park located in eastern Utah. It is humbling to be in the presence of some of the oldest living creatures on earth. One of the tourist attractions in California, Yellowstone National Park is a land of 2.2... 2. First things first. Closest Big City: Los Angeles (Ontario and Palm Springs airports are closer), Best Time to Visit: Spring, Fall, and Winter. is. This travel guide will help you get to grips with 25 of the best national parks in the USA. It is no wonder 3 million visitors a year come to Zion National Park. Shenandoah National Park is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains: one of my favorite places in the whole country. Experts estimate that when the “supervolcano” that Yellowstone National park sits on top of erupts, it will likely be the most devastating natural event in US history. Camp out under the desert stars as the creatures of the desert come out of their daytime retreats. Why not get a quote from them yourself? Kindly share and do post your comments. Also Read: 10 Most Naturally Beautiful Countries In The World. MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent review – My favorite backpacking tent on the market. I’ll just say it here: fuck Donald Trump for opening up this ecological wonder to oil drilling and extraction. Originally, inhabited by the Wabanaki people, it was discovered in the year 1604 by Samuel de Champlain. The lowest elevation scales 3,666 feet at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 feet at Horse Ranch Mountain. Whilst trekking through the marshland, keep an eye out for moose! There is arguably no other country on our gorgeous planet where you can you find such a deep level of staggering beauty, diversity, and outdoor adventure potential that is reflected in the American national parks—really there is every type of landscape imaginable — and each one is totally epic in its own way too. In winter, … The ongoing volcanism fuels half of the world’s geothermal features located amidst this National Park. They represent the finest that America has to offer. Located in the U.S. state of Montana, on the Canada–United States border with the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park itself is quite large, making up a total area of more than 500,000 acres of protected land. A little morbid maybe, but super interesting and entertaining. Surprisingly, GSM is the most visited national park in the US. The US is home to 58 national parks, all filled with breathtaking landscapes and rampant narrowing this list down to 10 was difficult. The National Park inhabits numerous plant species, as well as, 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park’s four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata, the mountains of Glacier National Park began forming. A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is bound to be a mind-blowing experience. Both are VERY dangerous to humans. Do your part to help keep them clean and beautiful and always practice leave no trace principles when camping or trekking in the backcountry. Spot sea turtles, sharks, manta rays, and a multitude of other wildlife creatures by day, and sip rum on the beach by night. Get to know some of the top national parks in America in greater detail through some of these fantastic reads: The Backpacker Bible â€” Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building an online income. It is one of the incredible national parks in the USA. Over the last ten years, I have crisscrossed the country multiple times getting to know some of the very best national parks in the USA. Mostly forested, the park is home to soggy wetlands, murky rivers, crisp waterfalls and craggy peaks like Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains. The South Rim- home to the Grand Canyon village and the well-worn Bright Angel Trail, is particularly popular among sightseers and hikers. That said, there are literally millions of acres that are untamed and uninhabited. Is America a safe place? Natural elements and time have gouged out some truly spectacular natural bridges and rock formations here. Arches truly is a red-rock wonderland. The turquoise waters of the Colorado River strike a great contract with the orange and red shades of the Canyon walls. The fall colors here are truly incredible. This part of the USA is very rich in cultural heritage. That is what Glacier is about. The park can be very busy in the summer, though escaping the crowds is easy if you explore the interior of the park on foot. For more inspiration, check out these epic USA road trip itineraries: Great Smoky Mountains National park is certainly one of the most important national parks in the USA. Zion National Park named after the Hebrew word “refuge”, nestles in the Southwestern United States, near Springdale, Utah. A very important book told from a fantastic perspective. Rainer National Park is prone to be very green throughout the year. A hiker’s paradise. There are lifetimes worth of hiking and exploring to be done here. Check in the NPS before setting off to explore. It is not difficult to see why Hawaii Volcanoes is one of the best national parks in the USA. Hopefully, the drilling will cease before too much damage is done. It is one of the most beautiful national parks in the USA. For more inspiration, check out What’s in my backpack? Save the world, one backpack at a time. The trails weave through impressive slot canyons, hidden swimming holes, and jaw-dropping landscapes. Required fields are marked *. The artistic touch of mother nature has left Bryce Canyon with one of the most iconic landscapes in America. One of the tourist attractions in California, Yellowstone National Park is a land of 2.2 million acres spread across the U.S. States of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. As a UN World Heritage Site and international biosphere reserve, Mammoth Caves is one of the most unique national parks in the USA. If you like mountain biking or rock climbing, Joshua Tree is perfect for that. Mt Rainer is the park’s highest peak (5th largest in the USA, excluding Alaska) at 14,400 feet. This unincorporated area in Coconino and Mohave counties, received nearly 6 million rec recreational visitors in 2016, which is the second highest in all of U.S. after Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you find yourself this far north in Alaska, congratulations! Most of the attraction of the park lies below the surface of the land or the surface of it anyway. Best Time to Visit: Summer (expect basically 24 hours of daylight). Steam vents, lava rivers, jaw-dropping coastline all make up the draw to these landscapes straight out of middle earth. Need helping finding a place to stay? Canyonlands is up there with the most epically beautiful desert national parks in the USA for sure. I really love John Muir, ok. Desert Solitaire — A very moving autobiographical work of Edward Abbey, considered the Thoreau of the American West, and his passion for the southwestern wilderness. Smoky Mountain National Park is is a biodiversity powerhouse. Every year without fail, some aloof tourist is sent to the hospital due to general stupidity and lack of common sense. Our National Parks — John Muir’s classic collection of wonderful sketches and descriptions of the national parks of America. From high mountain lakes to pristine rivers in the valley below, Grand Teton National Park is a feast for those who love the mountains. It is one of the largest fauna, thus, being one of the most popular in the Continental United States. Closest Major City: There is no major city close by, but there are still plenty of large towns to stay in near Yellowstone. Check out these convenient places to stay near the Grand Canyon. Hike along the gorgeous Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. National Parks have been created all around the world with a sole purpose of preserving our ecosystem. Do you plan on taking a national park road trip? Be sure to get out into the wilds of the park. Mt. We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico) 8. Enjoy hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, home to five out of the ten largest trees in the world. Alone on the Wall — Alone on the Wall recounts the seven most astonishing achievements of Alex Honnold’s extraordinary life and career, brimming with lessons on living fearlessly, taking risks, and maintaining focus even in the face of extreme danger. The park’s greatest attraction, the 275-foot-tall General Sherman tree, is the largest tree in the world. You don’t have to be the most famous park to make it onto my best national parks in the USA list. It might be a fair bet to say that more locals or at least Pacific Northwest locals visit Mt. Sounds pretty damn good. Comment document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a22ea7adcad137263acafca4f63b7c11" );document.getElementById("bb6136472c").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Note: Not all of these national parks are in states bordering the west coast, but rather grouped in the west coast national parks category because they are generally located in the western United States. Sequoia National Park situated in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States, established on September 25, 1890. As the natural effects of erosion take over, more and more arches are toppling over every year. Zion is filled with rich history, biological diversity, and plenty of “wow”. Roads have been destroyed. The Gates of the Arctic National Park is a treasure of the world. The wet, foggy climate of Washington state means that Mt. From beautifully rugged mountain terrain to amazing marine wonderlands, the parks of the USA’s southern states are a sight to behold. Basically, they are spire/pillar-shaped rock formations jutting out from the canyon floor. You might half expect a wooly mammoth to stumble out of the bush. In Gates of the Arctic National Park, the highlights all center around hunting, fishing, backpacking and climbing in the wilderness areas. Alaska is America’s final frontier. Considered to be the world’s largest intact ecosystem in the northern temperate zone, Old Faithful Geyser is one of the most famous in the world. The landscapes are dramatic and the rewards of in-depth exploration are endless. Early Precambrian rocks are the oldest rocks in the Raven Fork Valley and upper Tuckasegee River between Cherokee and Bryson City. Whilst internationally, Shenandoah National Park might not be super famous, it is still one of the best national parks in the USA. Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming Winter celebrations should include the beginning of America's National Park System upon the protection of this park in March 1872. When it comes to National Parks in the northeastern corner of the US, Acadia sits atop the throne. One of America's most popular national parks is Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. The alpine lakes and associated scenery are truly breathtaking. Glacier National Park is a biosphere reserve, a World Heritage Site, and one of the world’s first international peace parks, in addition to being a US National Park. Everglades National Park is one of the most biologically diverse destinations on my best national parks in the USA list. My First Summer in the Sierra is Muir’s account of his adventures and observations while working as a shepherd in the Yosemite Valley, which later became Yosemite National Park as a direct result of Muir’s writings and activism. Will you be setting off into the wilderness for a multi-day backpacking trip? I’d say that Everglades National Park is best explored by boat, as hiking in the “backcountry” here is not an easy endeavor. From the deserts of California to the coral reefs of the Virgin Islands, from the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains to subarctic Alaska, the spectrum of America’s ha… Plus, the blanket of stars that illuminates the night sky is a welcome nightcap to a day filled with active pursuits. The grandeur of the park is hard to put into words. The park features a vast network of hiking trails including a section of the long-distance Appalachian Trail. There are no maintained trails within the park wilderness areas, but beaches, recently deglaciated areas, and alpine meadows offer excellent hiking. That said, there are a few awesome hiking trails here too. Blessed with 8 million square acres of uninhabited wilderness, the adventure possibilities here are endless. Love hiking and photography? Yellowstone National park is home to a variety of large mammal species. Being that Glacier National Park is in the far reaches of Northern Montana, it receives a fraction of the visitors Yellowstone does. There are no established trails in the backcountry FYI. Best Time to Visit: Mid-Spring, Summer, and Early Fall. If you only have a week or two, I recommend not biting off more than you can chew. Of which, Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest highly-elevated lakes in the North of America, flowing right above the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano of the continent. Explore the most popular national parks in United States of America with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Located in the south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Rainer than tourists, which totally changes the feeling of a national park. Obviously, the more time you have to explore the top American national parks, the better. Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home. Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee, North Carolina) 7. Let me list out 10 best National Parks in the USA. Zion (Utah) 5. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best national parks in the USA because of its awe-inspiring mountains. Do you need travel insurance when you visit? Even if you’re only going for a short time, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Famous for its imposing granite monoliths, incredible waterfalls that can transform into natural phenomena and glacier-carved valleys, Yosemite National Park in California is one of the most … My First Summer in the Sierra — Another important book by John Muir. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular US national parks, one of our biggest tips for … This group comprises of metamorphosed sandstones, phyllites, schists, and slate. If the Grand Canyon were a book, it would be the geological story detailing millions of years. Don’t know where to base yourself? However, for a true escapist experience, head to the North Rim. It has 130 lakes along with 1,000 types of plants and approximately hundred types of animals. Acadia is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails that take you through marshland, forests, mountains, and wave-battered coastal stretches. America’s National Parks – Ranked Best to Worst Most articles ranking America’s National Parks are based on other people’s impressions and not necessarily from the experience of the author. How to choose a backpacking stove – If you want to save money and eat well at camp, you need a stove. Due to its close proximity to Kings Canyon Nation Park and Yosemite National Park, you can really pack a lot in between these three parks if you only have four or five days to explore. Made famous by James Franco’s self-amputation in the movie 127 Hours, Canyonlands is an adventurer’s wonderland. Please come here and experience it for yourself. The world-famous Delicate Arch certainly won’t be around forever. The great thing is, however, very few, if any of the cruise people ever set foot any reasonable distance inside the park. However, different nations used to designate their national parks differently but there lies a common idea of preserving wildlife for posterity. The Grand Canyon valued for its combination of size, depth and exposed layers of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times. Thinking about visiting a bunch of national parks across the USA in one go? But nature has a way of protecting itself. On foot, you can explore paths that Native Americans used for countless generations. Don’t be so foolish and selfie-greedy that you get within a few feet of the buffalo just to take a good picture. Whatever you want to call it Grand Teton National Park has got it all. A backpacking trip here is bound to be the adventure of a lifetime. Best National Parks in the USA: West Coast, Best National Parks in the USA: East Coast, How to choose the right tent to take backpacking, accommodation options near Joshua Tree NP, tourist that gets seriously injured or killed by a buffalo, treehouses, cabins and lodges in Tennessee, General Sherman (the largest tree in the world), Trail Ridge Road (highest paved road in the US). Most of the national park remains closed due to volcano danger/damage. Yellowstone (Wyoming) — Yellowstone is the first place to be called a “National Park” in the entire world. Help keep them clean and beautiful and always carry a good map with you! ] wildflower in... 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