There are a total of 63 national parks in the USA, which attract millions of tourists from across the globe annually. The 30 states out of 50 in the US have parks, stretching for millions of acres through arid deserts, crystalline water, lush forests, and icy mountains. Choosing one is undoubtedly a tough task. Hence, we’ve narrowed down some of the best parks in the USA, where you can explore the best of nature.
This blog will keep you scrolling through the best national parks in the USA.
Best National Parks in The USA:
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is spread across an area of 1200 sq miles. Its waterfall-striped granite walls, millennia old giant sequoia trees, unique rock formations, emerald valley and turquoise water inspire a sense of awe and reverence among travelers.
Here lies the rock formations like EI capitan and Half Dome as well as the impressive waterfalls which include Vernal Fall and Bridalveil Fall. However prior permission from the park’s authority is required to reach the summit of Half Dome. Nearly four million visitors wend their way to this one of the oldest California national parks annually and explore its varied landscape and wilderness.
This is not the stop here, if you are a photogenic person looking for views to capture images, this valley will provide you the picturesque lookout spot and showstopping panoramic view.
Whether you wander through the plains or hike the trails, or marvel at its waterfalls, Yosemite National Park is worthy of endless exploration. It also has campsites and lodges for those looking forward to spending the night here.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (some parts in Montana and Idaho)
If you see a diverse landscape of meadows and mountains, and if you cross a herd of bison, elk, buffalo, and even grizzlies as you traverse through the wild trails, and if you see smoke in the air, then you are in Yellowstone National Park. This 3,500 sq mile wilderness, sitting atop a volcanic hotspot in Wyoming is home to unspoiled natural beauty.
You must have read about this national park in your social science book for microbial diversity. The significance of this park does not just lie in the diversity, but also lies in the views it provides to visitors and tourists. Let me tell you this is the park which is known for its hot-springs, providing awe-inspiring natural wonders and the red-tinged canyon wall.
The park shares its land with Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, offering plenty of territory to explore. However, the showstopper is the Old Faithful geyser, which is the world’s largest active geyser, with the eruption lasting between one to five minutes. Another star attraction is Mammoth hot spring. Interestingly, the park has more than 500 geysers, which makes it one of the rich ecosystems that needs to be protected.
Zion National Park, Utah
If you want to discover the dramatic landscapes of contrasting color, this park is for you! Zion is a Utah national park, known for soaring apricot-colored cliffs of the canyon, rising high over the Virgin river. This park has several challenging trails and is ideal for hikers. Experienced hikers prefer trekking through the Narrows that extends for ten miles through the thinnest area. Angels Landing is another marvel with a natural staircase that lets you experience the extreme challenges of the park.
Apart from the hiking trails, the park has tiny grottos, hanging gardens, and meadows of mesa-top wildflowers. If you want to pitch in your tent or park your RV for the night here, make sure to admire millions of stars illuminating in the sky. The view is simply breathtaking.
Moreover, even if you leave Zion, the road trip from the park towards Las Vegas or Salt Lake City is a treat in itself.
Redwood National Park, California
Book a flight to California and explore Redwood National and State Park, another gem with amazing diversity. Here, one can wend their way through the mystical Redwood forest and even walk to the rugged California coastline and if you are lucky, you can spot a pod of whales in the Pacific.
Here you can see a wide variety of forests with “N” number of biological species. It is located just beside the California coast, where you can find gray whales, banana slugs, black bears, Douglas-fir, and sea anemones. However, the park’s most notable feature is Redwood, the world’s tallest trees, where visitors find it impossible to see its top.
This string of protected forests, beaches, and grasslands along the northern California coast, boasts oak woodlands, vast prairies, and diverse wildlife. Hikers hit the Prairie Creek Trail and Trillium Falls trail that leads them through the giant redwood trees.
Unlike other national parks, this park doesn’t draw highway-clogging crowds. Hence, make sure to come here during spring when migratory birds visit the park and bird watchers in large numbers come here to admire them.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon itself is an ultimate destination. More than six million hikers, campers, and explorers annually visit the national park. This enormous chasm in northern Arizona, embodies the sheer scale and splendor of the red and orange grandeur, dusty trails, rugged terrain, and the rich history of the native Americans.
This UNESCO World Heritage site has only expanded for 6 million years; thanks to the river Colorado that flows through it. Its most popular trail is the South Rim, home to Grand Canyon Village and Bright Angel trail. The South Rim is more popular among the hikers and sightseers. While in the village, make sure to visit the rustic railway depot that has contributed to flourishing tourism here.
Hikers hitting the Bright Angel Trail begin their 6 miles long one-way journey from the village. The hike is not challenging. However, the park’s raw and dusty desert climate, rugged, hilly terrain demand a slower pace.
Furthermore, if you are a hard-core hiker and looking for the trail less crowded, the North Rim is just perfect for you. After a challenging ascend and descend, you can spend the night in your camp. At night, the sky over the Grand Canyon illuminates with millions of stars.
If you want to explore this amazing wilderness, book a flight to Arizona.
Glacier Bay National Park, Montana
Glacier Bay National Park is one of the world’s largest protected areas, covering 3.3 million acres and is a part of a 25 million sq mile World Heritage site. This enormous wilderness in Montana’s Rocky mountains is home to glacier-carved peaks and valleys that extends to the Canadian border. His breathtaking geological wonder features 700 lakes, spans two mountain ranges, several waterfalls, and rich wildlife.
The park was declared protected in 1910 during the first American Conservationist Movement. The dense forest surrounding the mountains has preserved the pre-Columbian ecosystem since ages.
The park has several trails, ranging from moderate Cedars trail to challenging Grinnell Glacier. However, it’s mountain road Going-To-the-Sun in the Rocky mountains that offer some of the most breathtaking vistas of the area. This 50-mile drive through the park is a historical landmark of national importance. Moreover, it boasts 740-miles of hiking trails. As you hike through the woods and admire the dramatic landscapes, look out for the grizzlies, who are here in abundance.
Grand Teton National park, Wyoming
The magnificent grandeur of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming has captivated the onlookers since ages. This wild wonderland was once home to ranchers. However, today, it has bears, moose, and elk in abundance and offers 200-miles of trails that beg to be explored. These trails take hikers through prairies, lakes, and jagged, snow-capped peaks of Teton mountains, soaring above Jackson Hole.
Hikers and sightseers prefer the peak summer season to visit this one of the best Wyoming national parks. Apart from the hiking trails, the Snake River of the park encourages kayakers, rafters, fishermen, and floaters. It is also a perfect destination for backcountry camping. The valley itself is a natural marvel. But as you hike up to the mountains, you will be mesmerized by the views of dramatic canyons, sublime alpine forest, and the turquoise lake surrounded by wildflowers.
Autumn visitors to the park can witness the fall foliage of the golden aspen that bright up the valley. Furthermore, if you want to extend your hiking and camping vacation, then travel a few miles north to reach Yellowstne. Emirates Palace Spends A Hefty Sum For Replacing Gold Ceiling Of A Palace.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado, encompasses protected mountains, forests, and alpine tundra. In addition, it is home to a rich wildlife, great backwood trails, and scenic drives that are crammed with RVs in summers. Its Trail Ridge road and the Old Fall River road are popular among the hikers.
Although this national park doesn’t witness large footfalls in comparison to other most frequented parks in the country. But it has its own charm, and soaring Rocky mountains that rise 14,259 feet from Colorado. Hikers travelers through the pine and spruce forests, alpine lakes, and wildflowers to cover its 350-miles of trails. To make your trek exciting, expect to witness a herd of elk and bighorn sheep on your way.
The national park is not just for the hikers. The Keyhole route, a vertical rock that goes to Longs Peak is the tallest mountain here and is an ideal spot for climbers. Once you reach the summit, you will witness the most cherishing 360° views of the park.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
It’s no wonder Hawaii is one of the most-visited destinations in the US. Whether its pristine beaches, the technicolor coral reef, its rich diversity, and a culture different from the rest of the country, Hawaii has a lot to share. But it’s the volcanoes of Hawaii that beckon adventurous souls. To have a close up look at the active volcanoes, make a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to two active volcanoes- Mauna Loa and Kilauea.
The park is home to a thriving rainforest, high-mountain meadows, volcano-induce deserts, coastal plains, diverse flora and fauna, and several other geological marvels. If you are weaving your way to the Kilauea, then you are visiting the world’s youngest and most active volcano. It has been erupting continuously and due to the formation of clouds, gas, and ash, the park may remain closed for a few days. It is better to check the website before planning a trip here.
This 335,259 acres of land is a place of contrasting environment and landscapes that satisfy all kinds of travelers. The thick rainforest surrounding the rugged lava fields and craters is something you may not find anywhere else. And hence while you are here, make the most of your trip. Visit the Halema’uma’u crater, which was enlarged following a seismic activity at Kilauea in 2008.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
This Texas national park has hiking trails, scenic drives, ruins of Sam Nail ranch, and Rio Grande that flows through the Santa Elena canyon. Apart from the trails and dramatic landscapes and drive throughs, it is also a perfect base for stargazing and camping overnight. Due to its location far from the urban lights, and clear sky in the dark night, stargazers pitch in their tent here and admire the millions of stars twinkling above them.
Its another attraction is Ross Maxwell scenic drive that leads you through the ruins of Sam Nail ranch. In addition, take a hike through the trails to get a close up look at the carved canyons that feature steep cliffs, which are photogenic.
The national park encompasses the entire Chisos mountain range and a large part of Chihuahuan desert. As you traverse through Big Bend, you will understand what big looks like. It is almost the size of Rhode Island and is incredibly diverse. Furthermore, it has Langford Hot Springs, known for healing properties and also houses ruins of an old bath house.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Extending along the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is one of the most-frequented US national parks. A heaven for trekkers, this park flaunts several miles of hiking trails including the famous Appalachian trail. Although it is a year-round destination, visitors prefer to come here during Fall to appreciate the park’s golden foliage.
The park has a vast network of trails that offer plenty of room to spread out and experience the ultimate adventure in the woods. Apart from the wildly popular Appalachian trail, the park is also home to scenic Skyline Drive, Shenandoah River Cataracs, and Hawksbill mountain.
The scenic trails of the park are ideal for hiking, biking, and cycling. These trails are lined with wildflowers, mushrooms, berry bushes, and dense forests of red oak, maple, yellow poplar, and chestnut trees. Camping in the park is widely popular. You may also find some good lodges near Appalachian trails. However, if you are planning to pitch your tent, choose the campground near the trail. Don’t venture deep in the forest, as you may not realize when you lose the route back to the trail.
The national parks in the USA are national treasures. Several generations of visitors have explored these natural wonders and even today, its dramatic landscapes are captivating millions of visitors. On an average, four million visitors visit each park annually, which is indeed a huge number. The number shows how these national parks are woven tightly into the fabrics of American culture.