America’s 62 National Parks have been described as “Our Best Idea,” and they encompass over 52.2 million acres of protected lands. With stunning vistas, phenomenons of nature, and a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat, the parks are just waiting to be enjoyed. While a majority are located in the west, they can be found countrywide, and they also include monuments and historic homes. The parks represent the best of America, both beauty and history. Here is a list of ten unforgettable ones you should make sure you get to visit.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park covers nearly 77,000 acres in eastern Utah and is breathtaking as you walk, hike, and climb through the over 2000 uniquely shaped sandstone formations and monuments. The most popular formations to explore are Delicate Arch, Double Arch, and Landscape Arch.
Bryce Canyon is located in the southwestern portion of Utah on an eroded escarpment of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, Bryce Canyon is a rare sight to see with its dozen horseshoe-shaped canyons and whimsical formations of limestone rock. Formed by erosion and rain, over millions of years, you will have a blast exploring the slot canyons, windows, and the tall, skinny spires called hoodoos. Bryce Canyon is home to the most hoodoos in the world!
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in northern Montana near the Canadian border. When visiting, make sure to drive on the “Going to the Sun” road, one of the country’s prettiest drives. The glacial peaks and valleys it is named after are stunning, and with over 700 miles of hiking trails, you can really get out in nature. And if you are looking to spot grizzly bears, this is a good place to find them, so bring that bear spray.
The Grand Canyon is located in northwestern Arizona. The Canyon leaves visitors awestruck as they look out and realize it was formed over millions of years by the Colorado River. It wove its way through, leaving behind beautiful bands of rock in various colors carving a trench 1 mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. There are many ways to enjoy its beauty, from helicopter rides, rafting, biking, hiking, or just staring in awe from the famed South Rim.
Grand Teton is located in Wyoming, where those famous snow-capped peaks rise 7,000 feet. With 6 lakes and the Snake River, the beauty is magnified as the perfectly proportioned peaks are reflected in the clean water. At over 300,000 acres, there is plenty to explore on your own or with one of the many offered tours.
Olympic National Park
This bio-diverse park is found in the state of Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. It is home to several different ecosystems, including old-growth forests and rainforests, beaches, and even glaciers. With some of the country’s best hiking trails, it is a great place to explore and enjoy all it has to offer. The rainforest found here is the only one in the contiguous United States, and its shocking greenness will blow you away.
Yellowstone is mostly situated in Wyoming and has over 3,500 miles of land, making it ideal for getting out in nature. Sitting on a volcano hot spot, Yellowstone is famous for its hot springs and 500 geysers, including Old Faithful, which erupts 20 times a day. Yellowstone is home to many animals, including elk, antelope, bison, wolves, and grizzly bears.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is located in central California and holds some of America’s most breathtaking sites, including El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome. Although it consists of over 1,200 square miles, most of the main sites are in Yosemite Valley, and you can reach many stunning viewpoints by car. Of course, there are plenty of hiking trails as well, and the massive waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, wildlife sights, and sounds will be remembered long after your visit.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is located just south of Yosemite and contains some of the oldest and largest trees on the planet. It puts a lot of things into perspective to be standing in a grove of these 3200-year-old beauties as they tower over you, and you realize they have survived all nature can throw at them for thousands of years, plus the hand of man. And because they are protected, they will continue to stand long after you have left the earth.
Sequoias only grow in a few areas in the world, and America is lucky to have the largest and finest collection of them. The park’s hiking trails can be either short strolls among the trees or longer hikes back into more remote parts of the park.
These ten are just scratching the surface of the beauty that is out there waiting to be discovered. It’s time to hit the road and explore all the beauty just waiting to be discovered by you!