Your guide to the best national parks in the USA!
There are 63 national parks to visit in the USA, providing lots of possibilities for exploration. We’ve compiled a list of the top 12 national parks in the United States for your next exploration trip.
These are rich with a diverse and colourful landscape that stretches for hundreds of kilometres and species and fauna that provide adventure.
We go through the top 12 national parks in the United States and why you should visit them!
1. Olympic National Park, Washington
Number of Visitors(2021) : 2.72 Million
Olympic National park consists of wild shorelines and mountainous and old-growth forests. If it’s something you’ve been planning on doing, it’s possible to go into Olympic Park as pictured above and see the sights.
Along the coast, there are beach walks and water activities. Inland, old-growth forests invite hiking trails that wind among grass-trimmed trees. Olympic National Park is a popular day trip from Seattle but less than two hours from the city centre.
The Olympic National park was established in 1938 and is a jewel of the United States. It is situated on an isolated peninsula with natural wonders exposed to the sun or snow. With a wild coastline spanning 70 miles, this park has it all: alpine lakes, snowy hiking trails, and massive ice glacier towers.
This magnificent national park spans roughly a million acres across the Olympic Peninsula. The park is 95 per cent federally designated wilderness, making it one of the country’s biggest wilderness regions.
It is one of the few parks where whale watching is popular. There’s something for everyone here!
Top attractions in Olympic National Park: Hoh Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, Ruby Beach, and Mount Olympus.
2. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Number of Visitors(2021): 3.89 Million
The Grand Teton National Park System was founded in 1929 in northwest Wyoming’s ridge ranges. There are several hiking trails.
This park is known for its beautiful splendour and unusual biodiversity due to its elevation of 13,775 feet above sea level.
Jackson Hole Valley, String Lake, Jackson Lake, rich animals, and the beautiful Teton Range are the primary attractions of Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are both in Wyoming and are 31 miles apart.
They are both parts of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wildlife, vegetation, and range are all different.
Top Attractions in Grand Teton national park: Jenny Lake, Jackson Hole, Jackson Lake Lodging, Hidden Falls, National Elk Refuge, Signal Mountain.
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Number of Visitors(2021): 4.86 Million
Yellowstone possesses unique geologic features. The biggest attractions include the bouncing clay pots and colourful pools. Yellowstone National Park boasts a vast geyser and thermal collection.
Yellowstone covers more than two million hectares and is not limited to thermal activities. The park hosts a flock of bison, and these large beasts are easily accessible via park roadways.
If you are camping near Yellowstone, you may hear wolf sounds. Yellowstone National Forest stretches across Wyoming, but some parts also extend to Montana, Idaho, and Alaska.
This is the oldest and most popular park in the United States, established in 1872. With its incredible features and attractions, Yellowstone National Park is a must-see destination.
With wolves in Lamar Valley, grizzly bears in the forest, and bison roaming the meadows, it’s a beautiful setting with the vast American West theme. One of the most unique aspects of this location is that it is situated on top of a geothermal hotspot, making it home to the world’s biggest concentration of geysers.
The US national park system has 1,010 mining claims across the system. The top attractions are Yellowstone Lake, Upper Yellowstone River Falls, Mammoth Hot Springs, Morning Glory Pool, Old Faithful, and Grand prismatic spring. The Grand Teton Mountains, which provide several hiking trails, are located here.
Top Attraction: Yellowstone Lake, Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, Caldera, Upper Falls of Yellowstone River
4. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Number of Visitors(2021): 2.4 million
The peaks are snowcapped, and the active volcano is 14410 feet tall and covers 369 square kilometres of protected territory, and Mount Rainier National Park is a unique and spectacular National Park.
It takes the ordinary person a couple of days to visit at various times to see all the city’s beauty. Mount Rainier is renowned for its amazing Reflective Lakes like Tipsoo and Reflection Lakes.
Mount Rainier National Park is also known as Tahoma, Washington’s tallest peak. On the volcano, there are approximately 25 glaciers, all of which may be seen from the Wonderland Trail.
This is the most glaciated mountain on the planet right now. This national park offers a stunning wilderness, old-growth trees, and hiking trails.
Summer is the greatest season to visit Mount Rainier National Area since the weather is pleasant and the park displays vibrant colours.
Did you know?
The mountain is an active volcano that last erupted 150 years and was sculpted by ice and glaciers.
Top Attractions in Mount Rainier National Park: Mowich Lake, Mount Rainier, Crystal Mountain, Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center, Skyline Trail, Christine Falls
5. Yosemite National Park, California
Number of Visitors(2021): 3.29 million
Yosemite is known for its famous natural attractions and its unique culture. Half Dome and Capitano Yosemite Falls will permanently enliven Yosemite in your memories and breathtaking drives to beautiful views on hikes that lead to falling waters and giant sequoia trees.
Yosemite National Park covers 1200 acres, with most of the main attractions within Yosemite Valley. It may be possible to cause traffic problems with four million visitors annually. For an unforgettable trip, try camping in Yosemite. Please make the reservation very early.
Yosemite National Park, created in 1871, is one of California’s most famous national parks. Yosemite Valley, the park’s most famous feature, is its waterfalls. With vistas that are well worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.
The breathtaking natural grandeur that can be seen here is amazing. River rafting, fishing, horseback riding, and other activities are available. El Capitan, one of the most demanding and difficult rock climbs globally, is located here.
Top Attractions in Yosemite national park: Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Vernal Falls.
6. Death Valley National Park, California
Number of Visitors(2021): 1.1 million
The lowest point on Earth can be found at Death Valley. It only starts with the amazing things you can discover here. These heat swept valleys are dotted with fantastic walks and views. The harshness of Death Valley is arguably part of that attraction that draws visitors.
Death Valley is one of Las Vegas’s most enjoyable days out, just 2 hours from the hotel. The park has a variety of interesting sights to see. In such an unsettling location, spring wildflowers are among the surprise. Catch it right, and it’ll transform the deserted ground into colour.
As the largest national park in the contiguous at over 1.6 million acres, it is known for its extremes. Air temperature is the hottest with the harshest landscape on the planet. The air is the hottest globally, and the environment is the roughest.
The many ecosystems inside it include tall dunes, a profusion of life, and stunning natural wonders. It is a recognised dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association, making it a world-class location for astronomy. It is also one of the most visited US national parks.
Top attractions in Death Valley National Park: Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Dante’s View, Telescope Peak, and Darwin Falls.
7. Glacier National Park, Montana
Number of Visitors(2021): 3 million
Glacier National Park in northern Montana is home to majestic mountain peaks, glittering blue lakes, and expansive green forest. It is located on the western border of Canada and is managed jointly in partnership with Canada’s Water Lake national park.
Glacier National Park offers a spectacular panoramic road that runs through the skies. Built over the years in the 1920s, the route opened in 1933 and was an engineering marvel. Approximately 50 miles of roads cross the Continental Divide and provide beautiful views in every direction. On the highway, there are impressive walking trails.
This beautiful national park is in northeastern Montana and stretches to Canada. The term for these combination of parks that gives the greatest views is “Crown of the Continent.” Glacier has a two-million-year-old topography. You can’t miss the experience it delivers, which dates to 1910 and spans over 700 miles.
Drive over Going-to-the-Sun Road, which connects the park’s eastern and western ends and provides access to various trailheads and vistas along the route when you arrive at the park. Glaciers formed the region, as the name implies, and 25 of them remain today.
It was named a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve in 1976, and the international peace park was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, thanks to its magnificent scenery.
Top attractions in Glacier national park: Swiftcurrent lake, Lake McDonald, Grinnell Glacier, Sun Road, Avalanche Lake.
8. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, California
Number of Visitors(2021): 1.2 Million
Both parks contain the oldest tree species in this region. Some parks may be best known for their hiking and camping but being close to an ancient tree is unique for the entire family.
In the case of humans, there is a sense of freedom in imagining if there were no humans on the planet or nature. This huge tree grows to this size only around certain areas of the globe, and America is fortunate to have the best collection of them all.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are approximately 4 hours from either California. Both parks provide trail walking, some just short walks along with this ancient giant.
The sequoia trees and other surroundings and sceneries of Sequoia National Park are well-known. This wooded region was created in 1890 to safeguard large tree groves, some over 4000 years old.
High mountains and deep valleys abound in this large park. One of the reasons this is a popular park is the gigantic sequoias. The General Sherman Tree, the park’s largest huge tree, is around 2500 years old!
A black bear and a grey fox are among the animals that may be found in the woods. In this area, there are approximately 200 caves!
Top attractions in Sequoia national park: General Sherman Tree, Mount Forest, Pearl lake, High Sierra Trailhead, Crystal Cave, and Generals Highway.
9. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Number of Visitors(2021): 4.53 million
It is also among the most visited parks in America and the world’s best-preserved natural wonders. Whatever time you visit Grand Canyon, the experience will leave you amazed. The canyon’s vastness is beyond description.
The colourful rock faces of the Colorado River, which runs beneath the surface, make for an ideal location for a photographer. The canyon has over a thousand acres of area that runs the entire river for over 277 miles.
View Points along the south edge of the Grand Canyon give you optimum viewing angles. Throughout the year the colours change in the canyons and mainly morning and afternoon are the main times for sunrises.
The Grand Canyon National Park is well-known for its stunning natural marvels. Grand Canyon National Park, established in 1919 and spans 1.2 million acres, provides unparalleled views. There are various hiking trails and breathtaking vistas that showcase the world’s natural beauties.
In a 56-mile length, it reaches its broadest and deepest points. There are no roads here. Thus the only way to see the canyon walls is by trekking, taking a river excursion, or helicopter flight.
According to the National Park Service, there are approximately 1000 secret caverns in the Grand Canyon, but only 335 are exposed to the public. Furthermore, the Grand Canyon is the world’s seventh-ranked natural marvel.
Top attractions in Grand Canyon national park: Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon visitor center, South Kaibab Trail, West Rim Trail, Grand Canyon Village
10. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Number of Visitors(2021): 4.43 Million
This is one of the most visited national parks, with over 4 million visitors annually. It was founded in 1915 and covered 265,461 acres. One of the main attractions is Trail Ridge Road’s remarkable diversity.
Mountains, meadows, and alpine life are all part of it. With its remarkable diversity of species, Alpine lakes, vast forests, glaciers, and much more, Rocky Mountain National Park is considered the crown gem of the American Rockies.
Visitors to the park are invited to a variety of outdoor activities. Cross-country skiing, hiking trails, and fishing are all popular hobbies.
This is the ideal location for hikers and those who want a challenge. Rocky Mountain National Park has 100 mountains over 10,000 feet in elevation.
Rocky Mountain National Park can be accessed by highway within an hour. There is abundant wildlife here, including large horn sheep. Black bears are found throughout the area but are more difficult to locate.
Top attractions in Rocky mountain national park: Bear Lake, Emerald Lake Trail, Alpine visitor center, Trail ridge road, Alberta Falls, Sprague Lake, and Upper Beaver Meadows.
11. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Number of Visitors(2021): 243,042 Thousand
This aquatic park stretches to the Canadian border in northern Minnesota. With 218,005 acres, Voyageurs National Park is one of the least visited national parks in the United States, yet it is a place where land, water, and mountains collide.
It was named after the predominantly French Canadian frontiersmen known as voyageurs engaged in commerce in the late 18th and 19th centuries. A vast network of lakes almost surrounds it, with North Woods in the middle.
This park is home to stunning lakes, streams, rock formations, and lush greenery. The most stunning displays of the northern lights may be found here.
Top attractions in Voyageurs national park: Northern Lights, Ellsworth Rock Garden, Grassy Bay Cliffs, Gold Portage, Kettle Falls, Junction Bay Falls.
12. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Number of Visitors(2021): 14 Million
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the United States, protecting a wide portion of the Appalachian Mountains’ great grandeur. The mountains and streams of this national park, established in 1934, have a lot to offer tourists. As the most visited national park, it is ideal for anyone looking to visit an all-forest park.
Ice covers the summits and ridges, with purple and pink rhododendron blooms blooming in the early summer. Because of a continual fog in the forest’s atmosphere, the mountain range is known as smokey.
This UNESCO world heritage site provides a haven for a wide range of flora and animals. It’s the last of an ancient forest that once dominated the Eastern United States.
Top attractions in Great smoky mountains national park: Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap Overlook, Cades Cove, Mingus Mill, Cataloochee.
That completes the list of the 12 best National parks in the USA!
The finest national parks in the United States are locations of delicate and rugged beauty, with plenty of wildlife and vegetation. Everyone is welcome to explore and learn at the national parks.
Have fun while exploring!