The 15 Most Popular National Parks
The United States is home to numerous National Parks that all together have millions of visitors just in one day. These parks, operated by the National Park Service, offer jaw-dropping views and landscapes as well as a plethora of activities that include camping, hiking, sightseeing, and many other relaxing or recreational things to do on a weekend getaway.
Let's talk more about 15 of the most popular National Parks.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This is the favorite National Park in the country. People from all over the world and from different states of the U.S. go to see the dramatic landscapes created when a smoky haze covers the Appalachian Mountain Chain. It's the country's most visited park because of its diverse scenic views and variety of activities. It's a great place to relax. You can get lost in the mountains hearing the river sounds, hike the waterfall trails, see the elks in their natural habitat, or drive through Little River Road surrounded by all the park's beauty.
Summer is the most popular season to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but if you decide to go during the fall season, you'll have a less crowd experience and you'll get to see a unique red and orange color palette.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
The epic Grand Canyon is recognized worldwide for its jaw-dropping views of the Northern and Southern Rims. Here you can hike one of its countless trails or go rafting at turquoise waters of the Colorado River. This is one of Arizona's favorite spots for campers, hikers, and sightseers. The park's peak season is the summer. So if you're looking for a less crowded trip, visit during the months before or after the summer.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park
Also one of the most famous mountain ranges in the country, Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Sitting north of Denver you'll find enormous mountains, deep valleys, and even glaciers during the winter. It's the perfect place to get lost and release all the stress from the city. Choose a weekend during the spring, summer, or fall, to visit and take advantage of the park's best weather.
4. Zion National Park
Located in Utah, Zion is one of the favorite National Parks because of its amazing landscapes with unique colorings. Landmarks like the Zion Canyon, Kolob Canyons, The Three Patriarchs, and other peaks and mountains create postcard views like no other. This is one of the favorite places to stay and live remotely because of its nice weather. Just avoid going during the winter, and you'll always find a warm and sunny ambiance.
5. Yosemite National ParkYosemite is well-known for being a giant natural playground. In this park, you can see plunging waterfalls, mountains, sequoia trees, granite cliffs and monoliths, wilderness, and other natural wonders that change every season. The park contains some of the most photographed landscapes od the country. Yosemite is opened year-round, it's one of those places that you need to visit in
the springtime and then go during the fall to see a whole new perspective of the landscapes.
6. Yellowstone National Park
One of the first National Parks, Yellowstone stands out for its volcano system, geysers, and natural hot springs. People choose Wyoming as their destination just to see the Old Faithful Geyser erupt. It's one of the most famous parks in the world because of these attractions, but in it, you'll also find mountains, vast meadows, and pine forests.
7. Acadia National Park
This park located on the coast of Maine is one of the favorite spots because of the variety of activities that it offers. Here there's no time to get bored. You can make a picnic at the beach and dip your toes in its chilly waters, immerse in the woods, ride a ferry to Acadia's islands, or choose a more sporty activity like boating, fishing, or kayaking in the ponds and lakes of the park. It's one of the favorite parks to camp as it offers a lot of public campgrounds as well as several private areas that you can rent. So, if you want to go camping, the best time to go is around September and October. It isn't as crowd as in July or August and the weather is still pleasant for a camping trip.
8. Grand Teton National Park
Another of Wyoming's natural gems is the Grand Teton National Park. It's the surrounding region of a mountain range that forms part of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains contrast with the park's valley that is home to a lake, a river, and a wildlife refuge. You can visit from the late spring to early fall so that you find all the roads open and be able to kayak, fish, and do other recreational activities with comfortable weather.
9. Olympic National Park
Olympic Park, located in Washington, is well-known for hosting different ecosystems. You can enter a fairytale as you walk through the rainforest, practice snow sports with amazing views in the park's mountains, and go for a boat ride at the lake. Visit the park from spring to fall so that you see lush landscapes full of light, color, and life. To upgrade your experience, you can put up a suspended tree tent in any of the forest's tree trunks. Just don't forget to pack everything you need to be comfortable and safe in the elevated tent.
10. Glacier National Park
In Montana, almost in the frontier with Canada is located this magic spot better known as the crown of the continent. Its amazing blue glaciers are a pure spectacle for campers. It hosts one of the world's most impressive drives: the Going-to-the-Sun Road. You should take advantage of all the sports activities in the park. July and August are the best months to rent a kayak, go rafting, or wander the trails while horseback riding.
11. Joshua Tree National Park
This exotic land in California is located right at the intersection of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. This natural phenomenon creates unique landscapes where arid low desert meets the vegetated high desert. Just like the name suggests, the park is filled with Joshua trees, those being the main attraction of the park. The park is open year-round but the most comfortable months to visit are March through May and October through November.
12. Bryce Canyon National Park
Close to Zion in Utah is Bryce Canyon National Park. It's characterized by its series of rocky amphitheaters with natural formations with distinctive shapes. One of them is famous for being similar to Thor's Hammer. The park offers a unique ecosystem. It has a desert landscape but contains fir trees as well. Go in May through September so that you enjoy the warm weather and all the summer activities like horse riding.
13. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
This is Ohio's only National Park and also one of the smallest parks in the U.S. It attracts many tourists because its verdant forests are the home to many falcons, bald eagles, and herons. It has different hiking and biking trails that show green landscapes mixed with different historical sites. It draws a high number of visitors especially during the fall because of its distinctive autumn colors.
14. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Just like the name suggests, this park in California makes the list because of its impressive giant sequoia trees. It's the home of the General Sherman Tree, one of the largest trees in the world. You can wander the sequoias of the old-growth forests, enjoy the waterfall views, or hike the trails that connect both parks together. The park is opened 24/7 year-round, but if you'd like to visit in the winter you'll need special snow gear to be more comfortable.
15. Arches National Park
Located in Utah, Arches is one of the top National Parks in the country because of its breathtaking desert landscape that has over 2000 sandstone formations. These geological formations include sandstone fins, balanced rocks, high pinnacles, and gigantic hoodoos and spires with unique and distinctive red colorings. The park counts with an elevated camping site. So if you want to sleep under stary skies and wake up next to the red rock desert, don't forget to pack your astronomy gear, your camping stuff, and lots of blankets to keep you warm at night. You can visit in April, May, September, or October when the desert temperatures aren't as extreme.