10 United States National Parks Worth Visiting

There is no denying that the United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world – diverse in terms of nature and landscapes, that is. Although it doesn’t even come close to the cultural diversity of Europe or the fantastic food cultures in Asia, the U.S. does have a lot to offer when it comes to nature. From the California desert and the Rocky Mountains to the wetlands of Florida and the deciduous forests of New England, every single vegetation type and climate is present. The Alaskan tundra and glaciers, and Hawaii’s volcanoes complete the picture.

That diversity is pretty much unique in the world. The U.S. is also home to the oldest national park in the world: Yellowstone National Park (see below). In total, there are no less than 58 national parks found all over the nation, all of them with their own specific features and all of them definitely worth visiting. Some of them are, however, more popular than others and that’s usually for good reasons.

The following ten national parks in the United States stand out from the rest.

Top 10 US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses an area of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Highlights are scenic roads, including the highest road in North America, hiking trails and iconic mountain peaks.

Top 10 US National Parks: Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park: Photo John B. Kalla CC 2.0

Denali National Park

Alaska’s Denali National Park is home to Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. This is a region of vast valleys, rugged mountain ranges, taiga and glaciers. Popular activities include wildlife spotting, hiking, canoeing and mountaineering.

Top 10 US National Parks: Denali National Park
View on the road into Denali National Park: Photo Maureen CC 2.0

Glacier National Park

Home to vast numbers of wildlife, Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the best United States national parks to spot high-profile wildlife, such as grizzly bears, moose, wolves and lynx. The best way to explore the park is on foot – the network of hiking trails exceeds 700 miles (1,125 kilometers).

Top 10 US National Parks: Reflections of Grinnell Point in Glacier National Park
Reflections of Grinnell Point in Glacier National Park: Photo Mark Stevens CC 2.0

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park encompasses Wyoming’s majestic Teton Range, a series a jagged mountain peaks that rises up out of river-intersected plains. It’s an area of glacial lakes, wildflower-covered valleys and downright spectacular natural scenery.

Top 10 US National Parks: Horses in Grand Teton National Park
Horses in Grand Teton National Park: Photo Matthew Paulson CC 2.0

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in Utah in the southwest of the country. The park’s main feature is Zion Canyon, a massive canyon of 15 miles (10 kilometers) long and half a mile (800 meters) deep. Other attractions in Zion National Park are painted rock walls, rivers, gorges, sandstone pillars and natural arches.

Top 10 US National Parks: Sunset Blues in Zion National Park
Sunset Blues in Zion National Park: Photo Jeff Krause CC 2.0

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The most visited national park in the country, Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts no less than nine million people every year. It lies in North Carolina and Tennessee and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is free to visit, which is probably one of the reasons for its huge number of visitors, and offers great hiking, camping and fishing.

Top 10 US National Parks: Layered sunrise in Great Smoky Mountains
Layered Sunrise in Great Smoky Mountains: Photo Matthew Paulson CC 2.0

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is the only national park in the Northeast. It’s located mostly on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine and is important for both natural and culture-historical reasons. Highlights are the old carriage roads that run through the park, the beautiful coastline and inland mountains.

Top 10 US National Parks: Acadia National Park Daybreak
Daybreak in Acadia National Park: Photo Barbara Friedman CC 2.0

Yosemite National Park

In terms of scenery, it’s hard to top Yosemite National Park. This is, after all, the place that attracted photography icon Ansel Adams and hiking icon John Muir. The natural beauty of this region is overwhelming – the landscapes are made up of sheer granite cliffs, towering mountains, still lakes, vast woodlands, meadows and wild rivers.

Top 10 US National Parks: Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park: Photo Trey Ratcliff CC 2.0

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is without question the most famous natural attraction in the United States. This canyon of epic proportions is a real world wonder and the Grand Canyon is visited by 4.5 million people each year. Grand Canyon National Park offers fabulous hiking, horseback riding, camping and even kayaking and white-water rafting.

Top 10 US National Parks: Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon: Photo Casey Reynolds CC 2.0

Yellowstone National Park

The oldest national park on the planet, Yellowstone National Park is well-known for its geysers, bison, waterfalls and mountains. Old Faithful is one of the major attractions, a trusty geyser that erupted roughly every 63 minutes. People who want to see large mammals should definitely go there: the park is home to herds of bison, grizzly bears, elk and wolves.

Top 10 US National Parks: Yellowstone waterfall
Yellowstone Waterfall: Photo Loren Kerns CC 2.0

The best way to get around in the United States and to visit these top 10 US national parks is by renting a car or by RV rental.

About Bram

Website: http://www.travel-experience-live.com

Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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