If you are living in or planning to visit Unites States of America , you need to add National Parks to your itinerary. The USA has 60 National Parks and each Park is unique in its own way. Mountains, sand dunes, beaches, lakes, volcanoes, deserts, canyons, waterfalls and caves, name a kind of landscape you will want to experience and there will be a national park exemplifying it. Now of-course it’s unlikely you’ll get the chance to see each one of them but to make most out your vacation , here is a list of my absolute favorite national parks that I am sure you will love. Can you guess how many national parks have I visited so far , please leave me a comment below with your magic number . Whatever type of outdoor experience you prefer, the United States National Parks provide experiences of all kinds. So sit back, relax, and read on to find out which National Parks are absolute must see – “America’s 5 Best National Parks Worth Visiting”
1) Zion National Park :
My story with Zion National park goes something like this. On our first visit to Vegas I only had 3 extra days and an option to chose between Arches and Zion. Since I had not researched enough about Zion National Park and I had seen photos of Arches National park popping on my instagram feed quite often , I preferred skipping it. Yes , silly me. ON my second road trip to Arizona-Utah-Nevada I skipped it again thinking I have seen similar landscape, which of-course I regret to this day. Third time – I did my homework , I researched everything, found out what to do and this resulted in a trip of a lifetime. Zion is so different and has variety of experiences to offer. At Zion National Park, forces of nature come together creating one of the American West’s most dramatic cliff-and-canyon scenery. The park offers almost unlimited opportunities for hiking, camping, canyoning, and other wilderness experiences. The main valley boasts some of the most iconic hikes in the National Park system, such as the (in)famous Angels Landing hike along a frighteningly narrow ridge. Wildlife such as mule deer, golden eagles, and mountain lions, also inhabit the Park. My personal favorite was hiking through the Narrows. The park has an excellent shuttle system limiting the traffic and chaos to the minimum. This is one park that literally had everything on my adventure list.
2) Arches National Park :
I live in Northeastern part of United States. I am surrounded by greenery so obviously anything which is different than normal green and bushy mountains – catches my attention immediately. Utah is known for its red rock formations, canyons, and deserts, and you’ll find the best of all of it right here at Arches national park . This park will make you feel as if you are on alien land , with earth literally looking like inside out. Combine this with its proximity to Canyonlands and you have got an itinerary to perfect adventure. This park brimms with incredible rock formations ( which by the way has taken thousand of years to get formed) and provides with some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen. Hiking trails are plentiful, and rock climbing is even allowed for the adventurous. Stunning arches like Delicate Arch, Double Arch, and Skyline Arch make for the perfect photo-cards. For photography lovers , night photography opportunities are absolutely brilliant in this national park. Not to mention if you are not much of a hiker , this park has plenty to show you right from your car window. This park is second on my list for the ease of exploring it , a unique landscape and plethora of hikes that will keep you entertained for days.
Find more details : Arches NP
Highlights : Proximity to Canyonlands, Delicate arch, Fiery Furnace.
3) Yellowstone National Park :
Established as first national park of USA in 1872 Yellowstone National Park is home to the majority of the earth’s geysers, as well as other thermal wonders that make up an otherworldly landscape composed of steam, bubble, and boiling mud. For me it was like a wonderland – Geysers on one side of the road , grizzlys and bisons on the other , this was one national park that I was unable to keep my camera down for a minute. Besides thermal wonders , Yellowstone boasts of vast wilderness which includes mountain ranges, lakes and waterfalls . The main reason of most tourists for visiting Yellowstone is observing the amazing wildlife: grizzly and black bear, bison, bighorn sheep, elk and moose roam the plains and valleys. Because of the uniqueness of this park , Yellowstone is immensely popular among people so be patient as you will have to share Yellowstone’s wonders with many other visitors. A word of cation – because of the thermal activity in the park , most parts of the park smell like sulphur – at first it will bother you , but the beauty of this park will make you forget the smell of rotten eggs 😉
Find more details : Yellowstone NP
Highlights: Old Faithful geyser, Grand Prismatic Spring and wildlife viewing in the Lamaar Valley.
4) Death Valley National Park :
How often do you see life thriving at temperatures as high as 134°F . Yes combine this with being the driest place in the US , the national park is rightly names “Death Valley” . With names of iconic locations like Badwater, Race-track Bed, Funeral Mountain, the Devil’s Golf Course, and Death right in the name of the parkland, this national park will give you an impression of being a true BADASS . When I first visited this park I had only one problem – I did not have enough time to explore it . It would be insane to try to describe this park as a whole unit because each iconic site is so different from the next. Death Valley has plenty of unique experiences and photographic opportunities to offer.
Unlike its name , Death Valley National Park actually is full-of-life in its own way. Singing sand dunes, salt flats displaying mathematical shapes, colorful badlands, ancient lake-beds with sailing stones, salinic creeks thriving with tiny fish, fields drenched with colorful wildflowers…. hikers, photographers, stargazers, American-history lovers, birdwatchers, scientists, artists, explorers on the open road— the park is very much alive.
Find More details : Death Valley NP
Highlights : Badwater Basin, Race Track Bed, Zabrinski point
5) Haleakala National Park :
I never thought Maui will be anything more than pristine beaches and all the frolic that comes with sea and sand. I was proven wrong. Haleakala National Park is located on a dormant volcano where you can hike above the clouds across an otherworldly desert which will definitely make you question “Is this the planet Mars?”. With incredible vistas towards the Pacific Ocean on the one side and an observatory on the top from where you can literally see the stars up close , this national park is definitely one of a kind. The park also cares for endangered species, some of which exist nowhere else, such as the Nene (Hawaiian goose). Perhaps just as spectacular are Haleakala’s world-famous sunsets , its bright, starry skies at night are equally beautiful. As the park stretches out towards the sea, the desolate volcanic landscape gives way to lush bamboo forests and thundering waterfalls.
Find more details : Haleakala National Park
Highlights: Watching the sunrise and hiking near the crater.
I definitely agree that I have not been to every national park. But yes it is on my list. SO far I have been to 20 national parks and the list I shared above are my absolute favorite ones. Each one of them have a special place in my heart – some for their beauty, some for the experience and some for showing me things that I had never expected of mother nature. Did your favorite national park made to my list. I will love to know which park is your favorite and why. Do share it with me in comments below. Thank you so much for stopping by