The world’s third largest country, the United States of America is blessed with a stunning variety of geography and topography. It has gigantic deep canyons and gorges crisscrossing its heart while the rivers of Mississippi, Missouri, and Jefferson flow majestically through it. The west, popularised by the Western films of Hollywood, has the mighty Rocky Mountain Range and vast arid deserts of Colorado and Nevada.
National Parks of USA
The United States of America has such enormous amount of natural resources, wildlife, and acres of unspoilt wilderness, that the Government of United States initiated the ‘Organic Act of 1916’ and established the National Park Services. Today, the National Park Services has the mandate to protect, manage, and provide tourist services to the country’s as many as 60 National Parks, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and important Biosphere zones. Holidayme presents 12 amazing National Parks of the United States of America that you must visit in your lifetime.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The country’s most visited National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sprawls across over 2,000 square kilometres! Part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it straddles the border between the American States of Tennessee and North Carolina. It has several ridges dotted with forests known for their rich diversity of plants and animals. It’s also home to black bears, several species of wildflowers, and a unique species of synchronous fireflies. Cades Cove is one of the historic zones of this highly loved National Park. This is the place where the first European settlers built their homes between 1818 and 1821.
Grand Canyon National Park
A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site of the United States, the Grand Canyon National Park is located in the northwest of the State of Arizona. The park encompasses the famous Grand Canyon, a majestic gorge over the Colorado River, which is counted amongst the top geological wonders of earth. The Canyon has several layers of geological history and colour due to millennia of erosions. It has two highly popular attractions – the South Rim and the North Rim, both are open year-round. Helicopter tours, camping, hiking, and walking on glass-decked walkways are some of the key attractions one can enjoy here.
Grand Teton National Park
One of the most scenic National Parks of the USA, the Grand Teton National Park is located in the US State of Wyoming. The park area includes the major peak of the Teton Range and a part of Jackson Hole, a scenic valley. The park is known for its rivers, wonderful meadows, exceptional views of mountains and lakes, and rich wildlife. Popular things to do in Grand Teton National Park includes camping, hiking, mountaineering and visiting the historic Mormon Row Historic District. This is the place where the American fur trappers roamed the area and established settlements.
Acadia National Park
The strikingly-picturesque Acadia National Park is known as the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast”. Located in the US State of Maine, it covers the area of Mount Desert Island and several smaller islands off the coast of Maine. Acadia National Park has seven peaks over 1,000 feet, and offers stunning panoramic views of the windswept, craggy coastline, sprawling vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, fascinating island communities, and amazing hiking experiences. Acadia is one of the few national parks of the United States, that supports the Artist-in-Residence program, kids activities, and hiking with pets.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Established by then US President Woodrow Wilson in 1915, the Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks of the USA. Located in the US State of Colorado, the National Park is known for its alpine climate, scenic hiking trails, mountains, lakes, wildflowers, starlit nights, and wonderful camping sites. The Rocky Mountain National Park is also home to several species of flora and fauna. Watch out for wildlife like mule deer, bighorn sheep, beavers, elks, coyotes, moose, cougars, black bears, and more.
Yosemite National Park
One of the earliest established national parks of the United States of America, this beautiful National Park still attracts millions of visitors each year. Yosemite National Park was created in 1874 and the Yosemite Grant bill was signed by the legendary American President Abraham Lincoln. Located in the American State of California, the park area comprises of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Today, Yosemite is internationally acclaimed for its majestic granite cliffs, waterfalls, streams, giant Sequoia trees, lakes, meadows, mountains and glaciers, comprising an amazing biological and geological diversity.
Yellowstone National Park
The first national park to be established in the United States of America is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located across the US States of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The Yellowstone National Park is known for its geo-thermal hot springs, mud pots, geysers, lakes, and acres of sub-alpine forests. The Canyon Village, Old Faithful Geyser, Bridge Bay, and Norris are some of the best places to see in this vast national park. Camping, hiking, photography, biking, back-country camping, boating, and winter sports are some of the highly popular activities here.
Olympic National Park
Located in the US State of Washington, the Olympic National Park is known for its unique ecosystem comprising of sub-alpine forests, temperate rain forests, and the Pacific shore. This rich and diverse national park is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The national park also has two amazing rainforests – Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest. These rainforests are the wettest areas of continental United States and look highly dramatic due to their moss-covered trees and ferns.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in the US State of Montana and is referred to as the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem,”. This vast national park comprises of mountains, lakes, glaciers, meadows, forests and plenty of historic landmarks and settlements. Glacier National Park is also known for its highly photographed landmarks like the Chief Mountain, Two Medicine Lake, Going-to-the-Sun Road, and more. The park is also known for its several native Indian communities, charming hotels and resorts, and several scientific research and history and cultural preservation initiatives.
Zion National Park
One of the most dramatic national parks of the United States, the Zion National Park is located in the US State of Utah. It lies at a junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert. The park area incorporates Zion Canyon and Navajo Sandstone geological features. The national park has four distinct biosphere zones – desert, riparian, woodland and coniferous forest. Zion National Park is also known for its rich varieties of plants and animals and amazing geological features comprising of mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, slot canyons, rivers and amazing natural rock arches and formations.
Sequoia National Park
One of the world’s few otherworldly landscapes and areas, Sequoia National Park is home to giant Sequoia trees. Located in the US State of California, it’s known for ‘The General Sherman Tree’ the world largest tree, and ‘Mount Whitney’, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. The national park is contiguous with the Kings Canyon National park and is managed as one single entity by the National Park Services of the United States as ‘Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’. The Giant Forest is one of the awe-inspiring forests here, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is located in the US State of Washington, and includes the entire area of Mount Rainier, a volcanic mountain. The park has acres of sub-alpine meadows filled with wildflowers and ancient forests. Mount Rainier National Park is known for its beautiful wildflowers that turn its green meadows into colourful natural flower gardens. The national park is highly popular among hikers, wilderness campers, and mountaineers.