For well over a century, the United States National Park Service has been committed to sustaining and maintaining the parks throughout the country. Whether it’s for educational or environmental purposes, or simply for us all to enjoy, they (along with Mother Nature and Father Time) have done an incredible job.
Of course, people will have different opinions of what are the top 10 national parks in the US, depending on many factors, such as accessibility, time of year, or perhaps the difficulty of trails and hiking, however all these variables aside, here is a general list of the top 10 National Parks in the United States, ranked.
10 Acadia National Park
Coming in at number 10 is Acadia National Park, Maine. Comprising over 160 miles worth of hiking and biking trails and with a series of challenging vantage points before you are rewarded with panoramic views of the North Atlantic State. For a proper challenge, take-on Precipice Trail and Champlain Mountain. If you prefer to visit the park by car, then there are several roads, stretching as much as 27 miles, for you to explore. Whichever way you explore the park, you will be immersed in an array of vibrant flora and fauna.
9 Rocky Mountain National Park
Perhaps one of the most convenient national parks in the US is the Rockies. Sitting just 70 miles north of Denver, they boast towering snow-capped peaks with pristine, glistening lakes in between. What makes the Rocky Mountain National Park so special is that it caters for year-round activities; skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing in the winter, water sports, hiking, and biking in the summer. Not to mention it can be considered one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.
8 Arches National Park
A pretty unknown national park, Arches sits in the eastern part of Utah. Covering a staggering 77,000 acres, the park has been around for 90 years and is famous for its unusual and unique natural arches made out of eroded sandstone.
What sets Arches National Park apart from the rest is that it is a haven for hikers, rock climbers and photographers because of the stunning night sky that can be seen from any point in the park.
7 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The name of this national park really speaks for itself. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park allows visitors to become best buddies with 2 of the world’s most active, not to mention beautiful, volcanoes. Kilauea and Mauna Loa are the star attractions of the park, with Kilauea continually erupting, creating some once-in-a-lifetime scenes for visitors. You will have to drive most of the way through this park, so make sure to take a timeout at Kealakomo Overlook for some pretty amazing views of the volcano show.
6 Grant Teton National Park
Offering visitors over 200 miles of hiking and biking trails just waiting to be explored, Grand Teton National Park sits in the outskirts of Jackson Hole. Farmers, ranchers, and hunters once called this park home, but since they have cleared out, this park has really come into its own. Pink skies light up the mountains and reflect off the clear lakes as the sun sets, accompanied by lush, green shrubbery. It really is a sight to behold.
5 Zion National Park
Traveling back to Utah, Zion National Park is a playground for anyone who lives to seek constant adventure. Trek through 1,500 feet of dense bush, 10 miles of narrow canyons and why not walk against the flow of a gushing rapid while you’re at it?
Discovering this national park is no easy feat and should only be done if you are confident you can go all the way. What waits for you on the other side, well, only you can see that!
4 Grand Canyon National Park
No photo can do the Grand Canyon National Park any form of justice, and really, what list of the best national parks would be valid without it? At 277 miles in length, the Grand Canyon certainly must be discovered from more than one viewpoint, and this UNESCO World Heritage Site park cannot be fully appreciated until you have hiked through the main trails on offer. Raft on the Colorado River and experience the simply magnificent Havasu Falls, be one with nature. Oh, here is today’s pro tip – head to the North Rim for a more intimate viewing experience.
3 Glacier National Park
As the name suggests, Glacier National Park comprises over 700 lakes and glaciers, separated by three mountain ranges in Montana. Chock-full of hiking trails, there is no shortage of things to do and sights to see. Regardless of where you go in this park, you will be greeted with an unforgettable view so make sure your camera has some battery to capture every single moment! Head to the Trail of the Cedars, Iceberg Lake Trail, Apgar Nature Center, as well as another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
2 Yosemite National Park
Coming in at number 2 is Yosemite National Park. It is the most frequented park in the Golden State and is famous for its array of intimidating peaks, remarkable waterfalls, and its unique rock formations. No matter where you go in the park, ensure you leave enough time to visit Tunnel View Outlook which has a view like no other. Panoramic views of Yosemite, granite formations Half Dome and El Capitan and what’s more, it is quite easy to access this point.
1 Yellowstone National Park
Saving the best for last, Yellowstone National Park, located throughout Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Covering 2.2 million acres, no words can do it justice, you simply have to see for yourself the magic that Mother Nature has worked, and although she doesn’t know it, it is all for our benefit. Again, words cannot describe how many beautiful lakes make-up the park, not to mention the mountains and natural hot springs! There is something here for everyone all year round, which also adds the brownie points for its number 1 ranking. Fun fact, Yellowstone was the very first national park in the whole world!