One of the most common questions when it comes to visiting one of 59 national parks that exist in the U.S. is 'when should you visit?' Plenty of factors go into determining the answer in regard to every park's peak timeframe, from the location of the park, its elevation, and even its terrain.
The default instinct for most people visiting national parks is to seek them out during the summer when warm weather stretches across most of the U.S., and while some parks are arguably more gorgeous in the spring and fall seasons, there are some that come alive between the months of June and August.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Montana is home to Glacier National Park which offers some of the most spectacular views in the Midwest. While this park becomes a vast, icy wonderland akin to Arendelle during the winter months, during the summer, every tree, plant, and blade of grass is in full color array.
Getting to the park, however, is another journey entirely: visitors can take the Going-to-the-Sun Road which is one of the most beautiful drives in the country, and it goes on for roughly 50 miles before the entrance to the park. The road brings travelers to a 6,646-foot vantage point called Logan Pass, boasting unbelievable views of the six stunning mountain summits that surround it. When travelers enter the park, they have a whoppoing 700 miles of trails to choose from.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
While Theodore Roosevelt National Park is beautiful, the harsh North Dakota weather can sometimes make it a challenge to see anything worth viewing in this park. The summer months are when it all comes together, leaving the trails free and dry for hikers to come through and appreciate all that this stunning landscape has to offer.
The park is broken down into three central areas: North Unit, South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch (disclaimer: cell phone service in this remote area is often unavailable). The mountains in the South Unit are ablaze in colors that range from red to muted gray, making them seem more like paintings than actual rock structures. Visitors also have the chance to see wild bison and if hiking through the North Unit, stopping by the 'Grand Canyon of the Little Missouri' is a must-see.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park is an enticing place that holds significance to Oregon in more ways than one. For one, it's the deepest lake in the U.S., and the lake inside the park is actually the crater (caldera) of a volcano.
The park's terrain makes it impassable unless all the snow from the winter season has melted completely and, once that happens, visitors are free to explore it on foot or via bike. The Scenic Rim Drive is also an option and spans 33 miles, offering full views of the caldera, which is 1,943 feet deep.
Sequoia National Park, California
Sequoia National Park has a reputation that holds as much history as it does intrigue for those who have never seen this enormous, gentle giants up-close in person. The sequoia tree has been symbolic for centuries and just being in such a huge forest is enough to humble hikers and encourage an appreciation for these beautiful trees.
The park is home to 40 tree groves and can also be driven through, but there's nothing like walking through this park on a hot day when the towering sequoia trees can provide much-needed shade. This is one park where any of the trails will bring with it incredible sites, including views of Mount Whitney and of the General Sherman Tree, which towers at a height of 275 feet.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Compared to many parks in the Midwestern and Pacific U.S., Acadia might seem much smaller but that doesn't mean it's not worth visiting. This unique park sits on Maine's coastal seaside and it also home to rocky outcroppings and terrain, as much of the state is mountainous. Therefore, hikers get the best of both worlds: incredible mountain views as well as an oceanside escape.
The park itself surrounds Mount Desert Island which is teeming with wildlife and home to many species of plant and tree life; a true haven for nature lovers. With its proximity to the ocean and the views it offers of the coast from within the park, this is one of the most popular destinations in Maine during the summer months. In fact, it's almost hard to believe that underneath all the snow and ice from the winter, such a beautiful landscape like this is just waiting to be explored.