Holding unwavering beauty, the National parks of the USA are renowned worldwide. From dramatic canyons to diverse landscapes, snowy peaks, and the oldest trees, these parks are nothing short of national treasures.
They also hold an abundance of wildlife, flora, fauna, and natural landmarks. Due to their easy accessibility from major cities and camping opportunities, the USA’s national parks always find their way onto travellers bucket lists.
The natural areas are also ideal for hiking, sightseeing, and learning about the cultural history of the country. Perfect for a day trip, a weekend gateway, or a week-long adventure, these parks make for an incredible vacation.
So, here is our list of the top 8 best national parks in the USA:
1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Known to be the natural wonder of the world, the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold. Needless to say, the Grand Canyon National Park has become one of the most visited parks in America. The breathtaking canyon appears magnificent no matter how many times you visit it.
The natural, multicoloured rocks stand towering over the raging Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is immense and measures more than one million acres in size. It follows the river for an amazing 277 miles.
The best photographs are guaranteed from the viewpoints along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you would like to avoid the crowds, head to the North Rim, which has fewer tourists.
The Grand Canyon National Park offers endless hiking opportunities of varying difficulty and length. You can also enjoy rafting on the Colorado River, hop on a scenic train ride, or opt for helicopter tours.
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is sprawled over 2.2 million acres of land. It is famous for its unique geological features, such as steam vents, colourful pools, and geysers. Other main attractions include lakes, springs, waterfalls, and wildlife.
This national park is noted to have the largest collection of thermal waters and geysers in the world. The diverse geography of Yellowstone not only spreads across Wyoming but also in the states of Idaho and Montana.
But aside from its stunning thermal activities, the park is also home to herds of bison that can be spotted all over the area. You can choose from various activities like camping, horseback riding, sightseeing, and bicycling at Yellowstone.
3. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is one of the oldest parks in the USA. It holds some of the most iconic natural sites in the country. The park is known for its beautiful waterfalls, like Vernal Falls and Bridalveil Falls.
The towering granite rock formations like Half Dome and El Capitan, as well as ancient sequoia trees, make Yosemite a memorable site. The park covers an area of over 1200 square miles, but the majority of the main sights are based in Yosemite Valley.
The ample scenic views provide the best vantage points. Visitors can also enjoy camping and hiking opportunities, as well as other adventurous activities.
4. Furnace Creek, California
Furnace Creek in California is a Celsius-designated place (CDP) and incorporates Death Valley National Park. Death Valley has one of the lowest points in North America. Death Valley National Park is one of the sites that stands out from the rest.
The park is surrounded by extreme harshness, which makes it appear strikingly different as compared to other national parks in the country. It covers an area of 5,270 square kilometres in Death Valley. Unique landforms such as the five dune areas, volcanic craters, and a mansion known as Scotty’s Castle can be seen.
You can explore Furnace Creek and Death Valley National Parks in intriguing ways. The best sight to witness in this desolate place is the spring wildflower display on the park’s desert floor.
5. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is home to an extensive collection of Hoodoos. They are odd-shaped pillars of rock that are left standing due to erosion. These Hoodoos can be seen from viewpoints along a scenic highway.
The roughly 35,000-acre park offers some of the most incredible scenery in Utah. One of the best ways to experience Bryce Canyon is to wander through the maze of Hoodoos on one of its hiking trails. Impressive red rock formations also offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy horseback rides.
As the park is set at a higher elevation, camping is one of the most recommended activities. It is also perfect for stargazing due to the clear skies at night.
6. Arches National Park, Utah
As the name suggests, Arches National Park is full of natural arches that cover nearly 77,000 acres in Eastern Utah. It is situated on a rock plateau above the Colorado River. This park boasts uniquely shaped sandstone monuments and formations.
The most popular and majestic formations are the North Window, South Window, Delicate Arch, Park Avenue, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch.
Arches National Park is one of the easiest places to explore, as the main attractions are right along the main road. The rest of your leisure time can be spent in the nearby, vibrant town of Moab.
7. Coyote Buttes, Arizona
Coyote Buttes divides into two areas: Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South. The cross-stratified Aeolian Jurassic Navajo Sandstone exposes the area.
One of the most fascinating places at Coyote Buttes is the dinosaur trackway, which has densely packed dinosaur footprints in the area. These tracks contain footprints made almost 190 million years ago.
The Wave is also one of the most popular attractions at Coyote Buttes South. It is a geologic feature that provides the most visual experience on Earth. The unique sandstone formations seen in the area are only accessible to a limited number of hikers. Visitors also need permits to visit the Coyote Buttes.
8. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon, situated on Navajo land east of Page, features two scenic canyon sections: the Upper Antelope Canyon (also known as The Crack) and the Lower Antelope Canyon (also known as The Corkscrew).
The Canyon features the most picturesque geological formations, with wave-like structures and light beams that shine directly into the openings. Millions of years of water erosion formed Antelope Canyon. The canyon walls now climb over 120 feet above the stream bed, making it appear breathtaking.
While encouraging visitors to explore the canyons, the park still requires guided tours. However, these tours prove fruitful as you can also learn about the history, culture, and geology of the Antelope Canyon area.
Visiting these beautiful and famous national parks in the USA can enhance your overall trip experience to a whole new level. So, for your next vacation, mark these places to witness the grand natural beauty of America.
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