Top 10 National Parks to Visit in Your Lifetime

February 22, 2017 1 Comment

Top 10 National Parks to Visit in Your Lifetime

 

In today’s hyperconnected world, America’s National Parks exist to help us appreciate and connect with nature. An escape from the concrete urban and suburban jungles that most of us inhabit, our national parks preserve and protect lands of extraordinary natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.


Ready to explore the great outdoors? Here’s our list of top 10 National Parks to visit in your lifetime:

 

  1. Acadia National Park, Maine

At 47,000 acres, Acadia National Park is Maine’s only national park and home to the tallest peak on the Atlantic coast, Cadillac Mountain. The park is known for its hiking trails dating back to the early 1900s, including the hundred-year-old Homans Path --  carved out in 1915  -- that features 400 spiraling granite stairs.

Park activities include bicycling, birdwatching, boating, climbing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, tide pooling, and the park’s irresistible EarthCache (or GPS-navigated geocache) program. In the winter months, Acadia offers cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and other cold-weather endeavors to get your blood pumping.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/acad

 

 

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Hosting a diversity of plant and animal life and remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the nation’s most visited parks. Chartered in 1934, it sits majestically along the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains (part of the Blue Ridge Mountains), originally home to the Cherokee Native Americans.

One interesting preservation is Cades Cove, an area where older rocks made out of sandstone surround the valley floor of younger rocks made out of limestone. The cove was the last residential area of the park and some of its log cabins, farm buildings and other early American treasures have been preserved and are accessible to park visitors. Activities also include hiking (850 miles of trails, including seventy miles of the Appalachian Trail), bicycling, fishing, horseback riding, and checking out the park’s many (eleven) waterfalls.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/grsm

 

 

  1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Looking for a unique national park experience? Don’t overlook Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and its two active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Rooted in Hawaiian tradition, the site was traditionally known as the sacred home of the volcano goddess, Pele. Activities including hiking, camping, bicycling, and unique guided tours.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/havo

 

 

  1. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky offers visitors an opportunity to tour and explore the world’s longest cave system (over 400 miles!). Feeling adventurous? Try out the park’s six-hour “Wild Cave Tour.” Climb, crawl and squeeze your way through areas of the caves that most tourists never see. Wear sturdy, lace-up hiking boots for this memorable adventure!


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/maca

 

 

  1. Glacier National Park, Montana

Located on the Canada-United States border, Glacier National Park encompasses more than 1 million acres including parts of two mountain ranges. While once home to 150 glaciers in 1850, the park showcases its 25 or so remaining glaciers. Love wildlife? Glacier National Park is home to grizzly bears, moose, mountain goats and endangered species like the wolverine and Canadian lynx.

Activities include hiking, backcountry camping, cross-country skiing, guided tours, and a fascinating summer program, “Native America Speaks,” featuring informative chats by members of the noble Blackfeet, Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreille tribes.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/glac

 

 

  1. Olympic National Park, Washington

Created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909, Olympic National Park encompasses nearly 1 million acres. It is divided into four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, temperate rainforest, and drier forest.

With more than 95% of the land designated as wilderness (the highest level of conservation protection of any federal lands), the park is classified as an International Biosphere Reserve -- a site used by scientists to study changes and interactions between social and ecological systems. From forests to glacier-capped mountain to Pacific coastline, Olympic National Park offers visitors a huge diversity of outdoor environments to explore. Activities include rafting, backpacking, climbing, and a wide variety of winter activities.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/olym

 

 

  1. Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

Comprised of over six million acres, Denali National Park’s landscape is a mix of forest, tundra, glaciers, rock, and snow. The park is home to lots of wildlife, including free-roaming grizzly and black bears, moose, wolves, foxes, beavers, and many other birds and mammals. The main attraction is Mt. Denali, North America’s highest mountain at 20,310'! Favorite wintertime activities include dog-sledding and cross-country skiing.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/dena

 

 

  1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

You’ve probably heard of this one! The park’s central feature, the Grand Canyon, is a gorge carved over millions of years by the Colorado River. Considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is definitely a site worth seeing in your lifetime. The sheer size of the Grand Canyon is breathtaking- 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Activities include world-class whitewater rafting, backcountry hiking, and mule trips.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/grca

 

 

  1. Yosemite National Park, California

Reaching across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite National Park was instrumental in kickstarting the United States national parks system.

Originally protected from development through Abraham Lincoln’s Yosemite Grant in 1864, the mountains and forests surrounding the area’s valley were eventually included, too, and the national park was established in 1890. With 95% of the land designated as wilderness, Yosemite is renowned for its magnificent granite cliffs, waterfalls, sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, and glaciers.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/yose

 

 

  1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone was established March 1,1872 by the U.S. Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Its most renowned attraction is Old Faithful, a regularly erupting cone geyser.

The park also houses Yellowstone Caldera, an active volcano and the largest supervolcano on the continent. With miles and acres of lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges, Yellowstone National Park is an immersive natural destination worth exploring. Activities include backcountry hiking, camping, guided tours. Skiing and snowshoeing is available during winter.


Visit online: https://www.nps.gov/yell/


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1 Response

Miaja Hildebrand
Miaja Hildebrand

February 23, 2017

Every person in the USA should visit as many National Parks as possible in their lifetime! To miss them is too great a loss to one’s soul!

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