The US is a home to as many as 58 mesmerizing national parks. These gorgeous parks represent a wide range of landscapes and millions of visitors throng these places each year to be a witness to these stunning natural beauties. These parks can be found on the east coast, the west and the areas in between! Here, we have listed out the 10 most beautiful national parks of our country.
10 Beautiful National Parks In The US
Here are the ten that have made it on this list:
1. Acadia National Park
Earlier known as Lafayette, this park got its recognition as a national park in the year 1919. Renamed as Acadia National Park in 1929, this is a beautiful place located in Maine.
It was the first national park on the eastern side of the Mississippi river; the inhabitants of that area donated their lands to protect them, leading to the formation of this park. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers, this park features steep mountains, rugged coastline, lakes, verdant forests and various species of flora and fauna. One can opt for hiking or stroll on Acadia’s foot trails and carriage roads.
2. Arches National Park
This is one of the most beautiful national parks in the US, featuring colorful desert topography (of around 73,000 acres) and naturally formed arches of red rocks (over 2,000 in number). Located in eastern Utah, Arches became a national park in the year 1971.
One can explore the beauty of this national park through biking, climbing, hiking, camping or off-roading. The must-see attractions include a labyrinth made of sandstone fins, Devils Garden, Fiery Furnace and the Delicate Arch.
3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Located near Akron and Cleveland in Ohio, this national park is an ultimate delight for nature lovers. It comprises of different types of landscapes including rolling hills, gorgeous forests, and open farmlands.
It was declared a national park only in the year 2000. It might not be as large or old as other parks on the list, but its beauty is simply breathtaking. The must-visit attractions include the Brandywine Falls, gorgeous wildflowers blooming in spring, the rich greenery of the fall, Towpath trail and so on.
4. Glacier National Park
It was declared a national park as early as 1910. Located in northwestern Montana, this national treasure includes beautiful lakes, majestic peaks, alpine meadows, glacial-carved valleys and a variety of plant species. There are endless options for recreational activities and hence is a haven for outdoor lovers. One can find abundant wildlife in this area, including elk, grizzly bears, wolves, mountain goats, etc.
5. Grand Canyon National Park
Located in Arizona, this national park is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The desert beauty of this area is awe-inspiring along with a variety of gorgeous wildlife. This massive geological wonder became a national park in the year 1919. Some of its geological formations are as old as 1,800 million years! Millions of visitors come to this place to capture its stunning beauty on film, enjoy river trips on the river Colorado and to hike in its mystic trails.
6. Grand Teton National Park
It is 310,000 acres of serene, beautiful area located in the northwestern part of Wyoming. Declared a national park in 1950, this place surely impresses all its visitors by providing stunning views created by the majestic peaks, clear lakes, and lush green forests. It is also a home to a wide range of wildlife including bison, elk, and bald eagles.
The history buffs will find this place interesting as they get to explore the various old ranches and homesteads. Grand Teton will not disappoint the outdoor adventurer as well; there are plenty of climbing and water activities as well as hiking trails.
7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Declared a national park in 1934, this park comprises of some of the most ancient mountain ranges of the world. It is situated along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this national park is the most popular national park in the US. Around 500,000 acres of land is covered with dense forest that covers the mountain ranges creating a marvelous natural masterpiece.
This national heritage has something to offer everyone – wildlife watching, exploring the large species of plant life and the memorable log buildings, hiking, enjoying the spectacular waterfalls and simply cherishing nature’s bounty.
8. Kenai Fjords National Park
Considered as a gem of Alaska, this national park got its recognition in the year 1980. The landscape looks stunning as it is a mixture of thick woodland and beautiful glaciers. Apart from activities like kayaking and hiking, one can look forward to exploring its diverse wildlife and vegetation along with its breathtaking scenery.
The wide variety of animals include wolves, bears, lynx, humpback whales, harbor seals and killer whales. More than 191 species of birds have been spotted here.
9. Olympic National Park
Situated in the Washington state, this spectacular national park is comprised of 1 million acres of total area. The scenery of this park is stunning and truly diverse. It features glacier-capped mountains, rugged coastline, and old-grown forests, thus offering a variety of ecosystems.
Designated as a national park in 1938, it is a home to a wide species of animals including bears, cougars, spotted owls, dolphins, whales, sea otters, etc. The vegetation of this area is lush and equally diverse. There are several adventure activities including climbing, camping, hiking, and backpacking.
10. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is one of the most spectacular national parks of the country. Situated in California, the place is made up of approximately 750,000 acres. Apart from the waterfalls, the place features beautiful valleys, granite cliffs, lush meadows, giant Sequoias and traversing rivers and sparkling lakes – all in all; it is an amazing feast for your eyes. Several species of wildlife animals are found nestled in this vast area – black bears, pikas, bats, mountain lions and varied flora.
The highlights of this national park include Yosemite Falls (highest waterfall in North America), El Capitan (tallest granite monolith in the world) and mountains that are “unmatched on the globe” (as stated by the famous American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson.)
In the earlier days, national parks were seen as spaces that humans considered precious and that they were worth protection. This idea evolved in 1916 to create what is called as ‘National Parks System’ – a single entity that will oversee every aspect of wilderness. This list, though not exhaustive, gives you the relatively ten most beautiful national parks out there!