U.S. National Parks

U.S. National Parks

It’s not actually a canyon at all, but a giant amphitheater of spiky rock peaks in all shades of orange. Bryce is less popular than its neighbors, Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks, because of the park’s relative remoteness. However, tourists often combine visits to these three parks on the same trip.

Monument Valley

A natural wonder, created by the drying Colorado winds, lies in the heart of a vast plateau that has exposed millions of years of shimmering sandstone riches in the form of rock outcroppings. We’re talking about the Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park, located in southeastern Utah.

Death Valley

Death Valley – a vast desert in the southeastern United States located on the border of California and Nevada – is the lowest, hottest and driest place in North America. People come here for the ethereal scenery.


Yellowstone National Park, one of the most visited parks in America, is located in the north of the country, in the three states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park is famous for its numerous geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, rich wildlife, and scenic landscapes.


Yosemite National Park is one of the first nature preserves in the U.S., thanks to its unique and pristine nature it has been under UNESCO protection since 1984. The park with the highest waterfall in North America and 1300 km of hiking trails is located on the slopes of Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

Mammoth Cave

It is not named for the huge extinct animals as is commonly believed, but for its unique size. The age of the natural monument is also awe-inspiring: ten million years. In the waters of the cave rivers live unique shrimp, eyeless albino, blind fish and crayfish.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is one of the oldest national parks in the United States and one of nature’s most perfect creations on earth. The canyon is in Arizona, and before Europeans came here (1540), it was inhabited by a tribe of Pueblo Indians who built cave-like dwellings in the canyon.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls are a “thundering waterfall” coming down from the height of 50 m, the natural wonder and one of the main attractions of two countries at once: Canada and the USA. Each year millions of tourists come to see this embodiment of the power and might of nature. Niagara can be seen and heard long before it appears: there is a cloud of water vapor in the air and the sound of crashing water can be heard.


There is a place in the United States in Montana near the Canadian border that is perfect for lovers of wildlife and beautiful scenery. The skies here are incredibly expressive, the snow is perfectly white, the plants are all shades of green, and the lines of the mountains are fantastically beautiful.

Great Smoky Mountains .

The most visited national park in the States with the most romantic name and the longest hiking trail in the world is probably worth a visit. We are talking, of course, about the Great Smoky Mountains, or Great Smoky Mountains, which are located in the east of the country and divided equally between the two states.

Napa Valley.

The main wine-producing region of the United States, the picturesque and fertile Napa Valley stretches across the expanse of Northern California. There are a total of 14,000 hectares of vineyards, several dozen large and four hundred small wineries.

Valley of Fire

The American West offers many stunning natural attractions: the magical view of the tall sequoias, deserts and canyons like on Mars, the beauty of which often goes unnoticed because an hour and a half drive east separates this place from Las Vegas.

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Carlsbad Caves.

Beneath the vaults of the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico lie an endless maze of halls, tunnels, and corridors, the main inhabitants of which are bats. The charm of the Carlsbad Caves becomes more enchanting and mysterious as dusk falls.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the few places in the world that offers a unique opportunity to watch red-hot lava rising to the surface with little or no risk to life.

Lassen-Wolcanik National Park

Visit another planet without leaving California: the landscapes of Lassen-Wolcanik National Park are so extraordinary that tourists often call them extraterrestrial. The reserve is located in the northern part of the state, in sparsely populated and inaccessible terrain over 2,000 meters above sea level.

Olympic National Park.

Mountains and oceans, clear rivers and dense forests, rugged snow-capped peaks and delicate alpine flowers meet here. Olympic National Park occupies most of the peninsula of the same name and extends to the Canadian border.

Redwood National Park.

Ocean waves, giant trees, ferns and blooming hills – this is how the planet looked thousands of years ago and how it looks today in Redwood National Park. The tallest trees on Earth, the evergreen sequoias, grow here.

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is located in California, in the southern Sierra Nevada. In fact, together with King’s Canyon National Park, they form a huge preserve. Giant trees grow here, including the legendary Sherman sequoia.

Torrey Pines Nature Preserve.

Torrey Pines State Nature Preserve is technically within the city limits of San Diego. And yet it remains a corner of truly untouched nature: it has the wildest strip of land (8 square kilometers) on the entire South Coast of California.

Black Rock Desert

Black Rock Desert is a small area: 110 km long and 23 km wide. But on such a compact territory fits all the typical landscapes of Nevada. This part of the state in prehistoric times was occupied by the giant Lake Lahontan, the remains of which can be found today at Pyramid Lake.

Each year about 300 million tourists visit national parks in the United States. The country’s natural treasures have long ceased to be a mere source of national pride and have grown into a global treasure. Fourteen U.S. national parks have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for a reason. And there are more than 300 national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and natural monuments in the country.

It is worth noting that the U.S. is very zealous about preserving natural reserves. Here they are subordinated to a special supervisory body – the U.S. National Park Service. As for the tourist attractiveness of American reserves, then that definitely has its place: the untouched natural landscapes with pleasure walk and the Americans and millions of visitors. And what to say about the infamous beauty of the Grand Canyon, the grandeur of Yosemite Falls or geysers of Yellowstone, whose famous landscapes repeatedly flashed in popular films, photos and postcards.

So, the most recognizable national park in the United States – the Grand Canyon – according to the TV company CNN is included in the list of Seven Natural Wonders of the World. For the formation of the legendary canyon nature has spent about 10 million years. And she did not try in vain, because the Grand Canyon actually demonstrates a magnificent incomparable spectacle. The Grand Canyon is surpassed only by Great Smoky Mountains, the most picturesque region of the Appalachian mountain system (incidentally, the oldest mountain range on the planet). Although perhaps the secret to Great Smoky Mountains’ popularity is free admission: it’s the only free national park in the States.

Yellowstone, the oldest national park on the planet, carefully preserves its impressive landscapes and unique wildlife. Its popularity is ensured by the system of active geysers, including the world’s largest geyser – Steamboat. Also amazing is the fantastic color palette of Great Prismatic Spring: due to the activity of special bacteria its shores change color from bright orange in summer to dark green in winter. The closest relative of Yellowstone is Yosemite National Park, famous for its fabulous scenery. Its beauty is formed by the vertical granite rocks, sequoia forests, lakes, and the famous waterfall of the same name.

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The largest national park in the United States, Wrangell-St. Elias, is located in Alaska. A quarter of its territory is covered by absolute glaciers. And meanwhile here is the second highest peak of North America – Mount St. Elijah (about 5 thousand meters above sea level).

However, if you leave aside the Alaskan parks, the record-breaker in size would be Death Valley – a mysterious and even mystical natural area, famous for its lifeless, sun-burnt landscapes. Equally mysterious is Glacier, rugged with ridges of pointed cliffs. It’s practically on the Canadian border, as is the famous Niagara Falls.

30 Famous U.S. National Parks

In 2017, more than 87 million people visited U.S. national parks. They are very popular destinations for domestic and international tourism. There are a total of 60 national parks in the States. The criteria for their organization are natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems and recreational opportunities. Very often the national parks include nature protection systems with a different legal regulation. First and foremost, these are U.S. wilderness areas.

They tend to have a common name, but may be managed by different units. This article provides a list of natural areas that are exclusively national parks. Twenty-one parks have biosphere reserve status. The parks are located in 28 states and two unincorporated areas of the United States. California has the most (nine), followed by Alaska (eight) and Utah (five). Fourteen national parks are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The total area protected by national parks is approximately 21,100,000 hectares.

List of the best national parks in America

Grand Canyon

Located in Arizona and covers an area of nearly 500,000 hectares. It was established in 1903 and includes the Colorado River Gorge. Huge drops in elevation and bizarre outlines of cliffs and ledges are features of the park. There are several hiking centers and camping sites in the southern part. There is a free minibus that makes stops at notable sites. There is a geological museum with interactive programs.



Occupies just over 300 thousand hectares in California. It appeared on maps in 1890. The valley is surrounded by waterfalls and rocky escarpments. Particularly notable is Half Dome, which is chiseled out by a glacier. The slopes attract climbers and skiers who hone their skills here. Nature lovers are attracted to other sites, such as a grove of giant sequoias or expansive flower meadows.



Has existed since 1909 in the Utah Territory. The area is 59,000 hectares. The Virginia River cuts the area into conditional sections, and around it are impressive height cascades of rocks and mountains. At different times of the year, the park opens up from unusual angles. There are special trails for mountain lovers, and there is also a paved road for travel by car. Nearby is the Grand Canyon.


Carlsbad Caverns.

Attributed to New Mexico territory since 1930. The area is almost 19,000 hectares. The park is formed around karst caves. There are about 80 of them, and each has its own distinctive features in the form of mineral formations. Inside, there are a million individuals of bats, belonging to 16 different species. Tourists can choose the type of tour and the option of descending into the caves: by elevator or on foot through a well-equipped area.

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Crater Lake.

Located in Oregon, the area is 74,000 hectares. Formed in 1902 around the lake of the same name. The body of water occupies the crater of Mount Mazama volcano, which has not erupted in a long time. Hence the specific shape of the shores – sharp and uneven. A local landmark is the lake wanderer, a log floating vertically for over a hundred years. Because of the low water temperatures, the wood has not deteriorated.


Bryce Canyon

Established in 1928 in Utah. The area is 14.5 thousand hectares. There are many small hotels nearby, some right by the road. The canyon is an orange mounds, as if carved out of stone. Only remoteness makes it less visited than the other three parks located within a radius of 150-200 km. A walk along the bottom of the canyon (from edge to edge) can take a whole day.


Kenai Fjords

Established in 1980 to protect the Arctic territories in Alaska. The area is 283 thousand hectares. More than half of the area is covered with snow and ice. Regular cruises, or glacial tours, are organized. Journey along the fjord takes a few hours and allows you to explore the surrounding area. The main natural attractions are Vanishing Glacier and Harding Ice Field. A marine reserve is located nearby.



Its history begins in 1929. The area is almost 31 thousand hectares of Utah territory. The main feature is the natural sandstone arches. The most famous of the 2,000 arches is the “Exquisite,” popularly called “Cowboy Pants.” Another notable feature is the Balancing Stone: it is not quite clear how it maintains its position. The ideal time to visit the park is spring or fall, but in summer it is very hot.



Occupies an area of 19,000 hectares in Maine since 1916. Because part of the park is a seashore, there is often thick fog. Farther out is the forested area. Among the fauna, a special diversity is noticed among the birds – about 300 species. There are comfortable places to watch them. Baker Island is particularly suitable for this purpose. Paths for hiking stretches for 190 kilometers.


Mesa Verde

Located on the same plateau in Colorado since 1906. The area is 21 thousand hectares. The main attraction are the rock settlements of the VI-XIII centuries, created by the tribes of Anasazi Indians. There are not only houses, more like modern apartment buildings, but also ritual premises, as well as the Rock Palace. It is surrounded by coniferous forests with many species of trees.


Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Established in 1978 to protect the poorland and prairie. The area is 28.5 thousand hectares. Divided into two zones with different time zones. The Little Missouri River flows through the park. There is a hiking route that takes several days. Small cabins without walls are built on the hillside, used for resting places. Snow rams and bison have been introduced by humans, though their population used to be natural.


Black Canyon of Gunnison.

Located in Colorado on an area of 12,000 hectares. Founded in 1999 on the basis of a pre-existing monument, includes 4 natural areas. The history of the park is inextricably linked to both the Indians and the builders of the irrigation tunnel, who developed this land. There is an information center, three camping sites. Leisure activities include rock climbing, kayaking, fishing and hiking.



Formed in Utah in 1964. Its area is 136 thousand hectares. From the name it is clear that there are many canyons. On the rocks were found drawings, which are thousands of years old. They were made, presumably by nomadic hunters. There are viewing platforms built. There are several types of hikes, the shortest taking just over half an hour. There are two campgrounds in the park, with several more outside the park, but in close proximity.

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Founded in 1978. The area is about 94,000 hectares. South Dakota welcomes tourists with ancient prairies (they are the most extensive protected in the country), where not only wild horses, but also bison feel at ease. Excavations on these lands allowed to find the remains of previously unknown species of horses, as well as saber-toothed tigers. Soil erosion is the cause of the formation of such rugged terrain.



Established in the Florida Territory in 1980. The area is almost 70 thousand hectares. 95% of the park is water, and the coastline is mostly mango forest. A popular place to go scuba diving. Another attraction – excursions on a boat with a glass bottom. It is best to come here from early winter to mid-spring. The rest of the time, you can get caught in a period of gusty winds and downpours.


Kobuk Valley

It occupies almost 708,000 hectares in Alaska. It has existed since 1980. Although the park is located above the Arctic Circle, the temperature here rises to almost +40°C. The local sand dunes are a unique natural phenomenon. It is difficult to get here, so there are not many tourists. Sometimes use a dog sled. But geologists are frequent visitors. Among their areas of study are the remains of mammoths resting in the local land.



Founded in California in 1916 on an area of 43,000 hectares. The main natural attraction is the world’s largest lava cone volcano, Lassen Peak. There are other volcanoes, and belonging to 4 different species. Tourists are attracted by mud pots and hot springs. The steam from them can be seen from afar. Some believe in their healing properties, others are interested in the phenomenon itself.


North Cascades

Located in Washington State near the Canadian border. Formed in 1968, the area is 204.5 thousand hectares. Types of terrain are varied: high mountain tundra, meadows, coniferous forests, gorges, glaciers, etc. It is open all year round, but the highway that passes through the park is closed for the winter. There are a couple of infocenters and a few campgrounds. Hiking trails are designed for both experienced hikers who can handle the exertion and beginners.


Petrified Forest

Formed in 1968 in Arizona. The area is 38 thousand hectares. It is conventionally divided into two zones with their own characteristics. In the north there are multicolored poorlands, also called “colored desert. In the south – one of the largest clusters of petrified trees in the world, as well as rock paintings and inscriptions of different periods. Logs of fossilized trees are scattered everywhere: they have retained their shape but changed their cellular structure.


Capitol Reef

Appropriated as Utah land since 1971. It covers 98,000 hectares. It is elongated and narrow in shape. There are patches of greenery, but it mostly looks deserted with chaotic, mountainous elevations. Late summer and early fall are the best periods to visit because of the natural features. There are motels close to the highway. Horseback riding is very popular, but mountain biking is not allowed everywhere.


Cayahoga Valley

Is the only park in Ohio. It has existed since 2000, but it also used to have special status lands. The area is just over 13,000 hectares. There is active farmland in the area. Architectural monuments of the past are also preserved, including the Stanford House. There are trails to historic sites, as the entire area was actively used by people in the past.

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Grand Teton

Founded in 1929 in Wyoming. The area is about 125,000 hectares. The forests are extensive, there are several large ridges, and there are glacial lakes at their foothills. In addition to infocenters (some are not open all year round), there are guesthouses of varying degrees of comfort and service. The total length of hiking trails is 320 km. The roads have been widened with a dedicated bicycle lane.


Guadalupe Mountains

Exists in Texas since 1972. The area is 35 thousand hectares. In total there are three ecosystems, smoothly passing one into the other. Natural attractions: Mount Guadalupe Peak – the highest in the state and El Capitan, the forest called Lincoln, Carlsbad Cave, McKittrick Canyon, and others. There is an information center, ranger stations, picnic and camping areas.


Hot Springs

Located in Arkansas. Was converted from the oldest preserve (1832) to a national park on March 4, 1921. It is a stopover site for many migratory birds, which attracts amateur bird watchers. The park’s hot springs are believed to cure certain illnesses, including rheumatism. A full-fledged resort has sprung up next to them, for those who value enhanced comfort and service.


Mount Rainier

The location is the state of Washington. Time of establishment – 1899. The area – more than 95 thousand hectares. The main natural attraction is the Rainier Stratovolcano. In addition to it in the list of historical places and monuments includes about 50 other objects: relict forests, waterfalls, escarpments, etc. Works tourist center. You can drive around part of the area and do the rest on foot.


Great Basin

Located in Nevada since 1986. Area – 31 thousand hectares. The nature is mixed: from bare mountaintops to lowlands with lakes and vegetation, as well as areas of desert. Attractions: the place where the Prometheus tree used to grow, and the Leman Cave. The first is a pine tree, one of the oldest in the world, the cutting of which has caused controversy. The second is a former national monument named after its discoverer.


American Samoa.

By a 1988 congressional resolution, it occupies the islands of Tau, Tutuila, and Ofu. The area is 3.5 thousand hectares. The misty forests of Tau, rich in birds, are its main feature, as well as the fact that it is the former spiritual capital of Polynesia and preserved old burial grounds. On Tutuila, you can use a car and there are rainforests growing here. Ofu is known for its coral reefs and attracts divers.



Established in 2007 on an area of 10.5 thousand hectares in California. Among the especially visited places are the reservoir, caves, mountain ranges with natural vantage points. The caves have a number of features: some are flooded, depending on the time of year, while others are inhabited by bats. Developed hiking trails are considered quite challenging. Campgrounds are located in the eastern part of the park.



Refers to the territory of Arizona, occupying 37 thousand hectares of the state since 1994. Is part of the Sonora Desert. Of the plants dominate cacti, of which there are 50 species. Research work is constantly carried out to preserve the populations and diversity of flora and fauna. Tourists are accessible year-round, but one must consider the peculiarities of the climate when planning a trip.



Appeared on maps in 1935. Located in Virginia on an area of 80.5 thousand hectares. Just under half of the park has never been influenced by man. The area is covered with hills, and there are overlooks on ridges and near the highway. Waterfalls stand out among the places of interest, and Overall Run is especially popular. Not everywhere you can pitch your tents, there are camping sites and three hotels.

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