There are around 84 million acres of iconic, sacred and treasured places protected in America’s over 400 national parks. Each one has something special to offer — most notably the most spectacular views in nature. We’ve made a list of the 6 most impressive national parks that should be on your must-visit list. So, start planning your adventure today.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
Located in Arizona, the 15th oldest national park in the U.S. offers you unique combinations of geologic colors and forms. Stretching over 277 miles from rocky and steep walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces southwest. You can reach it form the main entrances on the South Rim and the North Rim. The Canyon’s western edge is aslo the home of the beautiful Havasupari Falls and the town of Supai. Whether you stay here for some hour or for a week, you’ll find plenty of ways to explore the place and enjoy the great surrounding views.
2. Yosemite National Park
The Park extends in nearly 1,200 square miles. It’s best known for its waterfalls, but you can also see here some great deep valleys, ancient giant sequoias, grand meadows, as well as a vast wilderness area and much more. The 3,000 foot smooth granite wall is considered to be the hardest rock to climb in the whole world. On your visit to this amazing park, don’t miss the best close up view of El Capitan, which is located along the Northside Drive.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park
Situated in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park offers you great views of mountains, glaciers and outdoor adventures. More than 3 million people visit this park every year. You can have access to it by horseback, on foot or by car, but the most notable vehicle route is the Trail Ridge Road, which is the highest continuously paved highway in North America. While you are in the area, keep an eye out for an elk – they can be spotted from the car.
4. Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park has the world’s longest cave system. You can explore tunnels and caverns in more than 400 miles in it. Here, thousands of the wonderful creatures (the only mammals that can fly — bats) call Mammoth home. There are offered different kinds of tours in this cave; you can choose to take a walking tour in order to see the vast chamber and comple labyrinths or if you are brave enough, you can choose to go on a 6-hour wild cave tour.
5. Glacier National Park
If you want to experience Glacier’s pristine forests, rugged mountains, spectacular lakes and alpine meadows, you should definitely visit the Glacier National Park. With over 700 miles of trails, this is an adventurous paradise for hikers who are seeking the wild life. You can relive the days of old through historic lodges and chalets and hear stories about the Native American peoples. You can also explore the waterways of the park by taking a boat tour, which starts at the Swiftcurrent Lake or you can rent a kayak or a canoe.
6. Denali National Park
The most well-known national park of Alaska, Denali, offers you a wildlife viewind. Keep in mind, though, before visiting the place, that Alaska is a huge place to be explored in one trip. But you can join to visit the Arctic Crcle flying tour, which takes around 5,5 hours and you can feel all the breeze in the area. The Denali National Park offers you more than 6 million acres of the wildest land in America, including the Mount McKinney, which is the tallest mountain (20,320 feet) in the continent.
This article originally appeared in Fodors by Jayme Moye
Photo by Steven Bratman / CC by