Visit‌ ‌the‌ ‌Top‌ ‌National‌ ‌Parks‌ in America

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Natural‌ ‌monuments,‌ ‌dense‌ ‌pine‌ ‌forests,‌ ‌giant‌ ‌cascades,‌ ‌historic‌ ‌petroglyphs‌ ‌and‌ ‌challenging‌ ‌hiking‌ ‌trails.‌ ‌These‌ ‌are‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌things‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌look‌ ‌forward‌ ‌to‌ ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌visit‌ ‌the‌ ‌top‌ ‌national‌ ‌parks‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌USA.‌ ‌

Grand Canyon National Park

Measuring over 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and approximately a mile deep, Grand Canyon National Park features some of the biggest and most spectacular canyons on our planet. This incredible feat of nature was created over the course of millions of years as the Colorado River began to form channels through vast existing layers of rock. Most visitors to the Grand Canyon stay in Las Vegas, arriving to the park’s West Rim by light aircraft, flying across Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on route. West Rim excursions include a trip to the Hualapai reservation, a helicopter flight through canyon gorges followed by a scenic riverboat ride along the Colorado River. The West Rim is also home to the famous horseshoe shaped Grand Canyon Skywalk. This curved pedestrian cantilever bridge juts out over the cliff’s edge and extends for 70 feet. As you walk along the reinforced glass platform, you feel like you’re walking on air, that is until you glimpse the sheer 720 foot drop beneath you! Grand Canyon Skywalk is a superb place for photography and makes a spectacular wedding venue for nature lovers. 

Yellowstone National Park

Home to a huge collection of hot springs, travertine terraces, fumaroles, geysers and mudpots, Yellowstone National Park boasts over 10,000 hydrothermal features including 500 geysers! Nature thrives in this beautiful park, and whatever the weather there’s plenty to see. Old Faithful Geyser is one of the worlds most famous springs - when it erupts it sprays water over 100 feet into the air. Throughout the year you can gain incredible views of Yellowstone from Mount Washburn or visit Mammoth Hot Springs where limestone terraces create the appearance of a frozen waterfall. The park’s vast eco-system also means it’s also home to rare flora and fauna including elk, bison, grizzly bears and bighorn sheep, so don’t forget your camera. If you’re short on time you can enjoy a private tour of Yellowstone National Park and choose the sites you wish to see accompanied by an expert guide.

Everglades National Park

Nestled amongst mangroves and sub-tropical wetlands in southern Florida, Everglades National Park covers 2,357 square miles and has become one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations. The park is home to several endangered species such as the American crocodile, Florida panther and elusive manatee and there are a multitude of ways to see them. Guided ranger tours are available, you can whizz through wetlands on a thrilling airboat escapade, charter a boat or enjoy a leisurely bike ride through scarily named Shark Valley or Snake Bight Trail. If you feel more adventurous and desire a full-on Crocodile Dundee experience, throw caution to the wind and embark on a canoe or kayak adventure. The Wilderness Waterway on the park’s western side covers 99 miles and takes between a week and 10 days to complete! 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is the pride of the USA’s west coast. Home to pioneer museums, giant sequoia trees and waterfalls which glimmer like fire as the setting sun catches them. There are beautiful places to explore off the beaten track like Hetch Hetchy Valley, and if you enjoy hiking, Smith Peak, a 16-mile round trip reaching 3,300 feet elevation boasts breath taking vistas of the lake, canyons and falls. You can fish, raft, rock climb and horseback ride in the park, and if you so choose, you can even bring your own horse! Yosemite is just as appealing in winter too, with cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing available to enjoy around Glacier Point Road and Badger Pass. On balmy summer nights you may wish to stay outdoors beneath the stars, roasting s’mores by moonlight with likeminded travellers, but if sleeping alfresco fills your soul with dread, book a suite at the atmospheric Ahwahnee Hotel and indulge in a hearty dinner and relaxing soak in the tub.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah’s Bryce Canyon is other-worldly. The vast arid landscapes have the highest concentration of hoodoo rock columns than anywhere else on earth. Dramatic skies and changing seasons ensure the colour palette is never the same, so even if you visit Bryce Canyon several times during your lifetime, your experience will always be different. The park is a series of natural bowls and amphitheatres – the most famous being Bryce Amphitheatre, blooming with irregular hoodoos and rouge rock spires. Hiking trails are aplenty, horseback riding is available and views from Sunset, Sunrise and Inspiration Point are spectacular. However, for many, the main highlights of Bryce Canyon are the superb stargazing opportunities. As you sit amongst towering hoodoos, the sparkling northern hemisphere constellations spring from the skies, merging earth with the universe and reconnecting you with nature.

Big Bend National Park

Desert Badlands punctuated with cacti, yucca and wildflowers stretch like a giant patchwork quilt across the landscape of Big Bend National Park in Texas. If you’re seeking peace, solitude and an escape from the outside world, you’ve found the right place. Depending on your timeframe you can hike, drive or kayak to many areas of the park, but if you have a day or two to spare, be sure to walk the Lost Mine Trail. This popular trail leads to a peak which flaunts 360-degree views of the Chios Mountains, and if you arrive early in the morning, you’ll have the place all to yourself. For a more relaxed introduction to Big Bend, drive from Panther Junction to Rio Grande where hot springs and bird watching opportunities await, or trek to Boquillas Canyon and enjoy a leisurely kayak trip along the river. Thanks to zero light pollution, Big Bend National Park is also perfect for astrophotography. You can view the Milky Way and night skies from Balanced Rock, but if the prospect of the Texan wilderness seems a little daunting, hire an experienced ranger to come with you. These seasoned guides can advise which animals and plant life you will encounter on your journey, plus they provide excellent tips on Big Bend’s unmissable highlights.

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