The 6 Most Amazing National Parks In The USA
The US is home to some of the most jaw-dropping scenery you’ll ever see. So wonderful is said scenery that the US government’s Department of the Interior (yeah that’s what it’s called) created the National Park Service, to preserve these beauties and to show them off to travellers like us.
Even Bart Simpson’s version of the Pledge of Allegiance tells us about the mind-blowing fine-ness of America.
Most national parks can be tough to get to if you don’t have a car or go with a tour group. But their remoteness also means you’ll be rewarded with stunning locations of isolated beauty for making the trek. So strap on your hiking boots and your seatbelts and get ready to be wowed by some of the purdiest nature you’ll ever see.
#1 Acadia, Maine
Acadia is home to a plethora of lakes, woodlands and mountains. It’s the only National Park in New England, and is one of the few national parks easily accessible without having to rent a car. Park Loop Road hugs the shoreline looking out at the Atlantic Ocean and is THE spot for awesome views of the surrounding forests and cliffs. Cadillac Mountain is the highest mountain on the east coast. It’s where you go if you want views from the top – from here you can see sunset before the rest of the country does.
#2 Yellowstone, Wyoming
The very first national park in the US, Yellowstone features a selection of geothermal wonders – it boasts the highest number of geysers in the world. The Yellowstone Supervolcano is the largest volcanic system in the US, and on the west side of it you’ll find the largest hot spring in the US, Grand Prismatic Spring. There are also brilliant waterfalls on the Yellowstone River – the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls provide spaces to take spectacular photos.
#3 Big Bend, Texas
Just touching the border of the US and Mexico is Big Bend – named so because of the massive bend in southwest Texas. It spans about 324,219 hectares but its best bits are the Rio Grande – the river on the US-Mexico border, and Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains – where you might see mountain lions and bears. You can also check out the Chihuahuan Desert, which has a surprising amount of flora.
#4 Grand Canyon, Arizona
It’s hard to talk about US National Parks without covering one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Grand Canyon was basically formed by part of the Colorado River cutting through it – although the timespan for this is unconfirmed. The Grand Canyon is fab year-round and is super tourist-friendly. Walks and hikes range from piece-of-cake easy to death-defyingly hard. You can walk, hike or drive along various bits of the “rims” of the Grand Canyon and even take a helicopter ride that drops into the canyon itself. Sunrise is beautiful there – in winter you might even see a layer of cloud filling the canyon to the brim.
#5 Death Valley, California
Dry and hot at most times of year, this national park gives you beautiful sights and amazing rock formations. The Artist’s Palette has rocks in assorted colours, caused by oxidation. Around sunset, when the light hits the rocks just right, it’s a kaleidoscope of beauty. Plus, its terrifying name lends itself to bragging rights (the story is that a bunch of European-Americans called it “Death Valley” when they got lost there in 1849. Only one person from that troop died but for some reason the name stuck).
#6 Hawaii Volcanoes, Hawaii
At this national park you can watch lava FLOW INTO THE OCEAN. The park is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kīlauea, and the world’s most massive subaerial volcano, Mauna Loa. The abundance of hiking trails means you’ll get plenty of views of the lava deserts, lava moulds, craters, steaming cracks, cinder cones and rainforests. There are a heap of vantage points if you take the car around Crater Rim Drive too. Obviously you’ve got to leave the mainland to see it, but it’s well worth it.
(Lead image: Plh1234us/Wikimedia Commons)