The Top 5 National Parks in the USA

The Top 5 National Parks in the USA

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

The USA has some pretty fantastic national parks and they are a great reason in themselves for planning a visit to the country. There are 58 protected areas in the USA that have been given the title national park and they range from areas in the wilds of Alaska, through to the volcanoes of Hawaii. Visiting the country’s national parks can give you a good idea of the natural habit that has existed for centuries, as well as the obstacles that have had to be overcome for humans to settle here. In fact there is a huge amount to be learned from these fabulous areas – if you’re planning on visiting some of these parks and don’t know where to start, here are some tips on the top 5 national parks in the USA:

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park (http://www.nps.gov/zion/) in Utah is a wonderful spot in which to discover the arid beauty of the state and to explore unique locations like the hanging gardens. Many visitors choose to get to know Zion on horseback and there are some fantastic trails to take through the national park that offer a peaceful way to explore the surroundings. Although the park is populated by canyons, most visitors travel along the bottom of the canyons, rather than along the rims, making the going much easier for those who are not so sure footed.

Yosemite National ParkYosemite National Park (http://www.nps.gov/yose/) has much to offer visitors, from the fabulous hiking trails to the skiing at Badger Pass, the oldest ski spot in the whole of California. Yosemite has been made a World Heritage Site and when you arrive in the area it’s not hard to see why, as more than 90% of the park is a wild and wonderful wilderness. From its famous granite cliffs, to the groves of Giant Sequoia, waterfalls and streams so clear you could drink from them, Yosemite really is a national treasure that has to been experienced first hand.Yellowstone National Park (http://www.nps.gov/yell) was the first place in the world to be recognized as a national park and that should give you some idea of just how beautiful and precious this area really is. The combination of canyons, geothermal activity, wildlife and wilderness is one that attracts millions of visitors each year. Be sure to catch the Old Faithful geyser, see some bison and elk, and watch the fisherman trying to catch trout from the warm waters of the Firehole River whilst you’re there.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park (http://www.nps.gov/acad) is situated just off the coast of Maine and was the first national park to exist to the east of the Mississippi River. It is a national park with all sorts of attractions, from awe-inspiring mountains through to smaller islands, fantastic coastline and lakes that were created during the Ice Age. Acadia is a well-equipped place to visit if you are interested in doing some hiking, as the park is full of campsites where you can stop off on one of the many trails that criss-cross the landscape.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

The main highlight of the Grand Canyon National Park (http://www.nps.gov/grca) is obviously the huge canyon that was formed over many years by the Colorado River and is now more than a mile deep. This park is an adventurer’s paradise as there are so many ways to see it, from white water rafting trips that can last a day to 3 weeks, to taking to the skies above the Canyon in a helicopter. The park is considered a World Heritage Site and there is a huge amount of wildlife to see here among the fascinating rock formations, from elks to coyotes and mule deer.

Although these are the top 5 national parks in the USA, with 53 others to choose from there is no need to restrict yourself to exploring just these locations. Whether you are looking for somewhere to get away from urban living for a few days, or a challenging adventure, America’s national parks have something for every visitor.

Guest post by John for Alamo America Car Hire who provide US car hire with pickups across all major cities and airports. Top image by StuSeeger