From awe-inspiring mountains to the roar of rushing rivers and the paw prints of bears, you’d be forgiven for falling for the lure of national parks in the USA.
Whether you want to escape the tourists or to follow the footsteps of many along iconic hiking trails, these are the five national parks in the USA that you absolutely have to visit (and the things you can’t afford to miss!).
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Many of us have already explored Yellowstone National Park from the comfort of our own homes via the many documentaries on this super-volcano and national park. With an impossibly huge caldera, countless habitats and dramatic geysers, whether you want to look for wildlife, hike in peace or have a guided tour of geographical features, this is one of the best national parks in the USA to do it in!
2. Yosemite National Park, California
If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite National Park, take your camera (and these other travel essentials, while you’re at it!). From free-flowing waterfalls to stunning peaks and wildflower meadows, the varied and vast landscapes of Yosemite are as sublime as they are beautiful. The National Park Service website has detailed information on the best times to see each of the most iconic falls. Their general rule? Seek them out in spring.
Drive out to Hetch Hetchy for postcard views like you’ve never seen before. The glassy lake waters, imposing rock faces and valley views are guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired.
3. Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park is one of the national parks in the USA that pops up most often on my Instagram feed. A hotspot for hikers, grab a backpack and check out this red rocky landscape for yourself! Full of rugged rock faces, sweeping canyons and gaping gorges, you’ll quite literally be walking through layers of history here.
4. Sequoia National Park, California
It won’t come as much of a surprise that this national park is filled with towering sequoia trees. Set amid the Sierra Nevada mountains, even your journey to Sequoia National Park feels special. Once inside the national park, keep your eyes peeled for everything from tiny chipmunks to deer and black bears. There’s a wealth of wildlife to spot and you can stay in several camps or lodges if you’d like more time to explore.
The best part? Thanks to Sequoia National Park’s convenient California location, it’s never been easier to combine natural wonders with city sights. Hire a car, hit the road and take in everything from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to Malibu, Los Angeles and even the wine country in Napa.
5. Glacier National Park, Montana
Spanning the border between the USA and Canada, Glacier National Park is among the most beautiful in all of North America. You’ll already be familiar with the Rocky Mountains range in which Glacier National Park is located. These mountains welcome visitors for everything from winter sports to hiking every year!
Expect to marvel at iconic Montana landscapes. You’ll love the lake views, framed by forests of spruce and fir trees against a backdrop of snow-capped mountain peaks. There are few places more epic or more romantic than this.
Of course, no traveller can explore national parks in the USA on an empty stomach! Get the lowdown on eating out in the USA here to fuel up for your adventure.