Did you know that a century ago there weren’t any guidelines for creating a national park? This was because nothing like them existed anywhere in the world. However, the great minds in the United States got together and decided that the pristine nature should be preserved for posterity and conservation reasons, but they just didn’t know how they were going to go about doing so. Well, with great emphasis on Niagara Falls, which was already ravaged by commercialism, the great minds came up with the National Parks System. This system would be solely charged with overseeing all aspects of these wilderness beauties. And, it is safe to say that the system really has done a great job over the years, but which are the most beautiful national parks?
California’s Yosemite Park is the crown jewel of national parks in the United States and it offers more natural wonders than you will find anywhere else. The park offers everything from glacier-carved beauty to North America’s tallest waterfall (Yosemite Falls). You can hope on the Tioga Pass Road and venture into the high country that will take you past Tuolumne Meadows, which is riddled with a number of fabulous hiking trails.
Hawaii Volcanoes, Hawaii
Hawaii is truly an amazing state alone, but at Hawaii Volcanoes Park you can really watch nature being born right before your eyes. The park is one of the most volcanically active spots in the United States. The park is comprised of two active volcanoes (Kilauea and Mauna Loa) that stretch from the palm-fringed coastline south of Hilo to Mauna Loa’s steaming 13,667-foot summit. The native Hawaiian resources & culture will provide visitors with daily updates of where the lava is flowing so they can take in the beauty.
The park only has one access road, but once you take this road you are venturing into six million acres. The single mostly unpaved 92-mile strip offers serene wilderness views with a high likelihood of encountering much wildlife. However, once you hit Mile 15, you will have to get out of your car and take the shuttle bus. No vehicles besides the shuttle bus are allowed past Mile 15. This is a good thing because the road is extremely windy and unpredictable. With the massive snowcapped peaks of the Alaskan mountain ranges, you are going to be in for a real treat. The park is also home to North America’s tallest mountain (Mount McKinley). This is easily one of the best national parks in USA.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
There is a good chance that you have seen photographs of the Grand Canyon or you have at least seen it in a movie or two. However, there is nothing like seeing it in person. The gorge measures 18 miles wide and there is no way to prepare for its vastness and intense beauty. Standing on the edge and peering down at the Colorado River will be a once in a lifetime experience. The river is curved like a snake and is responsible for carving the canyon’s many layers.
Death Valley, California
There is nothing more otherwordly and stunning as the landscapes at Death Valley National Park. Home to the lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin), and some of the hottest temperatures in the world, Death Valley is a hidden gem in California overshadowed by neighboring parks. Make sure to hike the Zabriskie Point and visit the majestic Mesquite dunes for some of the best scenery you can find.
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