Top 10 Must-See National Parks
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Robert P. Simon
America features 58 national parks, which host some of the world’s most spectacular views, vivid ecosystems, and natural formations.
Each year, visitors from across the globe trek to these famous parks for the chance to be awed by this country’s unique natural landscape. Here are ten must-see national parks for your traveling pleasure.
10. Sequoia National Park
The nation’s second oldest national park, Sequoia National park encompasses over 400,000 acres in California’s awe-inspiring Sierra Nevada. The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the famous General Sherman tree. The park’s Giant Forest includes five of the world’s ten largest trees, and, at 14,505 feet above sea level, Mount Whitney stands as the highest point in the contiguous United States.
9. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The only World Heritage site in scenic Hawaii, this site contains many of the world’s most active volcanoes, including Mauna Loa, the world’s most largest volcano. A veritable treasure trove of geologic and scientific displays, the park also offers visitors stunning vistas of volcanic landscapes, oceanscapes, and rare flora and fauna.
8. Acadia National Park
The first national park east of the Mississippi, Acadia offers residents of the Eastern United states over 125 miles of hiking, as well as two beaches. In all, the park encompasses mountains, forest, ocean shores, and lakes.
7. Rocky Mountains
Perhaps the greatest American location for idyllic mountain vistas, the Rocky Mountain National Park spans over 400 square miles, with hundreds of hiking trails, fishing lakes, and towering mountain tops. Climbers can ascend 60 mountains over 12,000 square feet, while wildlife observers will revel in the presence of elk, moose, and bighorn sheep.
6. Great Smoky Mountains
The most visited national park in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains straddle over 800 miles of breathtaking mountains scape across Tennessee and North Carolina. The park’s myriad hikes, trails, and prairies offer visitors the opportunity to spot black bears, elk, waterfalls, and over 1,600 species of flowering plant.
5. Grand Teton National Park
Famous for its abundant wildlife, including bald eagles, bison, and otters, Grand Teton spans 485 square miles in Northwest Wyoming. Despite over 11,000 years of human history, the site features a pristine natural ecosystem, with a number of flora and fauna species which have existed since prehistoric times.
4. The Grand Canyon
Anchored by the instantly identifiable 277-mile stretch of canyon, this remarkable destination is often considered one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. The park’s primary public areas are focused around the canyon’s North and South Rims, with many tourist-friendly activities and amenities designed to entertain day visitors.
3. Olympic National Park
Olympic is the ideal location for true nature lovers, as the site remains 95% undisturbed. With four separate regions, the park includes the Pacific coastline, and alpine area, a temperate rainforest, and a dry forest, providing something for everyone.
2. Yellowstone National Park
The nation’s oldest and possibly most famous national park, Yellowstone contains 60% of the world’s geysers and hot springs. Old Faithful may well be the most visited geyser in the world. At over 3,800 square miles, Yellowstone is also one of the nation’s largest national parks, and includes myriad lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountains.
1. Yosemite National Park
Best known for its stunning waterfalls, Yosemite hosts over 3.7 million annual visitors. The park features sheer granite cliffs, crystal-clear streams, and forests of giant sequoia trees. In all, the site includes five major vegetation zones, which house over 50% of the state of California’s documented plant species.