At last count, the United States of America has 419 national parks. They include more than 84 million acres in every state and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, making it into the Top 10 is not an easy task.
(Mind you, they all made it into our previously published Top 25 list.) Wondering what they are? Then read on fellow travel lovers as we present a peek at the Top 10 most visited national parks.
Top 10 Most Visited National Parks
10. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park in Montana spans more than one million acres and stretches to both Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. It attracts millions of travelers too. The mountains and lakes here are the results of glaciers. It features 25 active glaciers. Other highlights of this park include the Going-to-the-Sun Road drive, a popular whitewater rafting trip, and the old-fashioned Polebridge Mercantile general store. You can also visit the largest lake in the park, Lake McDonald, hike the Trail of the Cedars, and the Iceberg Lake Trail, or hop aboard a historic red bus and take a tour of the park.
9. Olympic National Park
Down from number seven, Olympic National Park is located in Washington State. It’s neighbors with the Twilight-famous Forks, Washington. Every year more than 3 million travelers come here to explore the vast, unspoiled terrain.
This national park is known as “the quietest place in the nation.” This is largely due to the fact that no roads run through the property. The park features a trio of distinct ecosystems: the Pacific shore, a subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, and the only temperate rainforest in the continental US. Don’t forget the awesome Olympic Mountain range either.
8. The Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is most loved and famous for its 13,775-foot Grand Teton mountain, Jackson Hole, and the Teton range. But this park, visited by at least 3.2 million people every single year, offers more than impressive views. There are also wildlife and beautiful wildflowers.
There’s a lot to do here including backpacking, camping, hiking, and trout fishing. Not feeling overly athletic or adventurous? You can just kick back, relax, and quietly and calmly commune with nature here too.
7. Acadia National Park
The Acadia National Park is located in the state of Maine. It is mainly located on popular Mount Desert Island. The park is actually an unusual combination of seaside villages, private property, and parkland. This park has a lot to offer visitors. Here you can find both the mountain and the sea. You will also find beaches, campgrounds, and more than 100 miles of hiking trails. So go and climb Cadillac Mountain and be sure to see popular Bar Harbor, the Porcupine Islands, famous Frenchman Bay, and Somes Sound as well.
6. Yosemite National Park
Sources indicate that more than 4 million travelers come to this place every year. Most of them spend most of their time in the seven square miles of the park known as Yosemite Valley. It is located in the state of California. Here you can see the world’s largest chunk of granite–the El Capitan. Here you can also see giant sequoias, glaciers, and the Half Dome. Other highlights include 20 waterfalls such as the 2,140-foot Snow Creek Falls, and the well-known 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls as well.
5. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is actually the first national park in the world. It is visited by over 4 million people annually. The park is huge and includes 2.2 million acres spanning parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This park also features alpine lakes, craggy peaks, deep forests, wild animals, and almost half of the planet’s geysers. The most famous of these is, of course, the Old Faithful Geyser. It is also the home of the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. And the park that inspired cartoon character Yogi Bear’s famous home — Jellystone Park.
4. Zion National Park
The Zion National Park is located in Utah’s scenic high plateau country. This park welcomes roughly 4.3 million visitors annually. It has some striking topography including sharp cliffs, sandstone canyons, and rock towers. Here you will discover deserts, waterfalls, crimson rocks, and species of wildlife that do not otherwise live together. The park offers a number of different opportunities to visitors. You can take the family-friendly Riverside Walk or Weeping Rock trail. You can also hike The Narrows, see the Emerald Pools, and the well-known Court of the Patriarchs.
3. The Rocky Mountain National Park
This national park in Colorado encompasses a 415-square-mile area of the famous mountain range. It is separated by the well-known Continental Divide, The eastern half features the bulk of the mountains. The western side is mainly green vegetation. The park has 150 lakes, 359 breathtaking hiking trails, 450 miles of streams, and a range of ecosystems from pine forests to wilder wetlands and is teeming with wildlife to boot.
2. The Grand Canyon National Park
Over 6.4 million people visit this national park. It is home to perhaps the most famous and one of the world’s largest canyons on the planet. The Grand Canyon is up to 18 miles wide and is one mile deep. Visit the well-known Skywalk observation deck, or, if you’re a true hiker, take the two-day trip hiking rim to rim like your wandering writer and his father once did.
. . .and the winner is . . .
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park top’s this year’s “Top 10”national parks list. The official most visited park in the United States stretches across the states of North Carolina and Tennessee. It is world-famous for its diverse plant and wildlife. Over 11 million people came here last year. While a lot of them take in the park from a scenic, mountain-hugging highway, many others prefer its 800-plus miles of hiking trails. Visit the 50-foot observation deck found at the park’s highest point — the popular Clingman’s Dome.