United States National Parks

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About United States National Parks National Parks

The national parks of the United States form a cherished collection of protected landscapes, showcasing the country’s diverse natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and remarkable biodiversity. From the towering peaks of Yosemite and the majestic canyons of Grand Canyon to the pristine wilderness of Yellowstone and the stunning coastline of Acadia, each national park offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to explore and connect with America’s most iconic landscapes.

With over 63 designated national parks spread across the country, these protected areas encompass a wide range of ecosystems, including forests, deserts, mountains, wetlands, and coastal regions. Whether seeking adventure in the great outdoors, marveling at geological wonders, or immersing oneself in the history and culture of indigenous peoples, the national parks of the United States provide endless opportunities for exploration, recreation, and inspiration.

From Denali National Park in Alaska down to the Everglades National Park in Florida and from Haleakala National Park in Hawaii over to the Virgin Islands National Park in the Caribbean, there are 63 national parks blessings the United States and visitors with some of the most amazing encounters with nature.

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United States National Parks's National Parks

Rocky coastline of Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

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Arches National Park

Arches National Park

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Badlands National Park up close rock formations

Badlands National Park

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Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

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Shaded coastline in Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

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river view of Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Bryce Canyon National Park hoodoos on the hillside

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Colorful sunset in the Canyonlands of Utah

Canyonlands National Park

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Pinnacle sandstone towers in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

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Stunning chamber in Carlsbad Cavern National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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California's

Channel Islands National Park

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Congaree National Park rainforest

Congaree National Park

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Panoramic view Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park fall foliage

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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Rolling hills of Death Valley national park

Death Valley National Park

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Mount McKinely or Denali without clouds

Denali National Park

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White sand and crystal clear water in the Dry Tortugas

Dry Tortugas National Park

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Everglades National Park Alligator on log

Everglades National Park

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Gates of the Arctic

Gates of the Arctic National Park

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Gateway Arch National Park with cherry blossoms

Gateway Arch National Park

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Glacier Bay National Park scenic landscape

Glacier Bay National Park

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Glacier National Park Lake McArthur

Glacier National Park

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Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park

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Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park

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Great Basin National Park fall foliage

Great Basin National Park

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

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Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Guadalupe Mountains

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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Observation area for Haleakala sunrise

Haleakala National park

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Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

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Hot Springs National Park sunrise

Hot Springs National Park

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Indiana Dunes National Park white sands

Indiana Dunes National Park

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Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

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Joshua Tree National Park hiking trail

Joshua Tree National Park

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Katmai

Katmai National Park

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Kenai Fjords National Park holegate glacier

Kenai Fjords National Park

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Kings Canyon National Park landscape

Kings Canyon National Park

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Kobuk Valley National Park

Kobuk Valley National Park

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Grizzly bear running up the river in Lake Clark

Lake Clark National Park

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Lassen Volcanic National Park mountain

Lassen Volcanic National Park

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Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park

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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

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reflection of sunsetting on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park

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Fall foliage New River Gorge National Park

New River Gorge National Park

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Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

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Olympic Hoh Rainforest trail

Olympic National Park

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Petrified Forest National Park layered landscapes

Petrified Forest National Park

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Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

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Redwood National Park tallest trees

Redwood National Park

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Rocky Mountain National Park maroon bells

Rocky Mountain National Park

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Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

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Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

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Shenandoah National Park overlook of valley

Shenandoah National Park

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Virgin Island National Park

Virgin Islands National Park

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Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park

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White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park

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Wind Caves National Park pair of bison

Wind Cave National Park

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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

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Yellowstone National Park grizzly bear

Yellowstone National Park

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Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

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Zion National Park

Zion National Park

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FAQ’s

1. How many national parks are there in the United States?

There are 63 designated national parks in the United States. These national parks are managed by the National Park Service and are located across the country, encompassing a diverse range of landscapes, ecosystems, and cultural and historical sites.

Each national park is protected for its natural beauty, unique geological features, biodiversity, and cultural significance, offering visitors opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, and enjoyment.

2. What is the largest national park in the United States?

The largest national park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, located in Alaska. Wrangell-St. Elias covers an immense area of approximately 13.2 million acres (about 53,000 square kilometers).

This vast park is larger than many countries, including Switzerland and the Netherlands combined. Wrangell-St. Elias encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, including towering mountain ranges, glaciers, rivers, forests, and tundra.

It is home to numerous peaks, including some of the highest mountains in North America, such as Mount St. Elias and Mount Wrangell. The park also contains significant cultural and historical sites, including remnants of past indigenous cultures and early mining settlements.

Wrangell-St. Elias offers visitors opportunities for hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and exploring the remote wilderness of Alaska.

3. What is the smallest national park in the United States?

The smallest national park in the United States is Hot Springs National Park, located in the state of Arkansas. Hot Springs National Park covers an area of approximately 5,550 acres (about 22.5 square kilometers).

Despite its small size, Hot Springs National Park is notable for its thermal springs, which have attracted visitors for centuries seeking the healing properties of the mineral-rich waters. The park preserves a historic bathhouse row along Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where visitors can still experience traditional thermal bathing.

In addition to the thermal springs, the park offers hiking trails, scenic drives, and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains. Despite its small size, Hot Springs National Park holds significant cultural and historical importance as one of the oldest protected areas in the United States.

4. What was the first national park in the United States?

The first national park in the United States is Yellowstone National Park, established on March 1, 1872. Located primarily in the state of Wyoming, with portions extending into Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is renowned for its stunning geothermal features, including geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. It also boasts diverse wildlife, such as bison, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves, as well as spectacular landscapes, including canyons, waterfalls, and forests.

Yellowstone’s designation as the first national park in the world marked a significant milestone in the conservation movement, demonstrating the importance of preserving natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.

Today, Yellowstone remains one of the most iconic and visited national parks in the United States, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe each year.

5. What is the most popular national park in the United States?

Determining the most popular national park in the United States can vary depending on the criteria used, such as annual visitation numbers, pass-through traffic, or online searches. However, some of the most visited and well-known national parks in the U.S. include Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yosemite. Let’s compare and contrast these parks based on different metrics:

In-Person Visits:

    • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: With over 12 million visitors annually, Great Smoky Mountains is consistently the most visited national park in the United States. Its accessibility, diverse ecosystems, and scenic beauty attract visitors year-round.
    • Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone typically sees over 4 million visitors annually, drawn by its iconic geothermal features, wildlife viewing opportunities, and vast wilderness.
    • Grand Canyon National Park: Grand Canyon attracts around 6 million visitors annually, who come to marvel at its breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.
    • Yosemite National Park: Yosemite welcomes over 4 million visitors annually, known for its towering granite cliffs, waterfalls, and iconic landmarks like Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

The Great Smokey Mountains National Park is situated one one of the major highways in the area as well as situated  neighboring commercial attractions that elevates visits to the park.

Online Searches:

The Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Yellowstone National Park compete for the top positioning in the number of monthly searches.  They each take turns holding the spot at one point or the other.

On the other hand, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park is searched much less frequently.  This suggests that its popularity in visits may be more tied to convenience from other tourist spots that draw visitors as well as the convenience for driving visits from the surrounding area.

In conclusion, while Great Smoky Mountains National Park consistently ranks as the most visited based on in-person visits, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, and Yosemite are also highly popular destinations with significant online interest and traffic due to their iconic status and breathtaking natural landscapes.

6. Which national park in the United States is visited the least?

Determining the least visited national park in the United States can vary based on annual visitation numbers, accessibility, location, and other factors. While all national parks are cherished and offer unique experiences, some parks receive fewer visitors due to their remote location, limited facilities, or specialized attractions. One such park that tends to have lower visitation is Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve encompasses vast wilderness areas in the northern part of Alaska, with no roads or developed infrastructure within the park boundaries. Access to the park is primarily by small aircraft, and visitors must be prepared for remote backcountry travel and wilderness camping.

Due to its extreme northern location, harsh weather conditions, and limited services, Gates of the Arctic receives relatively few visitors compared to other national parks in the United States.

It’s important to note that while Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve may have lower visitation numbers, it remains an important wilderness area and offers unparalleled opportunities for solitude, exploration, and adventure in one of the most remote and pristine landscapes in North America.