THE 7 WONDERS THAT ARE AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS TO VISIT BEFORE YOU DIE
| June 5, 2018
Politics aside, if there’s one thing America doesn’t need to make “great again” it’s its national parks, along with the system that was founded to oversee and preserve the country’s greatest treasures. Not only are their very existence democratic, Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed, they’re also “the enrichment of the lives of all of us.” To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, we marvel at seven of its best parks and hope we, you, and everyone don’t go kicking the bucket before giving them a visit.
1. Yellowstone, Wyoming
Of course, we have America’s—and the world’s—first ever national park on the list. Established in 1872, the park attracts millions of visitors every year with half of the world’s hydrothermal features located there, including otherworldly chromatic pools, hot springs, and geysers, the famous most renown of which is the Old Faithful geyser.
2. Arches National Park, Utah
You may recall the opening scene of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade which is set against a certain sandstone formation. That would be Utah’s own Delicate Arch at Arches National Park. Visiting the park this spring would surely be a treat for Indy fans but not that we’re not saying it needs Hollywood’s help. It’s a natural wonder in its own right: with 2000 plus natural arches and spires, and don’t forget various family-friendly trails.
3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
You don’t want to take this no-brainer for granted. There’s a reason why Ron Swanson famously says, “Crying: acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon”. It’s that beautiful. We recommend seeing the breathtaking panoramic view from the Desert View Watchtower or by embarking on the Rim Trail and tick off all the essential viewpoints.
Sneaking a glimpse of the Grand Canyon through a crack in the wall! Challenging shot to take as it was a long way down . . . . #wisconsinwanderer #getoutstayout #skychasers #sunsets #west #southwest #skyfire #riversandroads #gowest #grandcanyon #coloradoriver #arizona #wanderlust #hikingadventures #hikemore #hikearizona
*While in the Grand Canyon area, you might want to stop by the Horseshoe Bend overseeing the deep blue Colorado River (only 5 miles from the beginning of the park). Having attracted more visitors each year, it’s considered another must-see destination, one to cap off your Grand Canyon experience.
4. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite truly is the bellwether of all national parks. From the highest waterfall (Yosemite Falls) to the tallest trees (the sequoias of Mariposa Grove), from the pristine peaks (Hetch Hetchy) to magnificent monoliths (El Capitan), the wonders that Yosemite offers never cease. You’re guaranteed to witness more natural formations and technicolours here than anywhere else in the same amount of time spent.
5. Olympic National Park, Washington
Talk about a park that has it all—the alpine mountains, the wildflower meadows, the gemstone Pacific coastline, and the lush temperate rainforest. On top of it all Mount Olympus, the home of the gods (the British trader who named it obviously didn’t think we mortals were worthy) and the snowcapped peak (7,980 ft) and one of the most stunning areas in Washington.
6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
Spring is sprung and there’s no place to be hitting the road for than this interstate national treasure. Prepare to be received by over 1,600 species of wildflowers, more than any other parks in America, in lush bloom as you drive along the 31-mile stretch of incredible landscapes or switch it up a bit by hopping on the Great Smoky Mountains train, goggling at the scenic woodlands from the comfort of a First Class compartment.
"I'd been on the A.T. for a few days trying to land a shot, after a few nights of getting skunked I spent the night exchanging stories with the SOBO Thru-Hiker Mista Clean. He gave me whole new appreciation for determination. Funny how I got the light I was searching for the very next morning. Good luck on that last week man! " … Words and photo courtesy of @steve_yocom. What gets you outside and on the trail? #MotivationMonday
7. Glacier National Park, Montana
Who needs a ski trip to the Alps when you have America’s own snowcapped “Crown of the Continent”? Expect plenty of good day hikes (Lake McDonald and Many Glacier trails) and wintery wonderful activities like cross-country skiing and canoeing (Polebridge and St Mary Lake). If you’re visiting in warmer seasons, the Going-to-the-Sunny Road offering panoramic views of Glacier’s park-wide highlights is not to be missed.
Last light in the calmest section of St Mary Lake, Montana. I had relegated this image to the B roll folder. The light was pure but there was too much space between the kayaker and the upper shore. Well I just stumbled upon it and the first thing I laid my eyes was the reflection of the clouds on the water. So here it is…