Travel Inspiration | The 10 Most Beautiful National Parks in the U.S

August 3, 2022

A lot of the time, the unimaginably beautiful locations we dream of visiting, are a lot closer than we think!

Join us on an adventure where we take you through our pick for the Top 10 Most Beautiful National Parks in the U.S, where we take you to some of the most picturesque landscapes that you didn’t realize was just an hour drive away.

Waterfalls, vast desert plains, mountain ranges, and secret getaways, the U.S has it all!

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a natural spectacle that stretches over 2.2 million acres of wildlands. 

The Park has some of the best hikes, meadows, scenic drives, and waterfalls found in all the country. However, if you’re looking for something a bit different for your next adventure, consider kayaking one of the many lakes or waterways!

This is a great way to avoid crowds, while getting to experience the unforgettable, picturesque scenery on display, as well as the wildlife sightings that you’d never be able to see from the road.  

On the Idaho side of the park, hikers can take part in a 20 minute excursion outside of Yellowstone to Island Park (a hidden gem for ATVing and snowmobiling). The area is also home to Henry’s Lake and Henry’s Fork, giving hikers the perfect opportunity for a bit of fly fishing. 

Make sure to include a visit to Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, or any  of the park’s incredible waterfalls when visiting Yellowstone National Park.   

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Sequoia National Park

A National Park with soaring mountains, rugged landscapes, and cascading waterfalls. It comes as no surprise that Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks were set aside to be preserved for generations to come. 

Home to old-growth forests, which feature six of the largest trees on earth (including “General Sherman” the biggest of them all), these parks will leave you speechless. 

If you plan to visit Sequoia National Park, don’t stop short of the lesser known Kings Canyon National Park, as it is said to rival the beauty of Yosemite. Pack a picnic lunch and visit Muir Rock, overlooking Kings River. You’ll quickly understand why the famed Scottish-American naturalist John Muir, was so captivated by the area.

A drive down into Kings Canyon is not for the faint of heart. The heart palpitating drive is full of switchbacks with steep cliffs. Although the drive is treacherous, the payoff is worth it!

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Joshua National Park

Known as the gem of the Southern California desert, Joshua Tree National Park is littered with Yucca trees(Joshua trees) and has fascinated travelers for years. Joshua National is one of the few places in So-Cal where you can find yourself cut off from the modern world in a truly desolate wilderness. 

Joshua Tree National Park straddles the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, the latter of which is higher and cooler. The landscape is dotted with massive granite boulders, rugged mountains, hidden oasis’, cactus, abandoned mine shafts, and desert-dwelling creatures.

Visit the area for a mountain biking or hiking adventure, as the area makes for the landscape for exploration and discovery. Keep in mind, coming during winter, means you’ll be catching the snow! 

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Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona, is truly an iconic spectacle, with a landscape so captivating, a picture will never do it justice!

Grand Canyon National Park is popular with tourists as the park is easily accessible, being only a days trip away from Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Sedona. 

The rim-to-rim hike is something that every dedicated hiker should put on their bucket list. North Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel Trail is a classic route, but requires training, extra gear, a hiking permit, and a go-getter attitude!

At the bottom of the canyon, hikers can pitch up a tent, and if you’re lucky enough to win a room by lottery, you can enjoy a comfortable stay at Phantom Ranch (the only lodging beneath the canyon rim). The Ranch offers advance reservation dining for weary travelers. 

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Zion National Park

Zion National Park has been deemed. a ‘mecca,’ for mountain climbers, with sandstone cliffs standing at a staggering 2000 feet tall. 

Known for offering the world’s best canyoneering routes, the 2.2 mile Angels Landing trail is considered one of the most dangerous trails in the world. However, don’t be alarmed, the park also offers plenty of easier hikes, and a scenic road tour, which is another great way of exploring the beautiful area.

The park’s most popular attraction, “Virgin River,” is responsible for carving the incredible canyon landscape. The river is also a great place for tubing and other kinds of watery fun! Rafting and Kayaking are both permitted on the river, although you do require an advance permit. 

Travel Tip : From May through September, the Zion Canyon Shuttle is the only way to drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. 

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Bryce Canyon National Park

National Park is truly one of the most breathtaking locations on our list. The park is famous for its orange-red hoodoo rock formations punctured by outlying forest. 

Fun Fact: A hoodoo is a spire-pillar shaped rock formation that juts out from the canyon floor. 

Bryce Canyon is one of the top national parks in the U.S, with microclimates primarily due to the vast elevation differences found throughout the park.

Wildlife lovers will enjoy the all-inclusive access to more than 100 species of bird, dozens of reptiles and mammals, as well as more than 1,000 interesting plant species found in the area.

Highlights : 

  • Sunrise to Sunset Point Hike
  • Swamp Canyon 
  • Natural Bridge 
  • Bryce Point 
  • Mossy Cave
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Arches National Park

Arches National Park offers its visitors an incredible landscape, with red rock arches against a bright blue sky in every direction. 

Since the secret of the park was let out to the public, Arches National Park has seen a significant growth in its number of visitors every year, with 1.7 million people visiting the national park last year alone! To help manage the large crowds, the park now requires timed reservations to visit, between April and October. 

There are many ways to enjoy your visit to Arches National Park. Try a scenic drive, a hike through the mountains, or a bike ride carving your own trail. Consider hiring a guide if you’re pressed for time, but still want to experience everything that the park has to offer. 

Tour guides can take you into the backcountry on an exciting four-by-four adventure, where you can discover treasures hidden from the main roadways, meet the locals and hear their legendary tales, and learn more about the area’s fascinating history. 

Enjoying what you’re reading? Check out our blog on Africa’s Most Beautiful Safari’s. 

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Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park, made famous by the James Franco movie, 127 hours, is a dramatic desert landscape that overtakes all your senses from the moment you step into it. 

Native American rock paintings offer up glimpses of the past, while towering pinnacles of sandstone jut out from the ground into an endless desert sky. 

The turquoise waters of the Colorado River make the orange-red shade of the canyon walls pop with color. Canyonlands is truly up there with the most epically beautiful desert national parks in the USA, and world for sure!

Highlights: 

  • Island in the Sky
  • The Needles 
  • Mesa Arch 
  • Grand View Point
  • Green River Overlook
  • Elephant Hill Trail 
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Rocky Mountain National Park

Although scenic drives are possible all year round in Rocky Mountain National Park, it is the fall season that turns the drive through the Rocky Mountain range into a magical experience.

When the aspens turn from emerald to gold, the elk start bugling for mating season. Watch as hundreds of elk move through the park in large herds, creating one of the most spectacular scenes that you will ever lay your eyes on!

At the western entrance, visitors will come across a beautiful alpine setting located by the Grand Lake. Although the lake is famous for its summer activities, it is even more famous for its incredible snowmobile access and trails in the winter!

Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are also popular activities with winter travel enthusiasts. 

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Grand Teton National Park

Located to the north of Jackson hole, and south of Yellowstone, lies the famously beautiful Grand Teton National Park. With its jagged-peak Teton mountains that can entrance any avid nature lover.

Hikers of the region suggest a stay at Jenny Lake Lodge, a lodge surrounded by every outdoor activity you could dream of, with an added five course dinner. 

Cruiser bike rentals, horseback riding, and a range of other activities for guests to choose from. Guests have access to three lakes within walking distance of the lodge. 

Grand Teton is a photographer’s dream destination. Capture pictures of the iconic John Moulton Barn against the mountain backdrop in the Mormon Row Historic District. 

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