National parks have earned a place in our hearts. They are not only a history lesson but also a geographical one. They give us a timeline of the earth through erosion, glacier formation, and volcanic activity. They are also reminders of the natural beauty of the United States. They give us the opportunity to connect with nature and unplug from the world. It’s amazing the serenity one feels when hiking or camping in one of these parks. There are 419 national parks (units) that are managed by the National Park Service. These national parks include historic monuments, battlefields, burial sites and more. Visiting one of these parks should be on your bucket list. Here are the top three national parks in the United States.
Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – This park is 277 river miles long and 18 miles wide. Established in 1919, the Grand Canyon has won over crowds with its history, colors, and geology. There are several areas to visit during your trip, such as Lipan Point, Mather Point and Mary Colter’s Desert View Watchtower. What is amazing is that the Grand Canyon was carved from the Colorado River. We can see the erosion and volcanism that made up the almost-rigid sedimentary rocks and their gorgeous colors. There are nearly 40 layers of rock in the Grand Canyon wall. Don’t forget to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk! Not for the faint of heart, this horseshoe-shaped glass bridge expends 70 feet over the rim of the Grand Canyon, providing a view of 4,000 feet down to the canyon floor.
Yosemite National Park (California) – Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite spans nearly 1,200 miles and offers unparalleled beauty with its ancient sequoias, granite cliffs, and breath-taking vistas to name a few. The park was first protected in 1864 but became an official park in 1890 by an act of congress. Yosemite has a number of places to explore, including the Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove, and Hetch Hetchy. Each one features unique geographical features (e.g. rock formations and waterfalls) that enhance your outdoor activity, whether it’s hiking or rock climbing. If you are not into camping, there are several types of lodging in the park from bed and breakfasts to cabins.
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana & Idaho) — This massive park spans over 3,400 miles with the majority in the wilderness. Home to Old Faithful geyser, the park is an amazing display of colors. The Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin features blues, yellows, greens, oranges, and browns and is a large as a football field and deeper than a 10-story building. The boardwalk gives you the best views of the many thermal features in the park. Hiking is also big at Yellowstone. When hiking the Mount Washburn Trail, you’ll see a variety of greens from the valleys below. You’ll get an even more spectacular view at the 10,243-foot summit. Also, Yellowstone was the first national park in the United States, established in 1872 and commemorated by Ansel Adams photographs.