August 4, 2022
most famous national parks in US

12 Most Famous National Parks in the USA

The USA has some of the best national parks in the world, each with its own unique and awe-inspiring features that attract tourists from all over the globe.
In this article, we will take a look at the top 12 best and most famous national parks in the US, along with a brief overview of each location’s significance.

1 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

most famous national parks in US
Image by Shandianxiaojie_526 from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 4.86 million
  • Location: In the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
  • Best time to visit: April to May and September to October

Activities to do

  • Ski & Snowshoe
  • Ridemobile & Snowcoach
  • Camp in the backcountry
  • Hiking
  • Horse Riding
  • Wildlife Watching

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Grand Prismatic Hot Spring
  • Fairy Falls Trail
  • Old Faithfull Geyser Loop Trail
  • Upper Geyser Basin
  • & many more

Yellowstone is a very large national park and is one of the most famous in the US. Located mainly in Wyoming, the park covers an area more than twice the size of Rhode Island and contains abundant wildlife, including bears, elk, wolves, bison, moose, and over 50 different types of reptiles and amphibians.

Yellowstone’s been popular since its start. Even if Yellowstone didn’t hold the incredible honor of being the world’s first national park, it would still attract tourists for its gorgeous scenery and abundant wildlife. Lots of tourists visit during the summer when trails are open for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

2 Glacier National Park, Montana

most famous hikes in US
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 3 million approx.
  • Location: Montana
  • Best time to Visit: Late June through mid-September

Activities to do:

  • Hiking
  • Backcountry Camping
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • River camping
  • Special events

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Avalanche Lake
  • Grinnell Glacier Trail
  • Highline Trail
  • Iceberg Lake Trail
  • Hidden Lake Trail
  • & many more

Glacier National Park is known for its alpine lakes and high peaks, this park hosts plenty of free ranger-led activities like guided hikes and stargazing events. The park is also open year-round, which means you can take your time exploring; most roads are only open during the summer months. Located just south of Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park, Glacier is home to close to 300 miles of hiking trails. Don’t miss St. Mary Lake, one of several picturesque lakes within park boundaries.

3 Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 4.5 million approx.
  • Location: California
  • Best time to visit: Fall season

Activities to do:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing
  • Fishing
  • Rock climbing
  • Water activities

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Half Dome Trail
  • Yosemite Falls Trail
  • Four Mile Trail
  • Mirror Lake Loop
  • Valley Loop Trail

California Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks in the USA. Its granite cliffs, waterfalls, meadows, and deep valleys make it a wonderland for outdoor activities. But it is also home to many historic buildings and sites like Yosemite Valley, Tunnel View, El Capitan Meadow, Half Dome, etc. More than 4 million people visit Yosemite each year to explore its beauty. The park receives about 30% of all park visitors in America, making it one of the most visited national parks in the USA.

Read More: Best day hikes in Glacier National Park

Read Morre: Best Hiking Trips in USA

4 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park
Image by Dom Carver from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 6 million approx.
  • Location: Arizona
  • Best time to visit: Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit.

Activities to do:

  • Hiking
  • Helicopter Tours
  • Cultural & Theme tours
  • Camping
  • 7 many more

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Bright Angel Trail
  • South Kaibab Trail
  • Hermit Trail
  • Ken Patrick Trail
  • Uncle Jim Trail
  • Cape Royal Trail

Considered one of the most famous national parks in the US, it is popular for its overwhelming scenery. With cliffs more than a mile high, you will feel small while standing on its rim. A mule ride down into Grand Canyon offers visitors an unforgettable experience.

5 Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee/North Carolina

most famous national parks in US
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 14.1 million
  • Location: North Carolina – Tennessee
  • Best time to visit: Summer & Fall

Activities to do:

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Horseback Riding
  • Bicycling

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Alum Cave Bluffs
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Chimney Tops
  • Andrews Bald
  • Charlies Bunion

Another famous national park in the US is located between North Carolina and Tennessee along the border with Kentucky. The range was created by tectonic forces approximately 300 million years ago.

Today, it is one of America’s most visited national parks due to its closeness to large metropolitan areas like Knoxville and Asheville. Park visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, camping, and fishing as well as exploring Cades Cove (the largest cove east of the Mississippi River) on an old-fashioned stagecoach ride or by taking a scenic drive through Cataloochee Valley on one of several backcountry roads that lead into remote sections of the park.

6 Sequoia National Park, California

most famous national parks in US
Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay
  • Visitors Per Year: 1.2 million
  • Location: California
  • Best time to visit: June to September

Activities to do:

  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Watching
  • Picnicking
  • Camping

Famous Hiking Trail in Park

  • Moro Rock Trail
  • Tokopah Falls
  • General Sherman Tree Trail
  • Mineral King to Eagle Lake Trail

Sequoia National Park is known for its immense, ancient trees and underground caves, Sequoia is a hiker’s paradise. The park’s easy trails make it an ideal place to spend a sunny day admiring nature and enjoying a picnic with the family. However, not all of Sequoia’s natural features are easily accessible. To truly appreciate everything that makes Sequoia special, you need to get off-trail (with a permit).

Exploring on foot allows you to view wildflowers and catch glimpses of rare wildlife from vantage points most visitors don’t see. It also allows you time to think about what you see—and why these beautiful forests deserve protection—while walking through them.

7 Zion National Park, Utah

most famous national parks in US
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per Year: 4.4 million
  • Location: Utah
  • Best time to Visit: Fall season

Activities to do

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Climbing
  • Camping
  • Horseback Riding
  • Sunset & Stargazing

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Angel’s Landing Trail
  • The Narrows
  • Scout Lookout
  • The Watchman Trail
  • Emerald Pool Trail

Zion National Park is, located near the town of Springdale in southwestern Utah. The park covers an area of 229 square miles with a stunning array of red rock formations, making it one of the US’s most famous national parks.

Over 4 million visitors come to Zion each year for its spectacular scenery, excellent hiking trails, and numerous campsites. Visitors can also enjoy guided ranger tours and even horseback riding along cliff-side trails. Located around 160 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada, visits to Zion are among America’s most popular national parks.

8 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

rocky mountain national park
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 4.6 million
  • Location: Colorado
  • Best time to visit: June to September

Activities to do

  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wildlife Watching
  • Picnicking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • & many more

Famous hiking trails in Park

  • Pear Lake
  • Alberta Falls
  • Deer Mountain
  • Twin Sisters Summit
  • Flattop Mountain
  • & many more

Rocky Mountain National Park is located approximately 55 mi (89 km) northwest of Denver, Colorado. The park border lies within three counties, Larimer, Boulder, and Grand County.

The Continental Divide runs directly through the center of the park with its high elevation peaks, including Longs Peak at 14,259 feet (4343 m), Mount Meeker at 13,911 feet (4309 m), Hallett Peak at 12,973 feet (3201 m), as well as many other fourteeners along with tributary mountain ranges. Among the U.S.

9 Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 3.4 million
  • Location: Wyoming
  • Best time to visit: September through mid-October

Activities to do

  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives
  • Wildlife Watching
  • Camping
  • Boating & Floating
  • & many more

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Taggart Lake
  • Jenny Lake Trail
  • Lake Creek – Woodland Trail Loop
  • Phelps Lake Overlook
  • Lunch Tree Hill

Grand Teton National Park offers something for everyone. From stunning mountain scenery to lakes, rivers, wildlife, hiking trails, waterfalls, and much more, it’s easy to see why so many people visit each year. Whether you want to spend a few hours or a few days exploring Grand Teton National Park, there are plenty of options for everyone from beginners to experts! To help you get started planning your trip here are some helpful tips on how to make your visit as memorable as possible!

This National park was first established as a national monument by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The park was then later renamed to its current name of Grand Teton National Park by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 29, 1943. The majority of visitors to Grand Teton visit during July and August when wildflowers are at their peak.

However, if you’re looking for fewer crowds but still want to enjoy all that nature has to offer, September through mid-October is your best bet for finding peace within one of America’s most popular parks!

10 Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Hawaii volcanos national park
Image by Art Bromage from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 1.2 million
  • Location: Hawaii
  • Best time to visit: November through March

Activities to do

  • Hiking
  • Balloon & Helicopter tours
  • Scenic Drives

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Kilauea Iki Trail
  • Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park) Trail
  • Nahuku – Thurston Lava Tube
  • Sulphur Banks
  • Halemaumau Trail

Experience some of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, it is one of America’s most popular national parks for good reason. The park is home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, both of which are considered sacred by native Hawaiians.

Visitors can hike down into lava tubes or take a helicopter tour to see lava flowing from Kilauea’s Pu’u O’o vent—one of only three places on Earth where you can witness such an event in person.

11 Olympic National Park, Washington State

Olympic national park
Image by Roger Mosley from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 2.7 million
  • Location: Washington State
  • Best time to visit: Spring & Fall

Activities to do

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Backpacking
  • Wildlife Watching

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Mount Storm King
  • Hurricane Hill
  • Marymere Falls Trail
  • Hole in the wall
  • Ruby Beach

One of our most popular national parks in America, Olympic is located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (hence its name). The peninsula is home to some of our most famous national parks in America – including the Olympic.

With over one million acres of protected land, Olympic features a wide variety of natural wonders including pristine alpine lakes and majestic old-growth trees that are more than 1,000 years old! If you’re looking for some of our most popular national parks in America, look no further than Olympic National Park! It was designated as a national park back in 1938, making it one of our most visited national parks in the USA.

12 Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon national park
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
  • Visitors per year: 2.5 million
  • Location: Utah
  • Best time to visit: May Through September

Activities to do

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Stargazing
  • ATV riding
  • Horseback Riding
  • & many more

Famous Hiking Trails in Park

  • Navajo/Queens Garden Loop
  • Sunset Point
  • Inspiration Point
  • Queen’s Garden Trail
  • Fairyland Loop
  • Mossy Cave Trail

The park has over 800 miles of trails, including 12 miles of cross-country ski trails that are groomed by park staff. During winter months, visitors to Bryce Canyon often spot deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and even coyotes on their way to see Utah’s most famous national park. In addition to its natural beauty, Bryce Canyon is also known for its geological history.

The rock formations found throughout the park were formed by erosion from water and wind over thousands of years—and some date back as far as two million years ago! Over time, plant life began to grow among these exposed sedimentary rocks, and trees eventually developed alongside shrubs and bushes.

Today, the most popular national park in the USA attracts millions of visitors each year thanks to its stunning scenery and unique geology; during peak season, it can receive upwards of 20,000 guests per day!

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