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The Best National Parks in the USA

Updated August 10, 2020 16.9k votes 2.9k voters 173.3k views63 items

List RulesOfficially protected U.S. National Parks only

List of the best national parks in the USA, ranked by travelers, hikers, campers, climbers, sightseers, and people like you. This list of the most beautiful US national parks includes federally protected lands like Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park, Redwood National Park as well as a few monuments like Rocky Mountain National Park, and administrative units governed by the US National Park Service. From the swampland of the Everglades National Park to the dry dessert land of Death Valley National Park, this list truly shows the diverse nature of America's environment and climate. There is a U.S. national park for everyone. Those interested in camping may want to check out national parks in California, as they offer rugged coastline, waterfalls, and redwood trees. Whereas travelers interested in rock climbing can visit places like the Utah National Parks that offer red rock formations and geological features. 

The NPS maintains the unspoiled nature of US National Parks, ensuring that American holidays spent in the parks are the same for travelers now as they were fifty years ago.  Those planning USA holidays can spend a long period of time in one American national park or pick up a national park pass and visit several different campgrounds in parks. Vote for your favorite U.S. national parks here. Is it Yellowstone? Zion? Sequoia? Consider the best parks for camping and best national parks for spotting wildlife and vote for them to move them to the top of the list.
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  • 1
    United States of America
    700
    223

    Area (km sq.)8983.0

    The first national park in the world, Yellowstone is best known for the Old faithful geyser as well as some 60 mammal species that live in the park including the gray wolf, bison, elk, and grizzly bears.
  • 2
    566
    108
    The park contains 26 glaciers, 130 named lakes, and has some of the best sedimentary fossils in the world.
  • 3
    California, USA
    702
    227

    Area (km sq.)3081.0

    Home of Half Dome and El Capitan, the California park rests in the middle of the glacier-formed Yosemite Valley and boasts the tallest waterfall in North America (Yosemite Falls).

    15 Of The Best Kept Secrets In Yosemite National Park#113 of 115 The Top Travel Destinations in the World#102 of 171 The Most Beautiful Natural Wonders In The World

  • 4
    581
    184
    Wilderness and adventure enthusiasts are drawn to Zion for its rock towers, natural arches, and high plateaus. 
  • 5
    536
    184

    Area (km sq.)4926.0

    The name says it all: Grand Canyon National Park is home to the 277 miles long canyon.
  • 6
    450
    129
    Home to the Jackson Hole valley, the park is best known for its glacial, sage-covered valley.
  • 7
    405
    116
    The park is named for its most recognizable geologic formations, the great sandstone arches. 
  • 8
    366
    107
    Longs Peak and Bear Lake are among the popular spots to visit in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is also inhabited by cougars, black bears, and bighorn sheep.
  • 9
    301
    80

    Area (km sq.)5.51

    Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the big attraction of the park which is also home to the largest glacier in the US.
  • 10
    Washington, USA
    317
    86

    Area (km sq.)3734.0

    The park has a variety of attractions like tide pools and glaciated mountains and overlooks the wettest area of the continental US.
  • 11
    The area in Utah, settled by American Indians and later Mormon pioneers, has a giant natural amphitheatre and hundreds of hoodoos.
  • 12
    Mount McKinly, the tallest mountain in North America, can be found in Denali State Park.
  • 13
    288
    86
    Encompassing many coastal islands, the park is home to the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast.
  • 14

    Area (km sq.)741.48

    The deepest lake in the US was formed by an eruption that created a lake of deep blue color and extreme water clarity.
  • 15
    California, USA
    290
    131
    General Sherman, the world's largest tree, can be found in the Giant Forest found at Sequoia National Park in California. The park also has 240 caves and boasts the highest point in the continental US, Mount Whitney.
  • 16
    The Great Smoky Mountains Park has over 800 miles of hiking trails as well as myriad wildlife species and 80 historic structures.
  • 17
    Aaron Hager addedWashington, USA
    185
    60
    Hiking and climbing areas are the chief attractions of this park which also contains several glaciers.
  • 18
    Aaron Hager addedUtah, USA
    262
    94
    The Colorado and Green Rivers eroded the areas of Canyonlands into buttes, mesas, and canyons.
  • 19
    Located on the big island, the park has two of the world's most active volcanoes (Kilauea and Mauna Loa).
  • 20
    Aaron Hager addedCalifornia, USA
    237
    82
    Almost half of all surviving Coastal Redwoods can be found in this park.
  • 21
    South Dakota, USA
    205
    101
    Rich fossil beds, pinnacles, spires, and buttes define this park.
  • 22

    Area (km sq.)978.95

    The main attraction of the park is a 100 mile monocline that shows the Earth's geologic layers.
  • 23
    164
    75
    The park is home to the second largest tree in the world, a giant sequoia called the General Grant Tree, and has several giant sequoia groves.
  • 24
    181
    87

    Area (km sq.)3196.0

    Sand dunes, dry lakes, rugged mountains, and granite monoliths define this park named for a species of tree native to the area.
  • 25
    Aaron Hager addedColorado, USA
    183
    78

    Area (km sq.)210.79

    Cliff dwellings from the 12th and 13th centure, which include over 150 rooms and 23 kivas, can be found among the park's 4,000 archaeological sites.