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Top US National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park photo
Tennessee, North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park. It is the most visited national park in the United States with over 11.3 million recreational visitors in 2016. On its route from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail also passes through the center of the park. The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940.

Grand Canyon National Park photo
Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is the 15th site in the United States to have been named a national park. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the park is located in northwestern Arizona. The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered one of the Wonders of the World. The park, which covers 1,217,262 acres (1,901.972 sq mi; 492,608 ha; 4,926.08 km) of unincorporated area in Coconino and Mohave counties, received nearly six million recreational visitors in 2016, which is the second highest count of all U.S. national parks after Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Zion National Park photo
Utah

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a United States National Park located in southwestern Utah, near the city of Springdale. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km) park is Zion Canyon, which stretches 15 miles (24 km) long and spans up to half a mile (800 m) deep. It cuts through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest point in the park is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest peak is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park has a unique geography and a variety of life zones that allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.

Rocky Mountain National Park photo
Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a United States national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and westerns slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.

Yosemite National Park photo
California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a United States national park lying in the western Sierra Nevada of California. The park, which is managed by the U.S. National Park Service, covers an area of 747,956 acres (1,168.681 sq mi; 302,687 ha; 3,026.87 km). Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

Yellowstone National Park photo
Wyoming, Montana, Idaho

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a national park located in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular features. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.

Acadia National Park photo
Maine

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a United States national park located in the state of Maine, southwest of Bar Harbor. The park reserves much of Mount Desert Island and associated smaller islands along the Atlantic coast. Initially created as the Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, the park was renamed and re-designated Lafayette National Park in 1919, and then renamed once more as Acadia National Park in 1929. Over three million people visited the park in 2016. Acadia is the oldest designated national park in the United States east of the Mississippi River, although two eastern Canadian parks are older: Thousand Islands (1904) and Point Pelee (1918).

Olympic National Park photo
Washington

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is located in the state of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side. Within the park there are three distinct ecosystems which are sub-alpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific Shore. These three different ecosystems are in pristine condition and have outstanding scenery.

Grand Teton National Park photo
Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres (480 sq mi; 130,000 ha; 1,300 km), the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. It is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding National Forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world's largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.

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