Best American National Parks
Are you one of millions who enjoys the natural wonders and pristine beauty of nature? Plan a trip to a National park near you today. There are fifty-eight national parks nationwide there in the United States;. many of the parks mentioned are known world wide such as Acadia, Carlsbad Caverns, Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Park. others less known parks include Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, Denali National Park. and Joshua Tree. Read on to see which park will make a good vacation for you; all of the parks have rugged natural beauty and numerous activities available to all park visitors.
Acadia National Park
Acadia is located in the state of Maine on the Mount Desert Island. This park is known for its granite cliffs contrasting its sandy beaches and mountains in the mist of the sea. The terrain of Acadia varies from meadows and wetlands to dense evergreen trees. What makes this park special is the ever presence of the ocean; it can be seen, heard and smelled though out the park; this creates a unique outdoor experience providing the sounds of the ocean with the beauty of evergreen forest. One activity that is popular and can be done in less than half a day is the drive around the 20 mile park loop; this is perhaps the quick and easy way to see some of this park. Arcadia is an exceptional park with camping, hiking, shopping, lodging and of course good park facilities; a visit to this park has the makings of a good vacation.
Carlsbad Caverns is located in the southeast part of the state of New Mexico, in the Guadalupe Mountains. This park was first made a national monument in October 1923, then later in May 1930 it was designated a national park. At present, this park is over 46,500 acres in size and has 80 plus less known caves. This park is know for its underground chambers and its limestone stalagmites and stalactite; these have formed over a period of years. One of the chambers Carlsbad is known for is a large chamber called the "Big Room"; this room is thought to be the third largest in the United States and the seventh largest chamber in the world. Big Room measures 4000' long by 625' wide and 350' at it high point. To this day, the caverns are being explored; some recent finds include the Guadalupe Room(1966), Bifrost Room(1982) and the Chocolate High in 1993. The temperature inside the cavern remains a steady 56 degrees year round. Carlsbad Caverns can be reached by elevator or by walking the trail to its main entrance. On the surface, Carlsbad has a few hiking trails and a unpaved drive giving access to the desert scenery. In a detached area of the park, is the Rattlesnake Springs Picnic area; this area is an oasis of wildlife habitats. There are many species of birds documented here, at last count over 300. So if you are into cave exploration, and bird watching in a desert environment, Carlsbad may be for you.
One of the oldest national parks is the Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona. The Grand Canyon itself is not the park, but is located in the National park; this park was made a national monument back in January 1908, and later in February 1919, it became a national park; In addition, this canyon is considered a natural wonders worldwide. The Grand canyon is 277 miles long, is 4 to 18 miles wide and is over a mile deep; also, the rock in this canyon is believed to be billions of year old. With some of the nicest hiking trails you will ever enjoy, this park is a outdoors person's haven. In addition to the regular sightseeing along the southern rim, there is whitewater rafting, running and helicopter tours. The north rim has a higher elevation, and is believed my many to have a better view; the south rim is more convenient to main entrance and visitor center. If you like to explorer old architecture and ruins, the Watchtower (build in 1932) is available; also, the newer Skywalk is available too. If you are in good physical shape, a good way to see the canyon is to hike down on foot. If you are unable to hike mules are available . For the truly adventurous a hike down to the bottom, and rafting on the Colorado can be an experience to remember.
Redwood National Park
Located in Northern California with trees as tall as 335 feet, Redwood National park is a nature lovers cathedral; founded in 1968, and with an area of over 131,500 acres, it is here you can see some of the largest living trees on the planet. At this park a variety of trails are available to match your schedule and interest. If you are a mountain biker, you have the choice of paved or dirt roads. If you are into boating there are world class water ways close to the park. Nature lovers will enjoy the variety of wildlife in Redwood. Over three hundred bird species have been documented in the park forest. Also, the park is home to a few species of endangered animals such as the Brown Pelican, Bald Eagle and the Northern Spotted Owl. Some other animals seen include black bears, mountain lions, beaver and elk; Just off the coast Gray whales and Dolphins are seen from time to time. Located near Crescent City along the coastline, this park contains some of the oldest trees on the planet. In addition to the world famous trees, the park has portions of rivers, streams and 37 miles of beautiful coastline; Kayaking is very popular along the coast, and in the park streams and rivers too. Frequently, those kayaking and canoeists travel the Smith river; It is the longest river remaining in California. Another popular water related activity is fishing for salmon. In September 1980 the Redwood Natural Park was named a World Heritage Site. A few years later in June of 1983, Redwood Park was named an International Biosphere Reserve.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is located in northern Colorado. It has some of the most beautiful views of the mountains; with evergreen lined mountains, and snow covered mountaintops, this park is a beauty to behold. The park is divided by the Continental Divide, which gives the east and west parts of the park their own characteristics. East side of the park is drier, with snow covered peaks. If you want something a bit wetter and more green the west side of the park is for you. This park is known for its mountains, trees, hundreds of miles of trails and varied climates. The park also has over 140 lakes, and many mountain peaks higher than 12,000 feet. One other interesting fact about Rocky Mountain is it is surrounded by National forests; on the north and east side is Roosevelt National Forest; on the northwest side is Routt National Forest and lastly southwest of Rocky Mountain park is Arapaho National Forest. The park includes a wide variety of wild life such as Elk, black bear, coyotes, and hawks; also the headwaters of the Colorado river are located here. In addition, this park is know for it hiking trails, fishing, camping and tours. Also, this park has five main visitor centers.
Smoky Mountain National Park
Smoky Mountain National park is located in the area of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains; it is near the Tennessee and North Carolina border. It was made a National park in June 1934, and It is over 500,000 acres in size; this makes it one of the larger national parks in the eastern United States. With a wide assortment of wild flowers(1300 plus) and plants(3000 plus), and the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is no wonder this is one of the nations favorite parks. Also, there are over 500 miles of trails in the park for hiking, including seventy miles in the Appalachian Trail. Some popular activities include hiking, sightseeing, and fly fishing. In addition, this park is home to a very diverse wildlife population; Some species that call Smoky Mountains home include various mammals, reptiles, and over 40 species of fish. Also, this park is home to many species of birds. If you are interested in simple sightseeing of the park visit the Clingmans Dome; it is the highest point in the Park. Smoky Mountain also has historical related attractions; one is called Cades Cove; this is one of the most visited attractions in Smokey Mountain National Park.
Yellowstone National Park
One of the better known national parks is Yellowstone. Founded as a National Park in March 1872 and with an area of over of 3,468 square miles, this park is forever linked to its name and the sleeping giant underneath it's surface. having active geysers such as Old Faithful and other attractions, you can site see for days and see only a small portion of what Yellowstone has to offer. Hundreds of species of mammals, fish, and birds have been cataloged here including a few that are endangered; herds of bison can be seen roaming in the park. In addition to the wildlife, Yellowstone has various recreational activities such as hiking, boating, camping and fishing; also, most road to the geothermal areas, lakes and waterfalls are paved. During the winter, visitors often use snowmobiles or snow coaches to see the park. Yellowstone is more than just a regular park; it is one of the last remaining nearly intact ecosystems, and part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; This ecosystem is home to more than 1600 species of trees and plants that are native to Yellowstone. With pristine beauty, and various recreational activities Yellowstone has the makings of a good adventure.
Yosemite National Park
Spanning an area of over 760,000 acres and located in central eastern California is Yosemite National Park. This park was founded in October of 1890, and was made a World Heritage Site in 1984. This park is known for its water falls, Sequoia trees, and granite cliffs. It crosses the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the 1800's, Yosemite was central to the concept of land preservation; this would eventually lead to creation of a National Parks system; the credit for this work is given to people such as John Muir. Yosemite has three groves of giant sequoia trees they are Mariposa, Tuolumne and the Merced Grove. In addition, Yosemite its known for its waterfalls; because of the sheer drops, the park has many waterfalls. Although this park is large, most of the visitors coming to Yosemite spend most of their time in Yosemite Valley, which is one percent of the park.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is located close to Moab, Utah; this park is 119 square miles. This National park was made a national Monument in April 1929, and later in November 1971 was made into a National Park. Arches has a concentration of over two thousand formations that have been carved because of erosion. Arches sits on top a salt bed, which is the main contributor to formation of arches, balanced rocks and other formations in the park. Climbing on the rock formations is not allowed; however, some approved activities include backpacking, biking, camping and hiking. This park is home to a diverse wildlife population; this includes, scrub jay, peregrine falcon, red fox and mountain lions. If you are into rock formations and observing wildlife in open areas, this park could be to your liking. Should you decide to visit this park, please check to see what areas and activities require a permit. Also, some guided tours are available.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park was made a national park first under the name Mount McKinley National Park in Feb 1917; later in 1976, the park was renamed Denali National Monument, and made an International biosphere reserve. Finally in Dec 1980, the monument became Denali National Park. This park is located in the state of Alaska and covers over 9,400 square miles. The park name Denali means "The High One"; this refers to Mt McKinley. Visitors coming to this park enjoy site-seeing, hiking, and mountaineering. Some of the wildlife found in this park include bears, foxes, caribou and moose; because of the remote location of this National park, it is possible to see what a true wilderness looks like before the influence of man. During the winter months some popular activities include dog-sledding and skiing. This is one of the true unspoiled gems under the care of the United States National Park service.
Volcanoes National Park
Established as a National Park in 1916, Volcanoes National Park is truly unique among the national parks. This park is the result of thousands of years of volcanism; the volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa are some of the main attractions in this park. this park not only gets the attention of locals, it has attracted the attention of the international community; in 1980 this park was made a International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1987 was designated a World Heritage Site. This park is over 500 square miles in size; half of the park is wilderness area for various outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. In addition, the park is home to diverse species of wildlife, which makes it a unique Hawaiian ecosystem. A word of caution about this park; please remember this national park is close to two active volcanoes. Please wear durable shoes, and please stay on the main trails; If you have breathing problems or have small children, please exercise caution when you are close to the volcanoes. With caution and common sense, a visit to this national park has the makings of a memorable vacationing experience.
Other Great United States National Parks
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