The outdoors is a fantastic place, especially in the US. It established the world’s first national parks system and it has served as a model for people all around the globe to envision their incredible, natural scenery protected. In this article, 20 US National Parks Pictures and Photos to Inspire You, you will see the full natural beauty of the US. It is breathtaking to say the least, so let’s get started.
1. Zion National Park – Beauty in Utah
What is really incredible about this photo is that you do not even have to be in shape to enjoy the beauty of nature. You can step right out of your car and bam! You are in nature. The landscape expands before you as your small car meanders through the countryside. Powerful cliffs forged through the might of water tower overhead, ominous in their demeanor. It is quite incredible to say the least.
2. Yosemite National Park – the Best of California
Yosemite National Park was one of the first parks I visited in California. Let me tell you, there is a reason it gets hundreds of thousands of visitors each and every year. John Muir adored this place. On the left, you can see El Capitan and you can see the start of Half Dome on the right. This photo is only the start of the stunning natural scenery you can see in Yosemite.
3. Crater Lake National Park – the Bluest Water in the World
Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park was forged from might of a massive meteor millions of years ago, colliding with Earth to create what you see here today. The plot of land you see in the middle of the lake is Wizard Island. Do not worry though; you won’t find Harry Potter battling Voldemort here. Of all the lakes in the US, this one is the deepest, reaching a depth of 1,943 feet (592 m).
4. Yellowstone National Park – the World’s First National Park
Home to Old Faithful and plenty of buffalo, Yellowstone National Park is situated on top of a super volcano, providing for the regular spews of old faithful you see above. It is the world’s first national park, founded in 1872. The park is spread out across three different states, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It is best known for its geothermal features and wildlife. Buffalo abound, roaming the terrain throughout the park.
5. Badlands National Park – South Dakota’s Finest
Throughout Badlands National Park, you can find scores of buttes and pinnacles, stretching for miles on end. If you are an aspiring paleontologist, then there is a section of the park that features a trail with fossils. You can discover our ancestors on the side of a hilltop.
6. Big Bend National Park – Every Texan Needs to Go Here
Located in Southwest Texas, Big Bend National Park provides plenty of opportunities for isolation to self reflect. The river next to it, the Rio Grande, meanders along, drifting aimlessly with no particular intent but the slow passage of time. Dozens of various birds can be found throughout the park. Take a look overhead; they are bound to be above you. The park offers scenic drives and magnificent back country.
7. Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Wet, Damp, and Dark
Located in the Chihuahuan Desert of Southern New Mexico, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers a great opportunity to go spelunking. Look above you and you will see stalagtites. Look below you and you will see stalagmites. When both come together, they form a column. Some can become quite large like the one you see in the image. Nothing is quieter than a deep, wet cave.
8. Channel Islands National Park, a Relaxing Getaway
The image looks like footage out of Jurassic Park. Do not worry though. It is only the Channel Islands off the coast of California. Comprised of five ecologically rich and different islands, the Channel Islands teem with life. Each year, whales and flowers arrive to the islands, providing its visitors with stunning life to gasp in awe at.
9. Congaree National Park – South Carolina’s Natural Jewel
Of all the parks in the United States, Congaree National Park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottom land hardwood forest, giving the park an ancient and mystical feeling to its visitors. Birds abound throughout the park, offering the opportunity to bird watch. The park also contains some trees over 500 years old.
10. Denali National Park – Home to America’s Tallest Summit
Denali is a sight to behold. It erupts from the landscape, forcing you to come face to face with the largest mountain in North America. Throughout the park, you can find deciduous taiga, tundra, glaciers, snow, and bare rock. The park is excellent for mountaineering, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
11. Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming Welcomes You
Established in 1929, the Grand Teton National Park includes the major peaks of the Teton Mountain Range. From prehistoric times to the present day, the same species have virtually always existed in the park. For visitors to the park, it offers mountaineering, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and other forms of outdoor recreation.
12. Great Sand Dunes National Park – a Sandy Adventure
Colorado is home to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The park offers hiking, backpacking, sand sledding and boarding, night experiences, four wheel driving, hunting, and much more. It is a sight to behold, mountains rising behind the sand dunes.
13. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tolkien’s Range
The Smoky Mountains are not just to be found in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but between Tennessee and North Carolina. Lush forests and colorful wildflowers dot the landscape, providing reason to consider a thru hike on the Appalachia trail. For visitors to the park, there are plenty of trails, domes, falls, and coves to see.
14. Haleakala National Park – Bring Your Surf Board!
Located on Maui in the Hawaiian island chain, Haleakala National Park is a sight to behold. Leave for the volcano summit early before the sunrise and watch the colors light up the early morning dew. Fog rolls off the hillsides. You can imagine the steam rise from lava touching ocean. For visitors to the park, there is plenty of hiking, biking, and sky observing to behold here.
15. Joshua Tree National Park – Named so by the Mormons
Located in Southeastern California, Joshua Tree National Park is home to the famous Joshua Tree. The park straddles the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. It offers astronomy, hiking, climbing, scenic driving, birding, and camping. The name for the Joshua Tree comes from the Mormons who crossed into the region in the 19th century.
16. Lassen Volcanic National Park – Another Big Volcano
Located on a subduction zone in Northern California, Lassen National Park boasts of many geothermal sites, providing its visitors with plenty of heated site seeing spots. Throughout the park, you can find old growth forests and ancient hilltops. The park continues to be as it was before European settlement.
17. Mammoth Cave National Park – Spelunking Time!
Located in the karst cave systems of Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is long. It is 400 miles (644 km) in length, making it the world’s longest cave system. For its visitors, park rangers offer tours of the caverns, providing factual information about how the caves formed.
18. Mount Rainier National Park – Washington’s Tallest Summit
Mount Rainier is the highest point in the Cascade Range. Each year, you can see 1,000s of mountaineers attempt to summit the mountain but only 50% make it to the top. Glaciers, valleys, waterfalls, sub alpine meadows, and gorges encompass the mountain in the surrounding area.
19. Voyageurs National Park, a Boater’s Dream
If you like boating, then this is the park for you. The park was named after the voyageurs, the first Europeans to come into the area. They were French fur trappers. In the winter time, the park is perfect for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. You can boat, fish, hike, and camp year round here.
20. Virgin Islands National Park – a Caribbean Paradise
Covering an array of islands and ocean off the coast, the Virgin Islands National Park is just splendid for a getaway. Most people come to the Caribbean to drink rum and party; but here on these islands, you can snorkel, hike, and take long walks on the beach.
Final Thoughts to Send You to a National Park
In one of my previous articles, I looked at the Best National Parks in California. If you are considering a visit to the Golden State sometime soon or are already there, then I suggest you check out the article. It will look at some parks I discussed here in greater detail.
Well, a new day stands before you. Are you ready for an adventure? Find a park near to you on the National Park Service’s website and experience life as you never have before. You need it. The cool breeze is calling you. The view from the summit is sure to be breathtaking. Buffalo await your arrival. A hiking trail needs your boot prints on them. What are you waiting for? Click on the link below and find adventure near you!
Otherwise, if you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, please comment below and remember to share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!