America has celebrated National Park Week in April. Its national parks have completed a century. 300 million people visit these wonders every year. But out of 59 national parks, deciding which one to visit is a daunting task. Here’s the roundup of top 8 parks to explore:-
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
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Acadia National Park is at 1,530 foot on Cadillac Mountain and in October till March, the first sunlight in the U.S arrives here. The crowd erupts in cheers when they gather on the highest peak of the mountain along the Atlantic coast and when the sun appears on the horizon.
Spread across 47,000 acre, it’s one of America’s top national parks visited by 3 million visitors per year taking in the view of rugged shoreline, protected covers, rocky islands, protected covers; spur fir forests, wetland and mountains. 20 mile of variety terrain on park loop road takes one above the sea before veering through mountains forests and valleys. Hike on 125 miles of trail or bike along 55 miles of historic carriage roads.
Champlain Mountain also has amazing views where one can enjoy vistas of the Atlantic and Frenchman bay. This park also allows to bird watch and is considered great for spying on marine life such as seal and whales. For better scenery, hire a boat cruise or rent a kayak or a canoe.
2. Glacier National Park, Montana
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This 1 million acre park extending south from US Canada border has wildlife as mountain goats and bears which roam in its vast plains. It also has 25 active glaciers including Grinnell and Sperry. There’s so much to discover here. Its towering rocky mountains, scenic waterfalls, meadows, colorful wildflowers forests during spring look beautiful. It also features 762 blue alpine lakes involving McDonald and St. Mary Lake. Go kayaking or canoeing or hire a boat, a classic wooden one.
3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
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Everyone has seen the picture of Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is Grand. It’s a mile deep and 18 miles wide. More than 5 million people visit it every year.
Most of the people visit it from the South Rim. The inner canyon view, Colorado River and Bright Angel Canyon is gorgeous and can be viewed from Yavapai Point, near the visitor area. It is worth a hike down its trails.
Explore classic whitewater rafting along 277 miles of Colorado. The river carved out of canyon’s multicolored layers, is an unforgettable experience in itself.
4. Great Smokey Mountains, North Carolina/Tennessee
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It is one of the mostly visited with more than 10 million people admiring its wonders every year. 584 miles of the park besides roadways have scenic beauty and highest point at 6,643 feet. Ancient mountains are the major attraction. The astonishing wildlife consists of 17,000 animals and plant species and 95% of the park is forest which is a quarter of that old growth. The park also features 500 miles of fishing streams.
5. Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado
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Only 1.5 hours north of Denver, Rocky Mountains are attractive and around 4 million visitors come here every year for its incredible alpine scenery and it is home to 72 peaks taller than 12,000 feet. Ridge road is the highest continuous road in the country having 48 mile trail across Continental Divide. One can see valleys, forests and peaks and glaciers covered in snow.
This park has 141 species of butterflies, black bears, bobcats and mountain lions which are hard to spot.
6. Yellowstone National Park , Wyoming, Idaho & Montana
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This is first national park of the world. Experience 4 million visitors each year. Spread over 2.2 million acres consisting of hydrothermal features mud pots & hot springs. One can boat around North America’s highest lake and explore vast forests including one of the world’s largest petrified forests formed by volcanic eruptions, 50 million years ago.
7. Yosemite National Park, California
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Covering 1000 square miles in east California, Yosemite is a shining star among U.S’s top national parks. It has abundant natural wonders in the valley. It is visited by more than 4 million visitors every year. El Capitan cliff is a famous & hardest rock climbing destination in the world. It has incredible waterfalls change their characters along with seasons including falls, highest of 2,425 feet. The park offers hiking, rafting, climbing, camping and wildlife viewing chances. Dears, bears, coyotes can be easily sighted.
8. Zion National Park, Utah
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The park has 232 sq. miles involving scenic canyons created by million years of flowing water. It has massive sandstone cliffs in varied shades of beige, pink, orange and red which surround it. Narrow canyon slots make for interesting hiking. Waterfalls and springs maintain colorful hanging gardens. Around 1000 species of vegetation flourish here.