10 Must See National Parks for Nature Lovers - Travel Tamed

10 Must See National Parks for Nature Lovers

December 30, 2011

There are many beautiful sites in the United States just waiting to be explored by nature lovers and the budget conscious alike. Touring a national park offers visitors an amazing opportunity to see sensational scenery as well as the wildlife and plants that still thrive in these protected portions of the United States.

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Source – mikerhicks

Covering parts of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park has more than 800 miles of hiking trails throughout the Appalachian Mountains. More than 9.4 million visitors per year tour the Smokey Mountains to experience the countless streams, rivers and waterfalls located in this beautiful area. The park is open year-round and all areas are accessible throughout the year making this an excellent park to visit for wildflowers in the spring and summer, changing leaves in the fall and a true winter wonderland in the colder months.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Source – robinh00d

The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is the second most commonly visited park in the United States with more than 4.4 million visitors. Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon reveals millions of years of our world’s history through the exposed layers of rocks as the Colorado River runs along the bottom of the deep canyon. Hiking, sight-seeing and white-water rafting are all popular pastimes in the Grand Canyon National Park.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Source – 19942094@N00

An ideal location for rock climbers and hikers, families are also welcome at Yosemite National Park. Located in the center of California, the 1,200 square miles of the park makes it almost as large as the state of Rhode Island. Explore the Sierra Nevada Mountains or take a drive and short hike through the giant sequoia trees that grow in the damp northern rain forests. From wildlife and towering waterfalls to extreme sports, there’s something for everyone in this national park.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Source – gabri_micha

One of the best spots for wildlife spotting, Yellowstone National Park is home to free-roaming bison and grizzly bears as well as many smaller animals that call this rugged land home. Yellowstone National Park is home to Old Faithful, perhaps the most famous geyser in the world, and the geysers are so popular the roads can become backed up – especially during the peak visiting seasons in the summer months. Larger than Delaware and Rhode Island together, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Source – gabri_micha

Just west of Seattle in Washington, Olympic National Park is a refuge of rain forests, glaciers and rocky Pacific beaches. The roads through Olympic National Park skirt around the edges of the park leaving the center regions untouched by cars – an ideal location for nature enthusiasts to hike and explore while surrounded by immense trees and rich colors and sensory experiences. Open year-round, some parts of Olympic National Park are closed in the winter, but there is still much to see regardless of the season.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Source – zz9

Located in the impressive Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park allows visitors to wander through the soaring peaks and to take in the amazing vistas these monoliths provide. 2.9 million people visit Rocky Mountain National Park every year in search of alpine wildflowers and impressive wildlife. Hikes up and through the mountains reveal waterfalls, clear mountain lakes and countless streams. Visitors will also find the start of the Colorado River and the Continental Divide within the 416 square miles of the park.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Source – fkehren

Red cliffs and impressive wildlife mark Zion National Park. The Zion Canyon creates amazing cliffs in a creamy red stone as well as a half-mile gash into the earth. The park is frequently visited by hikers and bikers as well as those seeking to photograph some of the 271 bird species that call the park home. Zion National Park is open year-round making it popular with those who enjoy the wildflowers in the spring and the changing leaves in the fall as well as the winter sport enthusiasts who can explore the park in the chill of winter as well.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Source – davehensley

Also located in the Rockies, the Grand Teton National Park is situated around nine stunning peaks of the mountains called The Grand Tetons. Located in Wyoming – very near Yellowstone and just north of Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton National Park is rugged, dramatic and a favorite location for hikers and nature lovers who enjoy walking through the foothills or climbing to towering heights along the mountain peaks. There is plenty of room to get lost in nature here with 484 square miles of rugged, untouched beauty.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Source – betsyweber

A young national park by comparison to others on the list, Cuyahoga Valley National Park was designated in 2000. Brandywine Falls and a stretch of the Erie Canal make this a popular park to visit in the center of Ohio. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the area within the park’s boundaries that houses an old car junkyard. The junkyard has become home to many beavers making it an interesting addition to an intriguing national park.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Source – ungaio

Located in Maine, Acadia National Park has more than 30,000 acres of forest and rocky coast. One of the oldest national parks, Acadia is a favorite among hikers, bikers and those who enjoy exploring the woods and beaches on horseback. Chilly most of the year, Acadia National Park includes impressive beach views and the rich forests of this region as well as easily accessible roads to walk or hike along. 2.2 million people visit Acadia National Park every year.

Rich sensory experiences abound in the National Parks, and by traveling through the parks, nature lovers can experience the multitude of experiences provided in the different corners of the United States. From northern, misty rainforests to the deep canyons of the desert, there is much to explore and even more to enjoy as we work to preserve some of the most beautiful sites of North America.

Hello, my name is Uttoran Sen an author of Travel Tamed.

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