I had a friend ask me recently what my top five National Parks are and this is one of those questions I really, really hate. This is mostly because it means that I must exclude amazing places that should never be relegated to the ‘Also Considered’ section.
Now, there are probably some more ‘meh’ National Parks out there, but none of those are in the West. (Yes, shots fired, because West Coast, Best Coast.) Also, I’m keeping this for only US National Parks just so then I can add in another NP in the place of Banff National Park (which I need to explore much more of). I’m also leaving out the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone because I was 6 or so when I went there and it doesn’t count.(Uggh, this list will need to be 10 deep in a year or so ….)
So, away we go!
Words can’t accurately describe this place. It has everything. Lakes. Snowcapped mountains. Green landscapes. The most memorable moment of my trip there was a 30+ mile bike ride up the Going-To-The-Sun Road to Logan Pass. Additionally, Glacier has the feel that you’re in the middle of nowhere the entire time. It’s not industrialized, letting you be as close to nature as you elect to be.
2) Yosemite National Park
Yosemite will always have a soft spot in my heart due to the countless times I’ve been able to visit her. After working two years at a summer camp outside of YNP, I’ve done nearly ever hike in the park I’ve wanted to. Now, there’s plenty of backcountry exploring I still need to do (and camp at the Sunrise sites) but this is one of those places where I feel completely at home and at ease. PS: If you’re going to Yosemite, I’m more than happy to help you map out your trip.
3) Olympic National Park
Unique. That’s what I think of when Olympic NP comes to my mind. It has mountains (Hurricane Ridge/Mt. Olympus), a freakin’ rainforest (Hoh Rainforest), waterfalls (Sol Duc Falls), and beaches (too many to count). There are so many amazing places to see in this green wonderland that it can seem overwhelming but if you play your cards right, you can hit the main spots in one day. Plus, you’re only a 90 minute ferry ride to Victoria, Canada – a fantastic place in its own right.
4) Zion National Park
Before this year, I hadn’t been to ZNP in close to 15 years. However, I’ve now been twice in the last five months and it’s truly an incredible place. One great aspect of the park is how cars aren’t allowed in the main area of the canyon, keeping congestion down and air quality up. Plus, the hikes are phenomenal and how many places can you go from the top of a mountain to walking in water in the span of 90 minutes? Not many, that’s for sure and it’s the beauty of Zion and you should totally visit.
5) North Cascades National Park
One of the great Western mountain ranges this country offers. I’ve only been to NCNP once but the time I was there was memorable and has obviously left a mark. These are some of the most stunning mountains I’ve been among. The jagged and shear ruggedness of these peaks creates a sense of awe inside you. This is a place I’ll have to come back multiple times to even have a shot of seeing the best it has to offer.
Also Considered: Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia, Bryce
Once I get a chance to spend more than half a day in RMNP, it’ll quickly jump into the top five, as you all know how much I love my mountains. I’m not sure if I’ll make it in 2018, but 2019 is nearly a lock.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
You can follow along the journey on Facebook and Instagram or shoot me any questions and comments about places to go. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when new posts come out!