Wanderlusting: Top 10 US National Parks On My Bucketlist

October 24, 2016

Top 10 US National Parks to Visit, Wanderlust

I've visited some of the big ones - Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon - but it's on my life bucketlist to visit every single US National Park. Now there's a lot of different categories, like National Monument, National Historical Park, etc., but I'm looking at the places specifically categorized as "National Park". Here are my top 10. (Can you tell I like mountains?)

1. Acadia National Park
Located in Maine, this park has ridiculous views of both the ocean and mountains, which is a perfect 2 in 1. It's supposed to be especially amazing in the fall, because the park has gorgeous foliage. It looks like there are great hikes to take, in addition to having fun wildlife to see (at a safe distance, if necessary).

2. Glacier National Park
Another park that has been on my mind lately is located in Montana, and is home to a stunning section of the Rocky Mountains that were carved out by glaciers (hence the name). There is a crystal clear lake and beautiful hiking paths, and offers options for both camping and staying more comfortably.

3. Denali National Park
Alaska itself is not on the top of my "to-see" list, however this park has towering mountains and unusual wildlife that sound incredible to witness. I'd love to see the moose and caribou, plus North America's tallest peak is located here and gives the park its name, which is pretty unbeatable.

4. Yosemite National Park
Nestled in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite offers the chance to see giant Sequoia trees, waterfalls, and granite cliffs. The park has amazing geologic history (so I've learned in my Geology 100 course...), and offers visitors the chance to see multiple different types of geographic structures.

5. Rocky Mountain National Park
As I mentioned, mountains are my favorite. This range runs mainly in Colorado, where the park is located, but actually spans from New Mexico all the way through Canada. The park holds brilliant trees, lakes, and, of course, mountains. I would love to spend a few days camping and hiking throughout the range, taking in what nature has to offer.

6. North Cascades National Park
When I traveled to Portland, OR this summer, I got a small glimpse of the Cascade Mountain Range. The tallest peak is Mount Rainier, which I was lucky enough to climb part of when I was younger. This park, located in Washington, seems like a great way to experience more of the gorgeous Pacific Northwest, and explore a lesser-traveled mountain range.

7. Isle Royale National Park
I was slightly awed when I realized there is a park in Michigan, located on the shores of Lake Superior. Growing up near Lake Michigan gave me an intense love for lake-life, so I absolutely must visit and experience the wildlife, scenery, and calm atmosphere of this under-the-radar national park.

8. Great Basin National Park
Another mountainous park located in Nevada's Great Basin desert offers marble caves, a scenic mountain-side drive, and plenty of hiking. If you're doing a road trip in the area, this park is perfect to hit alongside the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, and many more.

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Technically a subrange of the Appalachian Mountain Chain, these mountains run through parts of North Carolina & Tennessee. Nicknamed the "Smokies", this is one of the most visited national parks in the US. The area holds lots of interesting wildlife, in addition to having stunning foliage, mountain peaks, and hiking paths.

10. Zion National Park
Lastly, a slightly different park located in southwestern Utah. This holds steep cliffs, a canyon drive through the park, and a river leading to gorgeous waterfalls and a hanging garden. Out of all of the southwestern US national parks, this one is the most appealing and exciting to me.

What national park would you want to visit?

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