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List of US National Parks

All 57 US National Parks with short description, sorted alphabetically by state.

Name

State

Opened

Description

Denali

Alaska

1917

Park around the Denali, previously called Mount McKinley, North America’s highest mountain. The major part of the park is a permafrost area. Recently prehistoric fossils were found.

Gates of the Arctic

Alaska

1980

A National Park with a total area as big as Switzerland, located entirely within the Arctic Circle. The park is exclusively a preserve and not open for visitors.

Glacier Bay

Alaska

1980

Park and UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site that cannot be accessed on roads. The park consists of 17 glaciers whose shrinking size is often cited to document climate change.

Katmai

Alaska

1980

In most parts a protected and restricted wilderness area. Katmai National Park contains 14 active volcanoes and is home to brown bears and salmon.

Kenai Fjords

Alaska

1980

A large part of the National Park is made up by the Harding Icefields, the largest of its kind in the country. Kenai Fjords, located in Southern Alaska, may be accessed by car or boat.

Kobuk Valley

Alaska

1980

Kobuk Valley, located in the southern section of the Arctic Circle, is famous for being home of some 400,000 elk. Also worth seeing are the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes.

Lake Clark

Alaska

1980

Covering 16,000 square kilometers in southwestern Alaska, the park summarizes all sceneries Alaska is made up of: Mountain ranges, tundra, lakes, rainforest and active volcanoes can be found.

Wrangell - St. Elias

Alaska

1980

The largest US National Park by area is for the most part a designated wilderness area. Mount St. Elias, center piece of the park, is the second-highest mountain of the USA.

Grand Canyon

Arizona

1919

One of the most famous US National Parks, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The park centers around a gorge cut by the Colorado River, 450 kilometers in length.

Petrified Forest

Arizona

1962

The area of Petrified Forest National Park encompasses numerous examples of petrified wood as well as Indian petroglyphs. Also worth visiting is the Painted Desert in the northern half.

Saguaro

Arizona

1994

The majority of the park is made up of preserves to protect a large stock of Saguaro cacti. The park consists of many and various habitats with a wide range of plants and animals.

Hot Springs

Arkansas

1921

The smallest of US National Parks by area encompasses hot springs from the Ouachita Mountains as well as a part of the city of Hot Springs. The waters are used for therapy baths.

Channel Islands

California

1980

This park contains five islands in the Pacific off the California coast and the surrounding waters. They are home to more than 2000 species of plants and animals including blue whales.

Death Valley

California / Nevada

1994

Death Valley is famous for its hot desert climate and for Badwater, the deepest point of the USA. Apart from the plant and animal species living here, the park’s geology is also interesting.

Joshua Tree

California

1994

Within Joshua Tree National Park, the ecosystems of Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert merge. With ist geologic features, the park is popular with rock climbers. 

Kings Canyon

California

1940

A park consisting of two sections: One covers the alpine scenery of the North Palisade, the other half captures the ecosystem around the majestic Redwood trees growing here.

Lassen Volcanic

California

1916

Lassen Volcanic National Park comprises all four geologic varieties of volcanoes as well as hot springs and mud volcanoes. The last eruption of one of the volcanoes was probably in 1859.

Pinnacles

California

2013

America’s newest National Park is a favorite spot for rock climbers as well as a valuable habitat for some rare species including the Californian Condor.

Redwood

California

1968

This National Park has 45% of the global Redwood trees stock, the world’s tallest trees that can grow to an age of up to 2000 years. Many opportunities for hiking and mountainbiking.

Sequoia

California

1890

Administered together with Kings Canyon National Park, this section is home to five of ten of the tallest trees in the world including number one, General Sherman Tree

Yosemite

California

1890

Yosemite has gained international recognition for its beautiful landscapes including waterfalls, granite rocks and clear streams, as well as for wide range of species living here.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Colorado

1999

The Gunnison river formed this spectacular, particularly steep and deep canyon which appears to be black due to the lack of sunlight falling in. Nice scenic route covers the park area.

Great Sand Dunes

Colorado

2004

One of the younger US National Parks, this one covers North America’s tallest sand dunes, up to 230 meters high and some 12,000 years old. The park also has tundra and alpine lake areas.

Mesa Verde

Colorado

1906

Home of numerous historic sites of archaeologic significance. Most notable for the rock dwellings of the Anasazi peoples, estimated to be 800 years old.

Rocky Mountain

Colorado

1915

Although the National Park covers only a fraction of the majestic mountain range, it represents an impressive sample of the ecosystem and offers many outdoor opportunities.

Biscayne

Florida

1980

More than 90% of the park’s total area are under water, preservering the coral reefs off Florida’s coast. Park also includes a mangrove forest on land and has great snorkeling opportunities.

Dry Tortugas

Florida

1992

The National Park covers and preserves the waters around Fort Jefferson, located 100 kilometers southwest of Key West, a military fortress that was never fully completed.

Everglades

Florida

1947

Only about 25% of the total area of the Everglades are covered by the National Park. It protects the unique wetland habitat for many plant and animal species.

Haleakala

Hawaii

1916

Located on Maui island, this park has two sections: One around the Haleakala volcano, which last erupted in 1790 and one covering the Kipahulu nature preserve, which is not open to visitors.

Hawaii Volcanoes

Hawaii

1916

Several volcanoes, some of which are considered active, including the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa. The park wilderness area has many hiking and outdoor opportunities.

Yellowstone

Idaho / Montana / Wyoming

1872

The oldest US National Park and oldest in the world covers an area stretching over three states. It is well known for its fauna including bison and grizzlies as well as for its geysers and hot springs.

Mammoth Cave

Kentucky

1941

The park covers parts of the largest cave system in the world. It can be explored in a total length of more than 500 kilometers. The caves are home to a large bat colony.

Acadia

Maine

1919

Acadia National Park covers much of the Atlantic Mount Desert Island as well as the habitats along the Maine coast. The area has coastal landscapes, forests and lake areas.

Isle Royale

Michigan

1940

The Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior. In addition, the park covers several smaller islands and the waters in between. The area is famous for its elk and wolf populations.

Voyageurs

Minnesota

1975

Park with a multitude of water sceneries at lakes and rivers, making it a favorite spot for water sports. The protected wilderness area within the park is home to bald eagles.

Glacier

Montana

1910

This National Park preserve contains two mountain ranges as well as forests, tundra areas and more than 100 lakes. The mountaineous landscape was formed 15,000 years ago from glaciers.

Great Basin

Nevada

1986

The Great Basin is the mountainous region between Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains. The park also includes the Lehman Caves at the foot of Wheeler Peak.

Carlsbad Caverns

New Mexico

1930

The park has more than 80 flowstone caves formed more than 200 million years ago. The largest room of the cave system is the seventh-largest cave in the world. Large bat population.

Great Smoky Mountains

North Carolina / Tennessee

1934

This park encompasses 2000 square kilometers and covers a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most-visited National Park of the USA, mostly protected forest habitat for many species.

Theodore Roosevelt

North Dakota

1978

Many animal species including bison and wild horses in a park in three sections covering an area around the former ranch home of US President Theodore Roosevelt.

Cuyahoga Valley

Ohio

2000

Smaller National Park set up to protect and preserve the rural area around the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Many cultural events take place here, many options for hikers and bikers available

Crater Lake

Oregon

1902

One of the oldest US National Parks surrounding the deepest lake of the country, which is if volcanic origin. Crater Lake has neither inflow nor outflow and has unusually clear water.

Congaree

South Carolina

2003

Wetlands area with a large stock of hardwood trees, forming a large, natural roof together. Many other plant species and a wide range of animal species live here as well.

Badlands

South Dakota

1978

The park covers different ecosystems, mostly a vast stretch of grass prairie which is habitat for an endangered polecat species. Many prehistoric animal fossils were found in the Badlands.

Wind Cave

South Dakota

1903

One of the longest caves in the world, notable for rare calcium deposits on the walls. Above the cave, an area of prairie land provides shelter for numerous animals.

Big Bend

Texas

1944

Located in a big loop of the Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park is a mountainous preserve with geologic significance. Plenty of fossils were found here, good climbing, rafting and hiking opportunities.

Guadalupe Mountains

Texas

1966

Area marked with mountain ranges in Western Texas with many popular outdoor recreation opportunities. The mountains form a notable contrast to the surrounding Chihuahua desert.

Arches

Utah

1971

The park boasts a number of impressive natural sandstone formations, most notably more than 2000 natural arches. Due to erosion and tectonic faulting, that number varies constantly.

Bryce Canyon

Utah

1928

Vast, naturally formed amphitheater with unique rock spires formed by wind, the so-called hoodoos. These can stand up to 60 meters tall. Scenic drive to see the park’s highlights available.

Capitol Reef

Utah

1971

The National Park is home to numerous interesting formations including monoliths and canyons made from white sandstone. Many opportunities for hiking, biking, climbing and horseback riding.

Canyonlands

Utah

1964

Located not far from Arches National Park, Canyonlands is an area marked by red sandstone that became famous through many movies and commercials shot here.

Zion

Utah

1919

Plenty of canyons and rock sceneries made from red sandstone. The park is home to many animal species, as it can be subdivided into several different sections.

Shenandoah

Virginia

1935

Low mountain range that is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A large part of the park is designated wilderness area. There is a scenic road leading over all summits of the National Park.

Mount Rainier

Washington

1899

One of the oldest US National Parks, covering icefields, glaciers and other landscapes around the Mount Rainier volcano. Many options for rock climbing, hiking and skiing.

North Cascades

Washington

1968

This park encompasses all peaks of the majestic Cascade Pass. There more than 300 glaciers included in the park boundaries. Large sections are designated wilderness areas.

Olympic

Washington

1938

Almost entirely designated as natural preserve areas, the National Park consists of three different parts with individual ecosystems including rainforest, Pacific coast and the Olympic Mountains

Grand Teton

Wyoming

1929

Mountainous territory located not far from Yellowstone National Park. Teton Range is a section of the Rocky Mountains range. Home to more than 1000 plant species and many animals.


 

 

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