In the USA, everything happens on a grand scale – from the bustling cities to the portion sizes at dinner! And for us, the USA’s national parks are a true jewel in the crown of this larger-than-life country.
With a total of 423 national park sites in the United States, it might be hard to decide where to head to first. Luckily, we’ve shared our favourites to help you narrow it down!
Yosemite National Park
Nature doesn’t get much better than this – or much bigger! In Yosemite National Park, landscapes are super-sized – think giant sequoias, towering granite peaks and thunderous waterfalls. The formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks dominate from any viewpoint and are frequented by rock climbers from all over the world.
If walking’s more your style than scrambling, there are plenty of trails for all abilities, including the Mist Trail, taking in some of the park’s powerful waterfalls. For those who simply want to stretch their legs and relax in the park’s spectacular surroundings, a stroll or cycle through Yosemite Valley’s lush green meadows is a perfect rejuvenating break away from the buzz of day-to-day life.
Head out from ‘the city by the bay’, San Francisco, into the wonders of Yosemite National Park on our Western Explorer holiday.
The Grand Canyon
When the USA’s most-wanted sights come up in conversation, you’d be hard pressed not to mention one of the nation’s most iconic natural wonders! Stretching for almost 300 miles and plunging to depths of over 6,000ft, the layers of colourful rock have been shaped by the elements over millions of years.
There are a multitude of ways to explore Grand Canyon National Park, from hiking down into the canyon on numerous trails to soaring in a helicopter to take in the canyon’s truly ginormous scale. Enjoy awe-inspiring views over the Grand Canyon from your historic lodge accommodation on our National Parks and Lodges trip; or for a unique perspective and a real taste of adventure, you could even take to the water and raft the entire length of the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River!
Zion National Park
Rugged and wild, Zion National Park is an oasis in the Utah desert, with jagged multi-coloured cliffs and enchanting forest trails. Adrenaline-seekers will revel in the hike to Angel’s Landing, where zig-zagging switchbacks lead to a chain-led scramble along a rocky spine. It’s not for the faint of heart, but after the knife-edge ridgeline exertion you’ll be rewarded with stretching views across Zion’s tree-lined floor from Angel’s Landing.
Prefer to stay closer to the ground? Explore Zion’s Virgin river with a hike through ‘the Narrows’ – just be prepared to get your feet wet! On our Canyons and Navajo Lands tour, you’ll have ample time to explore Zion’s hiking trails, alongside a guided backroads tour of Monument Valley, the heart of the Navajo nation.
Yellowstone National Park
For wildlife and geology lovers alike, Yellowstone National Park is one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. Famous for its volcanic history, you’ll find brightly coloured hot springs, bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers around every turn.
Yellowstone is also a haven for wildlife, including bighorn sheep, bison, black bears and elk. At the forefront of rewilding initiatives, 20 years ago the park reintroduced its wolf population, restoring the balance of the park’s delicate ecosystem. The best way to see Yellowstone’s elusive wolves is with a specialist wolf and wildlife tracking guide, and on our Yellowstone Wildlife Trails holiday you’ll be able to do just that!
Denali National Park
Wilderness is in abundance in Alaska, and Denali is one of the few National Parks that encourages you to cut your own path away from the main trails. Home to the highest mountain in North America, legendary Mount Denali (6,194m), the park covers six million acres and houses some of the most unspoiled wilderness and spectacular scenery in the whole of Alaska.
Where crowds are sparse, nature flourishes, and Denali is the ideal place for Alaska’s top wildlife spots. Keep your eyes peeled for Alaska’s ‘Big Five’; Caribou, Dall Sheep, moose, Grizzly Bear and wolves on our Alaskan Wildlife and Wilderness holiday.
Arches National Park
America’s true golden arches! The sandstone formations of Arches National Park have been created over millions of years by the winds of Utah. The most visited of them all is Delicate Arch, a 65ft. freestanding arch that has become one of the state’s most famous icons.
A photographer’s playground, the towering sandstone against clear blue skies or a flaming sunset makes for the perfect shot – and if you’re lucky enough to be staying a couple of nights in nearby Moab on our National Parks Walk, you’ll have the chance to savour the star-dusted skies.
Immerse yourself in spectacular scenery and unrivalled adventure, with the chance to visit numerous national parks on a guided group holiday in the United States.