In 1916, in the USA, an agency was formed that would change the face of the world. The National Park Service (NPS) was created with the purpose of protecting and preserving American sites of natural beauty and cultural significance. At the same time, it ensures that people can actually enjoy these wonders responsibly and with a minimum of environmental decay. 100 years later, National Parks in America are thriving. With its yearly budget of nearly $3 million, over 15,000 full-time employees and 59 designated National Parks under its care, it’s clear that the NPS is an invaluable organisation. To celebrate this special centenary, we’ve picked our seven favourite US National Parks…

Zion National Park

Steep spires of sandstone, warm red in colour, stand sentinel over lush green valley floors in Zion National Park, a landscape which has been inhabited for some 8,000 years. See the sparkling Emerald Pools, and take in the divine view from Angel’s landing. Take me there: Western Explorer, National Parks Walk

Arches National Park

Over countless millennia, raging winds have carved the bizarre and beautiful natural arches after which this National Park is named. Explore the Devil’s Garden, and visit the Delicate Arch, an awe-inspiring, freestanding, 65ft tall natural monument. Take me there: National Parks Walk

Yellowstone National Park

Clouds of steam erupt from the ground and billow skywards over the mesmerising geology and hushed pine forests of Yellowstone. Bison roam the grasslands, wolves stalk through soft snow, and eagles soar overhead. Take me there: Yellowstone Wildlife Trails

Denali National Park

North America’s highest peak, the titular Denali, overlooks a vast landscape of glittering glaciers and horizon-spanning tundra, giving way to verdant forests and lakes at lower altitude. This reserve is a sanctuary for rare and powerful wildlife, from majestic bears to great whales in the Prince William Sound. Take me there: Alaskan Wildlife and Wilderness

Grand Canyon National Park

This landmark needs no introduction. The Grand Canyon has become part of the cultural mythology of the States – suffice to say that nothing prepares you for the sheer mind-boggling scale of the real thing, nor its magnificence. Take me there: Western Explorer, National Parks Walk

Yosemite National Park

Waterfalls cascading over towering cliffs, gently rippling lakes amidst swaying pine forests, El Capitan standing tall over verdant valleys; Yosemite is picture perfect. This National Park is a must-see wonder, from the giant Sequoia trees to the elk which roam beneath them. Take me there: Western Explorer

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is known for its famous hoodoos, pink, orange and white sandstone columns, formed through a combination of frost weathering and stream erosion. Arrayed in dramatic tiers over valley floors, these rocks form spectacular views. Take me there: Western Explorer, National Parks Walk