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Watchman in Zion National Park catching day's first rays. Because it's located near the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert regions, it has some of the most unique landscapes packed with mountains, canyons, rivers, arches, desert, and forests.

Yosemite Valley [Images of America] [CA][Arcadia Publishing] by Leroy Radanovich

Zion National Park is also an important place to study ancient humans who made the area their home about 8, years ago. This gorgeous mountain range boasts over miles of trails, ranging from easy hikes to expert-level mountain summits, as well as the Trail Ridge Road, which is the highest paved road in the United States. Rocky Mountain National Park offers splendor at all times of the year, but a favorite among locals and travelers is when the elk rut.

Being able to witness natural events such as the elk rut is what makes the National Park Service so important.

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In addition to being a national park, Yosemite is also designated as a World Heritage Site. Though it covers around 1, square miles of area, visitors spend most of their time in the 5. Around 10, geothermal features cover much of the park, making it the largest supervolcano in North America.

Yellowstone is famous for geysers like Old Faithful and hot springs like the Grand Prismatic. The park is also home to other famous destinations like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone River and the Lamar Valley where the bison still roam free. Located in Maine, Acadia National Park is one of the beautiful national parks on the east coast.

It's home to a wide array of wildlife including black bears, bald eagles, bobcats, moose, beavers and porcupines.

One of the most popular attractions in Acadia National Park is Cadillac Mountain, which sees the first sunrise in the United States during the fall and winter months. Since it runs along the Pacific coast, Olympic National Park is the perfect place for visitors to find the iconic rocky beaches and temperate rainforests that the Pacific Northwest is known for. In the center of the park are the Olympic Mountains topped with ancient glaciers. The tall, jagged, snow-capped mountains sharply jut out from a flat landscape as if it were a wall of earth.

Visitors mostly come for the mountaineering, but there are plenty of places to hike, camp and fish. Encompassing much of northern Montana and brushing up against the Canada-United States border is Glacier National Park, which has over 1 million acres of protected land. It sits primarily on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine. National Park of American Samoa is spread across three islands, and is the only park on this list south of the equator.

Yosemite National Park is in eastern California, and behind Yellowstone, is probably the best known of the Its founding was in large part due to the efforts of John Muir and the Sierra Club. Redwood National Park is in northern California, and is known for its massive trees, as well as for being the place where they shot the Endor scenes in Return of the Jedi. An excellent park near Moab, Utah, and the perhaps better-known Arches NP, Canyonlands is a popular park for backpackers and hikers.

Elias National Park, in southeastern Alaska near the panhandle, has one of the sharpest reliefs in the world: 10 miles from the coastline are the St. Elias Mountains, some of the tallest on the continent. Cuyahoga Valley is the only national park in Ohio, in the northeast between Cleveland and Akron. It is known for its hiking and birdwatching. It has one of the largest ice fields in the United States.

It's home to the oldest trees in the world, the Great Basin bristlecone pine. Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado, is probably best known for its ancient Pueblo cliff-dwellings.

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It is known for its seals, whales, and underwater kelp forests. Mammoth Cave in central Kentucky is the longest known cave system in the world, with miles of surveyed passageways. Big Bend National Park is in southern Texas, and runs miles along the Rio Grande, thus making it an international border. Crater Lake is in southern Oregon.

It fills in the crater of the collapsed volcano Mount Mazama, and is the deepest lake in the United States, at 1, feet, making it the ninth deepest in the world. Sequoia National Park is located in eastern California, and is best known for its giant sequoia trees, including General Sherman, the largest tree on Earth. Wind Cave is near Theodore Roosevelt NP in western South Dakota, and consists of the cave, which was the first cave in the world to be declared a national park, and the prairie on top of it.

The Appalachian Trail passes through it, and it is the most visited national park in the United States. Saguaro National Park is in southern Arizona, and is named after the huge cactuses native to the area. Arches National Park, in eastern Utah near Moab, is obviously best known for its over 2, natural sandstone arches, though the number is decreasing over time due to erosion. Shenandoah National Park in northern Virginia sits along the Shenandoah River and Valley, and is known for its beautiful autumn leaves.


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Pinnacles is in Salinas Valley, California, and is home to these strangely shaped peaks caused by the erosion of an extinct volcano. Congaree is located in South Carolina, and is known for its swamps and its old-growth bottomland hardwood forests. Badlands National Park is in southwestern South Dakota, and consists of buttes and prairie. It is co-administered by the Oglala Lakota tribe.

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Yosemite National Park travel | USA - Lonely Planet

Lassen Volcanic National Park is in northeastern California, and is known for Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world. The park is known for its excellent rock climbing. Petrified Forest National Park is in northeastern Arizona. It protects the fossils of trees that lived million years ago. The Dry Tortugas National Park is situated at the westernmost end of the Florida Keys, and includes Fort Jefferson, the largest piece of masonry work in the Western Hemisphere, as well as seven other islands.

It is only accessible by seaplane or boat. It is larger than Belgium, and is not accessible by road: you either have to hike or fly in. The Everglades in southern Florida is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states, after Death Valley and Yellowstone, and it protects the Everglades wetlands and the huge number of endangered species that live there. Haleakala National Park covers a large portion of southeast Maui in Hawaii, and includes the summit and crater of the dormant Haleakala volcano.

Man and woman fall to death from Yosemite National Park cliff

Glacier National Park, in northern Montana, sits right along the border with Canada. Scientists predict its glaciers will have fully vanished in another few years. Carlsbad Caverns is in southeastern New Mexico, and consists of over total caves. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is about miles southwest of Anchorage, and is known for its coastal rainforests and sockeye salmon.

Voyageurs, in northern Minnesota, consists of four major lakes, and is known for its awesome water sports. Capitol Reef is in southern Utah, and is so named because of a number of domes of sandstone that bear a resemblance to the US Capitol Building.