Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Top Ten U.S. National Parks that I want to see

With no snow on the ground or green in the trees, the second half of winter is the least beautiful time of the year in Kansas. Normally we have some snow which makes things a bit better, but this year has been nearly completely dry. This has instilled a sort of “Cabin Fever” in me, to see extraordinary sights.
Below is a list (mostly in no particular order) of ten U.S. National Parks which I have never been to, but want to see the most. None of the pictures are mine for the obvious reason that I have never been there. Enjoy!

Denali is probably the National Park which I most want to see. Unfortunately it is also one of the farthest away. This park is named after and centered around Mount McKinley the tallest Mountain in North America. The Mountain was originally name “Denali” meaning “High One”, and for good reason. At over 20,000 feet tall, Denali dwarfs the mountains of Colorado. If you see the mountains in the picture and think they are tall, then just look at the break in the louds to see the top of Denali. With more vertical rise than Everest, Denali is said to be the most impressive looking mountain in all the world.
denali 2


Acadia 1
Acadia is far less secluded than Denali since it is only a part of Mount Desert Island, and the other part is vacation homes. Still, Acadia is not a park you hear much about. It includes the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast, which is the first spot of land to see the sun rise each morning in the contiguous 48 states. Someday I want to be on top of it (Cadillac Mountain) at sunrise. Acadia looks to be much like Minnesota only with Mountains and the Ocean. You really can’t get much better than that!
Acadia 2

Glacier National Park is known as “The Crown of the Continent”. It is a landscape of lakes, Mountains, Bear Grass, and of course Glaciers. Positioned right at the U.S.-Canadian Border, Glacier forms an international peace park with Waterton National Park in Alberta, Canada. Some of the prominent features include: the “Going to the Sun Road” which looks like an amazing drive, the many crystal-clear lakes, and “Triple-Divide peak” from which snow melt flows three different ways depending on the side of the mountain. Glacier is a well visited park, and it it looks to be that way for many good reasons.
glacier 2

Grand Teton
teton 1
Grand Teton National Park looks like it may be one of the most beautiful parks of all. Clear rivers and lakes, prominent peaks, and roaming buffalo. It is also significantly closer than the Alaska parks. Despite this, it is normally overshadowed by its neighbor “Yellowstone National Park”. Teton doesn’t have all the geysers and oddities of Yellowstone; it just has a bountiful supply of serene beauty. I would love visiting this park any time of the year, but fall looks to be the most beautiful.
teton 2

Hawaii Volcanoes
hawaii 1
When most people think of visiting Hawaii, they think of warm sandy beaches. I think about the Volcanoes! Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, may not be creatively named, but it is unique among National Parks for the very obvious reason of including active volcanoes and lava flows. Seeing a lava flow is like seeing the Northern lights for me. It is something I must see before I die. But this park isn’t all fire and ash. It also includes beautiful tropical coastline and vegetation.
hawaii 2

Isle Royale
isle royale 1
Although this Island National Park belongs to Michigan, it is closer to both Minnesota and Canada. Positioned in the middle of Lake Superior, Isle Royale is one of the least visited and most secluded National Parks even when compared with the Alaska parks. This is due to the fact that only a plane ride or a four hour ferry trip can get you to the Island. Seeing both Moose and Wolf is a large attraction of this park. It is a canoers/kayakers dream park, and also includes some amazing trails. I here September is the best time to visit due to the beautiful fall colors and significantly lower bug populations.
isle royale 2

Lake Clark

lake clark 1
This is a park which even the most avid campers and park tourists rarely hear about. I didn’t even know it existed until last year. Even after I heard of it, I forgot it’s name and referred to it as one of the Alaska Parks. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I most want to visit it. Lake Clark National Park is very much like Glacier National Park, just more secluded. Imagine seeing Grizzlies fight for food, or hundreds of Caribou migrating across the hills. There are hundreds of waterfalls, and towering mountains. Lake Clark seems to be the one park that summarizes everything Alaska is. That is why if I got to go to Alaska, this along with Denali would be my first choices of destinations.
lake clark 2


yosemite 2
This is probably the most popular park on my lists of parks I want to see. Over-crowding is one reason parks like Yellowstone aren’t at the top of my list. One of the things that makes nature wonderful is the peace and seclusion. Yosemite doesn’t have as much of that except for in winter, yet the scenery more than makes up for it. Yosemite is like a much grander Zion National park. There aren’t many nature calendars that don’t include a picture of Yosemite. It is the scenery of Yosemite which greatly influenced the decision to begin making National Parks. I can’t really even explain it all. Look it up, or even better – Go there!
yosemite 1

Glacier Bay
USA, Alaska, Glacier Bay NP, Stranded icebergs at low tide in front of the Lamplugh Glacier with sunrise clouds over the mountains of Johns Hopkins Inlet
Another Alaska park, I know. They all look amazing, but I chose this one because it has some stuff to set it apart. Have you ever seen footage of a glacier collapsing into the water? If you have then there is a good chance it was filmed in Glacier Bay National Park. As far as I know, all of the Alaska parks have glaciers, but this park holds the land where the glaciers meet the bay. Must be where they got the name. Smile Anyways, the boat tours right along the glaciers look amazing. Definitely a photographers dreamland.
glacier bay 2

USA, Washington, Olympic NP, Moss covered vine maple (Acer circinatum) and ferns in the Hoh Rainforest
Just because this is the last on my list doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome. There are a lot of amazing parks that this beat out to deserve a spot on my top ten wish list. This park includes mostly temperate rain forests bordered by awe-inspiring Pacific ocean coastline. From my research it appears wise to bring a rain coat if you visit. I would also suggest bringing a camera. This place is one of a kind among the National Parks.
olympic 1

If none of these places look interesting or appealing to you, don’t worry. Well maybe you should worry a little since these places look extremely beautiful. But even if they don’t suit you, there are many other National Parks in the U.S., and there are many non-National Park areas which are beautiful, and there is also more beauty that can be seen in a lifetime outside of the U.S.. Actually there is probably more beauty in any one of these parks than can be witnessed in a lifetime. I believe Heaven will be far more beautiful than earth, so it is a good thing we will have forever to enjoy it!

For many more great national park pictures, check out the site below. I always enjoy their pictures.


  1. Isn't God amazing! His creativity just astounds me.
    Those look like some pretty cool places to visit. The only one of those that I have been to is Glacier. My in-laws love going to Yosemite.

    1. Yes he is amazing! If these places are anything like the splendors which I have already seen, then pictures and videos cannot portray their full beauty. They must be experienced. My five senses are pushed to the maximum each time I am in such an amazing place, and I still never feel like I can take it all in. As I said before, I am glad Heaven will be an eternity!

      I didn't include any of the desert parks on here simply because I have already been to many of them. But if you haven't been to them, they are all worth seeing. Going to the Grand Canyon is a must!