One of my favorite things to do in a new country is exploring their national parks. It’s the perfect way to dive into nature and get a good glimpse of what a country has to offer. In celebration of National Parks Week, I asked over 40 travel bloggers and influencers from around the world to share their favorite national park.
Aaron & Mel – Hughes Your Own Adventure
Glacier National Park – Montana, USA
After having the amazing opportunity to visit so many national parks in the last year, it was no easy feat to narrow it down to just one favorite. But there is one park that stands out among the rest due to its incredible scale, ease of free camping near park boundaries, accessibility, and incredible sights and wildlife and that is Glacier National Park in Montana.
In our few days there, we were able to drive the Going To The Sun Road, stand in snow flurries at the Logan Pass Visitor Center, wade into the clear waters of Lake McDonald, hike the blooming beargrass covered Highline Trail to Grinnell Glacier, watch sunbathing marmots and grazing mountain goats, and take in the bright turquoise waters of Iceberg Lake.
A few other lesser visited favorite parks include: Carlsbad Caverns (stay for the bat flight!), Black Canyon Of The Gunnison (the brightest Milky Way we have ever seen), Canyonlands (spectacular and nearly empty even in the busy summer season), and Olympic (rainforest, tide pools, and mountain vistas all bundled up in one).
Lexi – Fat Girl Hiking
Glacier National Park – Montana, USA
Gosh, it’s so hard to pick a favorite because every national park is amazing in its own way. But as a favorite, I think I might have to go with Glacier National Park.
The mountains, the crystal clear turquoise waters, the wildlife, it’s unmatchable. There are so many trails to explore. Every campsite is a good campsite. You’re almost guaranteed to see a bear or two. It’s amazing.
I’ve only been to GNP once, but I definitely need to get back. We primarily explored the East side of the park with a day trip to the popular west side.
Whenever I see articles on Pinterest or Facebook about the “Must Do Hikes in America” or something of that nature, it almost always includes Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park. And this hike might be one of my favorites ever. You see mountain peaks, jagged ridges, turquoise lakes, and a glacier. In the summer, you’ll see wildflowers. It’s incredible.
In GNP, I also loved the Highline Trail to a Chalet, Swiftcurrent Pass, and Hidden Lake, a very touristy but AMAZING view a short hike from the Logan Pass visitors center. When you visit, you have to drive the Going To The Sun road between the west side and the east side. On the west side lives Lake McDonald, the iconic clear lake with colorful pebbles seen below the water.
I’m convinced I could spend a summer in GNP and not see all it has to offer. 10/10 highly recommend.
Jamie – The Daily Adventures of Me
The first place in the world that really took my breath away is my favorite National Park. The Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is even bigger and grander than pictures can convey. I was in my 20s and visited the north rim, which is a little less crowded and closer if you are doing a Utah road trip. This year I was blessed to return to the Grand Canyon in the winter where I got to see the reds and browns of the canyon contrasting with the white of snow. I visited the south rim where the views are best because you can see the whole north wall which is at a higher elevation.
The Grand Canyon is the second most visited of the US parks, so is fairly crowded and commercial. Visiting the Grand Canyon in the winter is an ideal way to avoid the crowds. It is possible to hike from the north rim to the south rim or vice versa in a few days, spending the night at the bottom of the canyon. There are so many great hikes along both rims, both easy and difficult. Rooms at the bottom book up very far in advance. I would love to return one day to whitewater raft on the Colorado River at the canyon floor.
The only other place in the world I feel this way about is Jokulsarlon, Iceland’s glacier lagoon. It is located in the spectacular Vatnajokull National Park. An honorable mention would go to my favorite US hike, Tumbledown Mountain in Maine. It is a moderate 4-miler up a rocky mountain, ending in stunning views of Maine’s greenery and an alpine lake.
Brittany – Brittany Donnelly
Tonto National Forest Park – Arizona, USA
I have lived in Arizona nearly my entire life and have been fortunate enough to have the Tonto National Forest Park be in my backyard. Being an hour from my home with hundreds of different trails ranging from difficulty levels this National Park was my top pick!
One of my favorite things about this park is the diversity that it provides. One moment you are on a hike surrounded by boulders heading towards hieroglyphics the next hike you might be surrounded by huge saguaro for miles. My personal favorite is heading toward a body of water like a natural spring. This park in Arizona gives you everything. My favorite “quick” hike is the Hieroglyphics Trial because of the close distance along with the difficulty level being fairly easy-moderate in my opinion. I love at the end you can see various hieroglyphics on different boulders. It gives you a sense of history while you are out in the fresh air.
However, my favorite hike so in the Tonto National Forest Park is Fossil Springs. Hands down, one of the coolest hidden gems around. This hike is about 2 hours northeast of Phoenix and is a hard hike but, so worth the adventure. Going from desert cacti to shaded trees in a natural spring and waterfall is the coolest thing. I have been on a waterfall hunt these days and this one never disappoints.
Lauren – Wilderness Within Her
From old-growth forests to wildflower meadows to its 14,410-foot, glacier-draped namesake peak, Mount Rainier is my favorite national park. With 260 miles of trails to explore, the Mountain (as locals call it) has more than enough to keep me coming back again and again. And it’s less than two hours from my house, so it’s my go-to park and the one I’ve explored more than any other.
The hike to Comet Falls and Van Trump Park is a classic Mount Rainier experience. Follow a forested trail for 1.7 miles to the waterfall, among the tallest in the park at 320’. Then switch back another 1.2 miles to Van Trump Park (named for one of the first Euro-Americans to summit the peak) and catch your breath among the wildflowers while you enjoy up-close-and-personal views of the mountain. Bring lunch, take your time, and soak in the beauty of Mount Rainier!
Location: GPS N46 46.754’ / W121 46.958’. The trailhead is 10.7 miles east of the Nisqually entrance station on the Longmire-Paradise Road. This is a popular hike, so arrive early to grab a parking spot and some solitude on the trail.
Elsewhere in the park, check out Glacier Basin Trail, Silver Falls Trail, Lakes Trail, and Tolmie Peak Trail.
Angie – Nature Girl Angie
Mount Rainier National Park – Washington, USA
14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier graces the skyline with its glorious snowy peaks on a clear day. Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP) offers glaciers, volcanic peaks, river valleys and old growth forests. Abundant in hiking trails of all levels, MRNP has something for everyone.
One of my favorite hikes at Rainier is Summerland to Panhandle Gap. This 12-mile round trip hike gains 2950 feet with the highest point at 6800 feet. The trail starts you out through old growth forest, over streams and Fryingpan Creek. At Summerland, catch views of Mount Rainier up close and surrounding peaks while standing in what feels like a magical wonderland – fragrant wildflower meadows with fluttering butterflies, rocks with chattering marmots and cheeping pika.
Continuing up the trail to Panhandle Gap, the landscape changes to boulders, gravel, shallow tarns and a rushing waterfall. Watch for cairns (rock stacks) for navigating this terrain. From the Gap, the views are worth the climb – with views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood and often times you will also see mountain goats. Other great hikes at MRNP are Comet Falls, Reflection Lake and anything along the Wonderland Trail.
Karen – Evergreen Awakening
North Cascades National Park – Washington, USA
Despite my international travels, I still have a special fondness for the parks close to home. North Cascades National Park is an under-appreciated gem in Washington.
The North Cascades Scenic Highway makes many of the finest mountain views accessible even for those who cannot commit to a big hike. Diablo Lake is a brilliant turquoise like the waters of a tropical paradise. Evergreens keep the area lush year-round. There are dozens of little hikes that can take you to surprising hidden gems, like the breath-taking Rainy Lake.
Wildflowers are abundant in the spring and summer, with Tiger Lilies, Pacific Bleeding Hearts, and Crimson Columbines drawing out many species of butterflies. Hummingbirds zoom through the forests while Bald Eagles soar lazily over the valleys. Herds of Rocky Mountain Elk graze the lands while River Otters splash in the abundant waterways.
The North Cascades make you feel small in a good way. You get that sense that you are a guest in Mother Nature’s garden. Tread lightly and breathe it all in.
Laura & Joel – Fun Life Crisis
North Cascades National Park – Washington, USA
The North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited parks in the US, yet it has some of the most beautiful hikes and breathtaking views. Located in Washington, just a few miles south of Canada’s border, this park is filled with turquoise blue lakes and peaky mountain ranges. Because of its far location, not many visitors venture into this park, which can often mean empty trails and open campsites.
One of the main attractions of this park is Lake Diablo that’s known for its bright blue color. This lake can be accessed and viewed from its campground, viewing platforms along the main drive or a short hike called Thunder Knob Trail. The viewpoints from this hike are best enjoyed at sunset when the sun illuminates the mountain range all around.
Another popular visiting point of this park is the Ross Lake that is home to a floating cabin style resort and kayak rentals. The only way to reach this resort is by taking a boat or hiking a few miles through the forest but a day visit to this unique resort is a must. After all the hiking and kayaking, you’ll be glad to go for a refreshing swim in the inviting lake waters.
Crystal – The Petite Adventurer
Joshua Tree National Park – California, USA
When most of us think of national parks, images of towering trees or wildly rugged mountains comes to mind. Joshua Tree National Park isn’t any of those things. It’s a one-of-a-kind place in the arid deserts of Southern California, famous for its wonky trees and massive rocks that have been eroded over thousands of years. It looks like something you’d see out of Dr. Suess’s book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”. The native Joshua Trees defy the harsh, waterless conditions and grow in such strange ways that no two trees are alike.
Even though there are established hiking trails in the park, my favorite thing to do is park my car in any spot that looks enticing and then scramble up one of the many boulders. It’s completely liberating to be able to explore this way. In my opinion, the best months to visit are from late fall to spring because the temperatures are still cool enough during the day. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, it’s also a phenomenal spot for rock climbing.
Heather – Heather Has Adventures
Joshua Tree National Park – California, USA
I was always a mountain girl – mountains and rivers and lushness and greenery – and then I moved to Southern California and fell in love with the desert. Joshua Tree National Park has become my favorite getaway – it has wide vistas and huge boulders and surprising swimming holes and abandoned relics and myriad landscapes and geologies.
It’s big enough to get lost in but small enough to feel like you’ve conquered it in a weekend. And it’s the first place I fell asleep the howling of coyotes. I especially love pitching a tent in Ryan or Jumbo Rocks campgrounds and wandering the trails to Barker Dam (bring your swimsuit), Wonderland Wash (get lost amongst the boulders), and Warren Peak (see less visited part of the park).
Whichever route you take, consider that for 5,000 years humans have been wandering this very same desert, with its strange trees, prickly cholla, and mineral-flecked rocks. Hopefully, wild places like Joshua Tree will continue to exist for all of us to explore for 5,000 more.
Jenny – Jenny The Trailhead
Yosemite National Park – California, USA
My favorite National Park has to be Yosemite, thus far! There is something magical about coming out on State Route 41 and seeing Tunnel View for the first time. The road to the park is beautiful and winding. Around every bend it feels like there is something dramatic to be expected; there is.
You can truly feel an energy in the air around you. Never has a place made me feel so small; it was like I was being swallowed as I stood in the valley. After a visit inside this park, I felt shaken; part of my sleeping soul awakened. I obtained a larger yearning for nature here and the Sierra. If you are ever in the vicinity, make it a priority to spend at least a day in Yosemite, although a day is not enough. Play in the cool mist and thundering roar of Bridalveil Fall. Drive to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and have lunch on the dam. Hike the Mist Trail and observe Vernal and Nevada Falls. Whatever you do, make Yosemite a bucket list location. It will live within you always!
Andrew – A Fine Adventure
Yosemite National Park is world famous for its awe-inspiring landscapes with soaring mountains, lush wilderness, and iconic landmarks like El Capitan and Half Dome. The history of the National Park system in the United States started at Yosemite when John Muir took President Theodore Roosevelt on a guided hike throughout the park in 1903, trying to plead with the president that government action is needed to protect America’s natural treasures. The trip worked.
“There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias…our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their Children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred,” Theodore Roosevelt.
Teddy Roosevelt definitely got this one right. The natural gem of Yosemite National Park is the property of all citizens and is rightfully protected. It is my favorite National Park because of the diverse terrain, incredible natural wonders, and the solitude you find once you escape the Yosemite Valley. Even though I’ve been there before, I can’t wait to go back because there is so much more left to be explored.
Aaron & Allyson – Blessed By Travel
Hawaii has it all. Beaches, mountains, great food, and even VOLCANOES. You have to stop at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park if you’re on the Big Island, Hawaii.
When you visit this park you can go on hikes, walk on the crater floor, and explore all over but, there’s one thing I recommend doing when you’re here: Go on a bike ride to the lava with Kaimu Rentals and hike your way to see the lava up close. We were so close to the lava that we could feel the heat on our faces! Check out the video above to see the adventure we had! You can pay for a guided tour or you can just wander around by yourself. We wandered by ourselves and it took us about an hour and a half to find it. It was an adventure and it was worth saving the $200 by not doing the guided tour. Do NOT miss this part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The experience we had made it my favorite National Park by far!
Linda – Far From Sweden
Hands down, this is undoubtedly the most incredible National Park and hike I have done so far! It is situated perfectly between the ocean and the steep lush cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. Everywhere you look there is lush greenery, unspoiled beaches, roaring waterfalls and epic views. If you are lucky, you will have the scenery completely to yourself.
The Kalalau Trail is a 35 km trail leads you through the State Park to Kalalau Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Starting off at Ke´e Beach, the first section to Hanakapi’ai is the most crowded as many people do day-hikes to the Hanakapi’ai Falls. The views are amazing as the trail heads up the ridge and breaks into the lush jungle. Even though the first section is gorgeous passing the Hanakapi’ai valley and entering the NaPali Coast State Wilderness Park is undoubtedly a sight I will never forget. It feels like entering the world of the Jurassic Park!
I choose to hike through the three valleys and up to Hanakoa Falls. A great choice as I had the impressive falls all to myself. Swimming in the water and being surrounded by green walls, pounding water and just the noise of nature is an incredible feeling! The NaPali Coast is truly a magical place.
Sonja – The National Parks Girl
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – Alaska, USA
It’s tough for me to pick a favorite national park as each is so beautiful in their own unique way. However, I’d be hard-pressed to find a park more beautiful and wild than Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and that is what makes it stand out at the top of the pack for me.
Wrangell-St. Elias is not only beautiful it is also big. In fact, at 13.2 million acres it is the largest national park and a vast majority of that land is trail-less wilderness. I spent a week in the summer of 2017 hiking through an infinitesimal fraction of the park but that glimpse was more than enough to make me fall in love with it. My group crossed five rugged glaciers, forded icy rivers, and explored a magical ice cave we stumbled upon and despite the amount of time we were out there we saw only one other group. This remoteness combined with its grand scale and unparalleled beauty makes Wrangell-St. Elias the perfect place for a backcountry lover like me!
Kym and Kevin – 33 And Free
Denali National Park – Alaska, USA
To ask which National Park is your favorite, in any country, is hard. They were each chosen for a unique reason, so to appreciate that is to not downgrade one to another.
The difference is what each one can offer you at the right moment. How excited do you get to finally get to one? For someone it might be the dog friendliness of Great Sand Dunes National Park, the caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the trees of Sequoia National Park, the list can go on. If I were to tell you one national park that I have been to, that provided everything I was looking for at that moment, in that experience, it would be Denali National Park. It is remote, it is vast and it is an amazing capture of the wild.
There are few trails, the great thing about this national park is you can hike truly backcountry style. No trails, just a map and compass to follow. If you aren’t up for that, then take a bus tour, they are worth every cent and the tour guides are great. It is a coveted job. The newest bus driver had been working for 12 years. There are very strict guidelines regarding driving in the park, so make sure to research before you go. This park is also the most serious about protecting the wildlife, other than not being able to get to some areas, they will shut down any area if it endangers the wildlife. See Mt. Denali, the highest mountain in North America, the various ecosystems and the abundant wildlife. No matter how you experience this national park, you will feel as though you are in the wild.
Jamie & Dave – The Photo Jeepers
Arches National Park is a place we visit many times during the year. We enjoy photographing the red rock formations and arches. This unique landscape produces stunning images, especially at sunrise and sunset. You can see many landmarks by driving the Scenic Road and walking the short trails, but the real fun is taking the time to venture away from the main road. The hiking trails take you to arches, through holes in rock walls called windows, over large stone fins, and more. It is a park for those who enjoy the outdoors. And don’t forget to stay after dark to gaze at the sky filled with stars. It’s something you will always remember!
Nate – Nate Meets World
Arches National Park – Utah, USA
It’s been over a decade since I visited Arches National Park but my time there has always stayed in my mind. There isn’t a place like this anywhere else in the world because it is home to over 2000 natural arches. Camping under the dark skies at Devil’s Garden Campground is also something you won’t easily forget.
Arches is very accessible from Moab and can be hiked throughout the year. The drive around the national park itself is truly jaw-dropping filled with spectacular sights as Park Avenue and the Fiery Furnace. My favorite hikes here are Double Arch, Landscape Arch and of course Delicate Arch. The Delicate Arch hike does not have any shade so lather up on that sunscreen. You will be roasting if you do this 3-mile hike in the summer. However, the views at the end make it all worthwhile; at least worthy enough to be the Utah license plate.
If you are visiting Arches National Park, I highly recommend visiting the rest of the natural parks in Utah if you have the time. Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion are all worthy of a visit because they are filled with many amazing hiking opportunities.
Hannah – That Adventurer
My favorite National Park is Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, USA. Coming from the UK, it’s not a park you hear much about. We hear all about Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, but Bryce Canyon? Not so much. So, when I was traveling across the USA last year and saw that Bryce Canyon was nearby I headed on over and was blown away by how beautiful it is!
The main feature of Bryce Canyon is the rock formation called hoodoos. Hoodoos are tall and skinny towers of rock and they’re all over Bryce Canyon. The rock is quite orange in color and for a large part of the year, there’ll be little smatterings of snow too!
While there are some great viewpoints of the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park, one of the best ways to see them is to take a hike. A short but beautiful hike is taking the Queen’s Garden Trail from Sunrise Point and combining it with the Navajo Loop trail from Sunset Point. This hike is about 3 miles long and takes you down amongst the Hoodoos.
Jess – Jess Like To Hike
Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah, USA
I have so many favorite national parks, but Bryce Canyon National Park is a top choice! Bryce is a place of spectacular and mysterious beauty, unlike any other place in the world. The canyon is formed by erosion over time, home to colorful towering hoodoos, narrow spires, and natural bridges—makes it hard to believe that they were naturally created!
I have fond memories of touring the park as a kid on family road trips, and later hiking the Queens Garden trail and Navajo Loop trail as an adult. It’s a perfect place for families and is stunning year round, even in winter, covered in snow. The hoodoos look like they’re covered in powdered sugar!
Florencia – This Giant World
Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado, USA
The summer of 2012, the same year I graduated college, I was part of the Interpretation intern program at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; an experience I will never forget. If there’s one point in time that made me genuinely value our National Parks, this summer was it.
It’s fair to say Rocky Mountain National Park is by far my favorite. The park is one of the highest in the nation, and it also has Trail Ridge Road, which is the highest paved through-road in the country with a peak elevation of over 12,000 feet, offering views like you can’t even imagine. Even though the park isn’t as massive in size as Yellowstone and Yosemite, Rocky Mountain NP offers stunning landscapes and some of the best trails for hiking I’ve visited.
While it’s difficult to choose my all-time favorite, I have to go with the feeling I felt when I finished this hike. The Lake Haiyaha trail is 4.4 miles long and features a stunning waterfall, lakes, and it’s surrounded by mountains. This hike is accessed from the Bear Lake Trailhead. When we saw it for the first time, it took our breath away. We just sat there to admire it.
It’s worth noting that Dream Lake and Emerald Lake are .05 miles and .75 miles (respectively) from the Dream Lake – Lake Haiyaha split, and are worthwhile side hikes if you have the time. Rocky is covered with beautiful trails all through the park. Other memorable hikes to consider when visiting Rocky: Sky Pond, Gem Lake, The Loch Lake Trail, Twin Sisters Peak, and Flattop Mountain trail.
Roxanna – Gypsy With A Day Job
Strangely enough, my favorite National Park has recently become Mammoth Cave. Beyond being a US National park, Mammoth Cave is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an International Protected Biosphere. The park is close to home, yet I never visited. Unaware of all this international significance stuff, I bypassed the area for grander adventure and more popular parks. This was my loss!
Mammoth is the home of the longest known cave system in the world, with over 400 miles of explored passages, downhome in west-central Kentucky Cave tours are the big feature of the park, but above ground, there is hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, and other activities. The karst topography creates an interesting and diverse landscape. There are over 85 miles of trails, including some that are accessible, near the Visitor’s Center. These trails lead to intriguing features, including sinkholes, waterfalls, overlooks, bluffs, and a riverside. For me, the combination of moving water, lush greenery, and the song of birds create the most stunning and peaceful environment. Some prefer hikes that bring an adrenaline rush, but I prefer those that soothe the soul. Mammoth Cave trails do that.
Mary – Runaway Mary K
Great Smoky Mountains National Park –
North Carolina/Tennessee, USA
If I had to pick just one place that gave me my love of the outdoors, I’d have to say the credit goes to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
From watching the sunset on top of the Chimney Tops to catching a glimpse of the view at Charlie’s Bunion right before the clouds rolled in, each trip I have made to this park has been very memorable. If I had to choose, though, I’d say that the hike to the top of Mount LeConte via the Alum Cave Trail was my favorite. As the third highest peak in the park, LeConte can be a bit of a challenge. The hike, however, is very enjoyable from beginning to end. The beauty of this park is incredible and well worth the trip.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit many of our National Parks. I loved every second in the Badlands and I’ll never forget seeing the Grand Tetons for the first time. But it is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Bridget – Nutty Hiker
Located in West Texas about 1.5 hours east of El Paso, Guadalupe Mountains National Park hosts the highest point in Texas. What truly makes this park special is the vast array of wildlife and terrain.
As you hike through the park you may start off in desert area and terrain and soon end up in lush green mountain terrain and back down again. There are over 80 miles worth and trails in the park and all beautiful in their own right. However, my favorite so far (I have not had the chance to hike them all) if I had to pick just one is the McKittrick Canyon Trail followed by Devil’s Hall Trail.
Another feature that makes this park unique is the Salt Flats which you can also hike to and in. For even more adventure there is a 4×4 off-road trail to Williams Ranch that will take you through the canyon and washes and give you a great view of the Salt Flats below.
Eran – The Laughing Traveller
If I have to pick one national park it would probably be Yellowstone National Park!
My visit to Yellowstone was a dream come true. For many years I wanted to visit that park and finally did. I landed in Jackson Hole in May and immediately fell in love with the scenery of the Grand Tetons in front of me. May is the very beginning of the season so I still got to see some snow on the roads but nature there is so diverse and wild.
From the Lamar and Hayden valleys where bison roam the area to geothermal phenomena such as geysers and mud pots. Although walking between these sites can “bother your nose” if you know what I mean but it’s still worth it.
Don’t miss out famous spots like the Old Faithful which erupts approximately every 90 minutes and the Grand Prismatic basin which has interesting colorful stuff going on.
It’s also a haven for wildlife lovers because bears, bison, moose, deer, wolves and more are part of the park’s biosphere. And that’s before I even mentioned birds!
Michelle – The Wandering Queen
Zion National Park – Utah, USA
My favorite national park will always be Zion National Park located in Utah, USA. It was the first National Park I had ever been to and I believe it is what started my fascination with National Parks.
The minute I stepped into the Zion, I fell in love with all the brilliant orange and brown canyons that surrounded me. It was the first time I witnessed fall color leaves as well and I fell in love with the yellow leaves that matched perfectly with the formations. The aura and the feeling of fall in the air and the swirls of all the colors captivated me.
The two hikes we did were Angels Landing and The Narrows. Both hikes were incredible and unique. Angels landing was a little frightening at times but the view at the end where you can see the canyons is breathtaking. The Narrows felt like they were never ending, but hiking in the river surrounded by canyons made me feel so small. Being able to experience such a unique hike in the water was incredible.
Everything about this park made me fall in love with National Parks. So, thanks to Zion, I began my quest to see all of the National Parks in the USA. I have now been to 14 national parks since then and will finish at 18 by the end of this year.
Corry – Hiking Corry
Banff National Park – Alberta, Canada
My favorite National Park is Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. A big reason this park is so special to me is the memories I had there growing up. My family and I took trips to the park nearly weekly to partake in all sorts of different adventures.
The mountains in Banff are like nothing I have ever seen. If you visit Banff, stick around long enough to explore the 100’s of glacial fed lakes and spend some time climbing some peaks to get a bird’s eye view. For an easy hike explore the tea houses at Lake Louise. If you are looking for something more moderate explore the Devil’s Thumb or scramble up the Tower of Babel (but don’t forget a helmet!). If you want to challenge yourself to a fuller day hike check out Bow Peak, Cirque Peak or Eiffel Peak. The hikes that Banff has to offer are endless and my list continues to grow!
Laura – Explore With Lora
Jasper National Park – Alberta, Canada
Canada is filled with incredible national parks to explore from coast to coast but Jasper national park in Alberta has to be one of my top choices. One of my favorite things about the park is the abundance of wildlife. I’ve spotted elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, as well as black and grizzly bear roaming throughout the park.
Another great thing about Jasper that it is a year-round destination. During the winter you can skate, snowshoe, ski or go ice hiking through Maligne canyons which is one of my favorite treks in the park. In the summertime the park becomes a camping oasis where you can spend your days hiking, swimming, and taking in the gorgeous mountain views.
At night the park becomes even more amazing as the night sky lights up. Jasper is one of the world’s largest dark sky preserves and the northern lights can often be spotted here dancing through the sky. I’ve spent countless weekends exploring Jasper national park and am continuously amazed by its beauty, it’s a nature lovers dream.
Ben – Horizon Unknown
Yoho National Park – Alberta/British Columbia, Canada
Yoho National Park borders two provinces of Canada, British Columbia and Alberta. With many beautiful sights, it is popular with tourists and locals alike. It quickly became my favorite National Park for two main reasons.
At an elevation of 2035m, Lake O’Hara is full of stunning hikes and scenery. The view only becomes more majestic as you gain elevation along any of the many wonderful trails. The Lake O’Hara area is also well known for its larch trees, which turn a vibrant yellow color in autumn, and the pristine waters of the many lakes within walking distance – a refreshing dip if you’re game enough!
Just outside the small town of Field sits Emerald Lake, and it has become one of my favorite sights in all of Canada. There are two amazing ways to take in the beauty of this location: a comfortable walking loop around the lake or to hire a canoe. It’s easy to see how Emerald Lake got its name, with an unforgettable turquoise tinge and beautiful reflections along its calm waters.
Yoho National Park is surrounded by snow-capped mountains standing tall behind a sea of pine trees; it is truly both a hiker’s and a nature lover’s paradise.
Julien – Exploration Junkie
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park protects the pristine, jungle-covered Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range that runs along the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It has recently gained attention for being home to the country’s major archaeological site: the Ciudad Perdida, or Lost City – and one of the most beautiful treks you can do in South America.
Getting to visit Colombia had long been a dream of mine, and as a hiking enthusiast, I was thrilled to book this 4-day trek across the mountains. I won’t lie, the trek is physically a little challenging, as you have to bear with the humid heat of the jungle and climb some pretty steep slopes.
But it’s well worth it because the landscapes of the national park are simply mind-blowing! I loved everything about this trek: not only the scenery, but also life at the camps, swimming in the crystal-clear water of the Buritaca River, getting to know the Kogi and Wiwa indigenous communities, and of course discovering the fascinating ruins of the Lost City.
From the terraces of the Lost City, you realize how untouched the mountains are and I think that’s what I loved so much about this national park – the mix of pure wilderness and captivating archaeology.
Teresa – Brogan Abroad
Torres Del Paine National Park – Chile
Torres del Paine National Park has some of the most spectacular landscapes I have ever seen and possibly in the world. Located at the southern tip of the Andes, in Chilean Patagonia, it is a wild environment with rugged mountains, lakes, rivers and glaciers, and it has a pretty unique wildlife. It is the home of the elusive puma, and the ubiquitous guanaco, which can be found grazing along the tracks.
Despite being extremely remote, it is one of the most visited parks in Chile. Visitors come to the park for the trekking, which can be really challenging but so worth it! There are two long-distance route options, with a network of refugios that provide shelter and basic services along the way.
The W Circuit is considered to be among the world’s top treks in the world. It takes about 4-5 days and is the most popular multi-day option. You can see most of the highlights of the park on this route, including the Mirador de las Torres and the Valle Francés lookout. The longer option is the O Circuit, which is the full loop around the Cordillera del Paine and takes 6 to 10 days. This route is approximately 110kms long, pretty challenging and will require camping, but it is easy to stock up on supplies along the way.
Whichever route you choose, you are guaranteed to be blown away by the magnificence of this place.
Jarryd & Alesha – NOMADasaurus
Torres Del Paine National Park – Chile
Our favorite national park would have to be Torres Del Paine in Chile, at the very bottom of Patagonia. This remarkable and rugged place is one of the best spots for trekking in South America, with thousands of people flocking every year to hike the famous 4-day W Trek, and a lesser amount tackling the complete 8-day O Circuit. For those preferring to do day hikes, there are plenty of unique places to base yourself in the park.
Besides being home to a huge number of impressive glaciers and phenomenal lakes, the Paine Massif, which is the crown jewel of the park, is what photographers’ dreams are made of, with jagged, precipitous peaks rising out of a dense forest and carved with glorious valleys. The best time to visit is in the autumn, where the leaves are changing color, adding a red and golden tinge across the landscape. The weather is notoriously horrible in Patagonia, so make sure you come well prepared.
Agnes – Agnes Goes East
Ojców National Park – Małopolska, Poland
Last autumn, for the first time as an adult, I visited Poland’s smallest national park – Ojców National Park. And I was amazed, by its natural beauty.
The park is only 21.46 km2 and you can explore the main sights in just one day, but you will want to stay way longer than that!
Main attractions include incredible limestone formations, caves, castles, water mills (you can even buy traditionally made flour) and museums. All of that just 20 km from Krakow, Poland’s historical city popular among international tourists. So when you’re tired of bustling city life you can head to Ojców and stay in one of many local guesthouses.
When visiting the park make sure to try a local specialty – Ojców style trout. There are a few fish farms inside the park. And how great is it to eat a fresh smoker or grilled trout after a full-day hike?! If you have a chance visit the park in the autumn, when the leaves turn gold and create a striking mosaic on the mountain slopes.
Bilyana – Owl Over The World
Bulgaria has 3 National Parks. One of them is Central Balkan National Park, which is in the heart of Bulgaria.
The highest peak in the Central Balkan National Park is Botev peak, raising at 2, 376 meters above the sea level. There are many hiking trails leading to it, but the one that I would highly recommend is the one passing by the Raiskoto Praskalo waterfall. The name of the waterfall can be literally translated to ”heavenly spray” and it’s the highest waterfall in Bulgaria and the Balkanian Peninsula.
Hiking is generally one of the most amazing things to do in Bulgaria for free and camping is free as well.
Amanda – Health Nut Nomad
Kazbegi National Park – Georgia
Imagine being crammed on a marshrutka (shared minibus) as it wound its ways through a lush, picturesque valley. The colors of fall greet you as the car takes the curvy mountain road at a frightening speed: burnt orange, sunshine yellow, coffee brown, and auburn leaves are dotting the landscape in front of you.
This is Kazbegi National Park. It is located in the Republic of Georgia: a mere three hours, 150 km away from the capital city of Tbilisi. Kazbegi is in the Stephansminda village and is exactly that: a village. My friend and I arrived on one of those days that aren’t quite Fall, but also not quite still summer. We were picked off by a little babushka (Russian grandma) from the center of town and she hobbled her way to her guesthouse, completely oblivious to the jaw-dropping mountain of Kazbegi that lie right in front of her.
Hiking Kazbegi itself is quite a jaunt. We woke with the sun to make the frighteningly steep incline to the iconic church atop the hill — the starting point of the true trek. After taking too many pictures with a handful of friendly, stray dogs following us all the way to the top, we started the climb.
Eleven hours later, we still had not reached the glacier at the top. A few newly found trail friends kept on going, having prepared themselves with food and a tent prior, but we began the trek down just as the sun threatened to set.
In the end, we slip-slide our way down to the one restaurant in town, stuffing our faces with delicious khinkali (dumplings), khachapuri agaruli (egg and cheese bread boat), and sipping on homemade Georgian wine from the Saperavi region.
Why was it the best hike I’ve ever done? Because Georgia is so modest and completely unaware of its own beauty. It has everything to offer and so much more, but it doesn’t boast. It welcomes those that have found it and sends them on their way with a bag full of food and wine, and a mind full of wonderful memories. It truly is one of a kind and many a fellow traveler have fallen in love with it, just like I have.
Lea – Hiking The Balkans
Mavrovo National Park – Macedonia
Mavrovo National Park is a dream come true for an adventurer who seeks the exclusivity of having the mountains for oneself. The region is lacking crowds as it is not known to the regular tourist and locals are not keen hikers, sometimes during a full week of hiking, we’d encounter only one other group of hikers in the mountains and few locals foraging berries. The altitudes range from 600m to 2,764m across peaks, river canyons and endless pastures full of sheep flocks. The highest peak Korab 2,764m (9,026 ft) is on the border between Macedonia and Albania, so reaching it ticks off conquering the summit of both countries J. It is also the 4th highest peak in the Balkans and the 14th one in Europe.
Mavrovo National Park is part of “Dinarides” – a project of the World Wildlife Fund – WWF, focused on the Dinaric Arc stretching from Trieste in Italy to Mavrovo in Macedonia.
One of the many cultural sites in the park is the monastery “St. John Bigorski” from the 11th century which is worth visiting for the scenic and mystic properties as well as for having a glimpse in the Macedonian spirituality and monastic life.
I visit Mavrovo every year, during the long Balkan summer (May until October). There is a network of marked hiking and biking trails, some short and easy, some very long and strenuous. The winter season (November until May) is ideal for freeride skiing and having the slopes and the trails just for yourself is a feeling most visitors claim they never thought they would experience in European mountains.
Becky – Becky The Traveller
The UK has 15 beautiful National Parks but my favorite has to be my local one in the Peak District in Derbyshire.
An hour’s drive from my house it’s a great place to go for a day hike or even longer. There is a mix of different hikes for all levels which is why it makes an awesome National Park.
My favorite hikes are from Edale, a small village in the Dark Peak area. It’s known for its peat bogs and rugged landscape.
On Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District you have gorgeous views, including nearby Mam Tor. This is another popular yet challenging hike you can do from nearby Castleton, which also has many awesome circular walks.
The Peak District has many wonderful hiking memories for me. Simply being able to get outdoors and enjoy nature is magical!
Nick & Dariece – Goats On The Road
Our favorite national park is Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa. We visited here a few years ago and had an incredible experience. It’s a bit more off track than the bigger parks like Kruger and the Serengeti, but it is truly a beautiful place. While we were driving down a dusty dirt road inside the park, we happened upon 3 massive lions just walking past us on the road. They came within a few feet of our tiny spark, so close that they could’ve easily brushed it with their tails. We heard them groan and growl and could almost smell their breath! There were also plenty of elephants and lovely savannah in this park, so it’s definitely our favorite.
We decided to spend a few days on Cat Ba Island which is the largest island in Ha Long Bay, situated in the northern part of Vietnam and easy to get to from Hanoi. The most convenient way to get around the island is to rent a motorbike and explore independently as there are not so many roads to get lost on, plus there is barely any traffic.
To enter the national park, we had to pay 40K VND (less than $2) per person and the parking for the motorbike which was 5K VND. The lush green park covers almost half of the island and is home to many birds and mammals, including the small Cat Ba Langur monkey which is one of the most endangered primate, around 60 of them remaining today.
The hike was around one hour one way and the path was mostly formed from rock steps but there were also a few steep areas where we had to use our hands to climb, especially close to the viewpoints. Once we arrived at the viewpoint, we set up our tripod to take pictures and we noticed the second viewpoint not far away so we decided to check it out before we headed back. The place was not big, only a few people could go at the same time but the views were again worth it.
Note: If you want to go out of the beaten path, make sure you hire a guide as many unexploded mines and bombs lie beneath Vietnam’s picturesque landscapes.
Dave & Deb – The Planet D
You don’t have to be a mountaineer to climb to Everest Base Camp and witness the Khumbu Icefall. If you are in decent physical condition and are prepared to spend 10 days to two weeks at altitude, you can follow in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and national hero Tenzing Norgay. It is an experience we’ll never forget.
Sagarmatha National park is 1,150 square km of pure beauty. It houses eight peaks that reach over 7000 meters and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1976. What makes this hike unique is being able to experience the culture of the Nepal settlements scattered along the route as you stay in tea houses and interact with locals.
Cindy – Free Two Roam
Our favorite national park is the Cradle Mountain National Park in the beautiful state of Tasmania, the smallest state in Australia. Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania’s most visited national parks because of its stunning beauty and its great hikes. It offers a spectacular wilderness environment featuring ancient rainforests, glacial lakes, and alpine moorland.
It’s also a haven for wildlife. On your visit, you’ll likely see Pademelons, Wallabies and Wombats, especially at dawn or dusk.
Hiking is one of the best things to do while in the park and you won’t find a shortage of options. Hikes range in difficulty from easy to very tough; there are hikes for everyone. We loved tackling the iconic Cradle Mountain summit itself. It was certainly a challenging hike and the toughest that we’ve done to date, with lots of clambering over slippery boulders. But the amazing view from the top made it totally worth the effort.
Our favorite bit was seeing the reflection of Cradle Mountain’s rugged peaks on the mirrored surface of Dove Lake. It was simply breathtaking. This national park is such a beautiful part of our country.
Andrea – Get Lost With Andy Bee
Dandenong Ranges National Park – Victoria, Australia
Located an hour east of Melbourne, the ‘Dandenongs’ is my favorite go-to local hiking paradise. Once you enter the forest from one of the hundreds of different tracks, you are in a different world. Ridiculously tall Mountain Ash trees tower over the stunning tree ferns and lush undergrowth. The Dandenongs are home to Lyrebirds, Kookaburras, Echidnas, Wombats, Deer and many other animals. In summer, you might come across different snakes but they will generally slither away when they feel you coming. It’s always peaceful apart from the sounds of the birds.
I hope you enjoyed reading through this as much as I did. If you loved National Parks as much as I do, spread the love and share with a friend, family member or post it on social media! What is your favorite national park? Which national parks on the list have you visited? Share with everyone in the comment section!
Check out my other big collaboration post in which Travel Bloggers and Influencers Share Their Favorite Hike of 2017!