Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

A Photo Essay: National Parks

Showcasing some of the best scenery and landscapes, national parks are pretty special to explore, and 2016 marks the 100th year anniversary of the parks in the United States. National Parks are some of our favorite places to spend time, and this past year, we definitely made it to our fair share. We managed to visit over 15 national parks while road tripping around the US and Canada this summer. It is amazing how many different landscapes the two countries have to offer—there is really something for everyone, from the desert, to forest, to beaches, to mountains and everything in between.

While we typically didn’t have more than a day or two in each park, we did manage to cover a lot of ground in most every one we visited. Each park has something so different to offer, but our favorite adventure always includes checking out a hiking trail or two. We just wish we had more time to explore—we will definitely be heading back to many of the parks for another visit in the future.

Visiting so many parks in one year gave us the idea of a new goal—we want to visit all of the national parks in the United States! We haven’t set a deadline for this goal, but we are going to make visiting the parks a priority when we are near one. Some of the parks we are most looking forward to visiting in the future are Denali National Park, Yosemite National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Until then, here’s a look at the rest of the parks we managed to check out so far this year! Also, stay tuned for a more in-depth look at each park in future posts!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is an amazing desert, and it’s a blast to board down, as well!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

The park is surrounded by mountains, fields and a river, which makes for a huge contrast of scenery.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Zion National Park is located in Utah–we did the Angels Landing hike and this is the view from the top.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

The hike up to Angels Landing is said to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, and it was intense with steep drop-offs, switchbacks and gorgeous views!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

In Arches National Park is also located in Utah, and one of the hikes we went on was to the famous site, Delicate Arch.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Acadia National Park in Maine is one of our favorite parks in the United States–we loved watching this sunset from Cadillac Mountain!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Jordan Pond is another great spot in Acadia National Park–next time we will have to try the popovers in the nearby restaurant!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

The coastal views are fantastic throughout Cape Breton National Park in Canada–we really enjoyed the windy hike we took along the Skyline Trail.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Cape Breton National Park is located in Nova Scotia–we drove there all the way from Minnesota, and let me tell you, it was a long drive!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Glacier National Park in Montana was one of the parks we visited twice this summer. It was another one of our favorite parks, but it was sad to see all the forest fire damage everywhere.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Our favorite campsite in Glacier National Park was Sprague Creek, which had gorgeous views over Lake McDonald.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Isle Royale National Park is an island located on Lake Superior. The only way to get there is by boat, and no vehicles or wheeled transportation is allowed on the island.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

You can take a day trip to the island, or stay in one of the several hike in campgrounds. We took the day trip from Minnesota, but the island is actually located in Michigan waters!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

The Great Smoky Mountains are located in both Tennessee and North Carolina. Clingmans Dome is an observation tower that offers wonderful views over the mountains.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Thousands Islands National Park is located in Canada, but it spans the international border of the United States and Canada.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is our favorite national park in Canada, so far. Canoeing at Moraine Lake was one of our favorite adventures this summer–it was incredibly gorgeous!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

The Vermillion Lakes consist of a series of lakes in Banff National Park–I loved the jagged mountains in the backdrop!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Lake Minnewanka in Banff was another gorgeous spot in the national park. We happened to catch this shot during a pause in the thunderstorm we were trying to outrun.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Glacier National Park in Canada offers great mountain views, but it’s best explored by hiking through the backcountry.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Unfortunately, our visit to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia was spent entirely trying to escape the fog. At times, we could barely see in front of our car, but fog did make the lush green forests pretty mystical.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Everglades National Park in Florida is an interesting place–from what I’ve seen of the Everglades in the past, I was not expecting to find lush green trees like this!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

We took the Shark Valley Tram Tour out to the observation tower, which provided sprawling views over the heart of the Everglades.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Voyageurs National Park is located in our home state of Minnesota! It is another park that is located along the United States and Canadian borders.

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

A third of this park is made up of water, and there are 655 miles of shoreline throughout Voyageurs. You can camp at very secluded sites only reachable by boat, or try your hand on a houseboat, one of the more popular ways to see the park!

Photo Essay: National Parks in the United States and Canada

Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was a last minute addition to our itinerary, and I’m sure glad it was. Even though most of the mountains were covered in haze from the nearby forest fires, we did still manage to catch a glowing sunset!

Share with us! What are you favorite National Parks?

 

42 Comments
  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:07h, 17 September Reply

    Arches is my absolute favourite National Park!!!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted…5 Amazing US Road Trip Itineraries for Your Bucket ListMy Profile

  • antonette - we12travel
    Twitter:
    Posted at 00:53h, 18 September Reply

    I love the American Parks – all of them, or at least, those I’ve been to, which are about 10 I think, plus about 8 or so in Canada. They are all amazing for their own beauty. My favorite … hmmm that’s pretty hard. Yellowstone ofcourse but Grand Teton as well. Then Arches NP in Utah and Gros Morne in Newfoundland. Ultimate #1 though is Wrangell St. Elias in Alaska … if you ever have the chance, go!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:39h, 13 October Reply

      Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton are high on our list! Thanks for the suggestions for the others–would love to check them out!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Fall Hiking at Hallaway HillMy Profile

  • Ileana
    Posted at 02:29h, 18 September Reply

    You guys are super awesome with photography!

  • Meg Jerrard
    Twitter:
    Posted at 06:58h, 18 September Reply

    Amazing collection of photos from some truly spectacular parks Jenna! Thanks for highlighting the National Parks of America – Zion National Park is high on our list, we did hit up Arches while in Utah, though our problem was we had timed our visit horribly wrong and it coincided with the break of school holidays, so everywhere was super packed with people. Though goes to show just how popular the parks are though, and I’m glad people were getting outside!
    Meg Jerrard recently posted…The Five Biggest Events in JapanMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:37h, 13 October Reply

      Thanks, Meg! That’s a bummer about Arches–the parks can be frustrating when they are too crowded, but I’m glad people were getting outside, as well!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Fall Hiking at Hallaway HillMy Profile

  • Chris Boothman
    Twitter:
    Posted at 12:29h, 18 September Reply

    I love that you have featured a variety of national parks here! We just purchased the annual pass this year so we have been visiting a number of parks including all of those in Utah (except Canyonlands) and over Labor Day weekend we visited Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier. Our experiences in all have been AMAZING and even though your pictures are awesome, I am sure you will agree that nothing can do these national parks enough justice as actually visiting them in person. We are writing about our experiences in Yellowstone right now with a series of posts and well…it’s so easy to write about such stunning natural beauty!

    Great post!!!
    Chris Boothman recently posted…Yellowstone in a Day – How to Maximize Your TimeMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:36h, 13 October Reply

      Thanks, Chris! The annual passes are so valuable if you visit enough parks–we got one too and it was well worth it! Sounds like you’ve made it to some amazing parks! Looking forward to check out your posts, too!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Fall Hiking at Hallaway HillMy Profile

  • Marie Hernandez
    Twitter:
    Posted at 01:48h, 19 September Reply

    Wonderful photos. I must admit, as an American, I am embarrassed that I haven’t been to many on your list. It’s funny how we’re always searching for great destinations and forget the ones in our own back yard!
    Marie Hernandez recently posted…Gastronome Wednesday ~ Comfort Food Around the WorldMy Profile

  • Erica
    Twitter:
    Posted at 01:54h, 19 September Reply

    Great, great roundup! Banff NAtional Park looks LOVELY!!
    Erica recently posted…Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City? That is The QuestionMy Profile

  • mar
    Twitter:
    Posted at 02:04h, 19 September Reply

    These are some really beautiful photos and Colorado’s desert looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing!
    mar recently posted…Six Sense Qing Cheng Mountain – A retreat in the Province of abundanceMy Profile

  • Toni
    Twitter:
    Posted at 02:49h, 19 September Reply

    The US National Parks are so beautiful and so different to the picture most overseas visitors have in mind when they think of the USA. I love your goal of visiting them all.
    Toni recently posted…Exploring the geisha districts of KyotoMy Profile

  • Paula McInerney
    Twitter:
    Posted at 03:34h, 19 September Reply

    Spectacular photos, and can only guess that in real life even more special. The diversity is amazing. I have not been to any National Parks in the States, but certainly hope too.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…Gordon & the Historic Village HerbertonMy Profile

  • Kathrin
    Twitter:
    Posted at 03:47h, 19 September Reply

    Fantastic photos! Just breathtaking! I really should start learning how to use a camera 😀

  • Monika
    Posted at 05:03h, 19 September Reply

    Your photos of the parks are amazing! I hope one day I’ll visit some of these places.
    How many national parks are there in the United States? I’m curious how much you still have ahead of you 🙂
    Monika recently posted…The Seven Best Countries!My Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:30h, 13 October Reply

      Thanks! I believe there are 59 national parks, so we have quite a long way to go! Hope you get to visit some of them!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Fall Hiking at Hallaway HillMy Profile

  • Julius / Traveltipy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 15:57h, 19 September Reply

    Wow, 15 national parks in one year is quite enough! 🙂 I’ve been to 3 only this year but all of them are just 40-100km away 🙂 What a long trip it had to be in the US and Canada 🙂 Great pictures, Micah is really a great photographer!
    Julius / Traveltipy recently posted…Visit Košice – Top 35 things to do in KošiceMy Profile

  • Hugo
    Twitter:
    Posted at 06:33h, 20 September Reply

    Beautiful photography!

    I really like National Parks and usually focus my trips on visiting them (even in other countries). My favourites so far are Yosemite and Death Valley. So many others to visit!
    Hugo recently posted…Two days in New Zealand’s Glacier CountryMy Profile

  • Natalie Deduck
    Twitter:
    Posted at 08:45h, 20 September Reply

    Amazed by your pictures! Congrats!
    The Sand Dunes in Colorado is new to me, first time that I heard about this Park.
    Natalie Deduck recently posted…How Much Does It Cost to Travel in London?My Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:26h, 13 October Reply

      Thanks! We just heard about Sand Dunes this year–it seems to be kind of a hidden park, but it’s so much fun!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Fall Hiking at Hallaway HillMy Profile

  • Dawn Kealing
    Twitter:
    Posted at 16:19h, 20 September Reply

    Banff is such an amazing place to visit! I can’t help but feel so blessed looking at all these photos and seeing how stunningly beautiful our planet is! I’m so glad there’s National parks that protect and preserve this beauty as well. Thanks so much for sharing, such stunning photos! 🙂
    Dawn Kealing recently posted…15 Ways to Beat Jet LagMy Profile

  • Lauren
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:54h, 20 September Reply

    Absolutely stunning photos! I loved visiting the 1000 Islands, though I would really love to go to Alberta! So many places to go, such little time. National Parks are definitely amongst my favorite places to visit!
    Lauren recently posted…Long Point Zip Line and Canopy Tour with Samba DaysMy Profile

  • kami
    Twitter:
    Posted at 00:58h, 21 September Reply

    I haven’t been to the US yet but National Parks are my main reason to eventually go there! When I look at the picture, either here or in any other place, I just can’t believe these places actually exist! They’re so stunning! Hopefully I will get the chance to visit them sooner than later, especially these at the West Coast!
    kami recently posted…29 most beautiful towns in Central EuropeMy Profile

  • Naomi
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:26h, 21 September Reply

    Oh my this is gorgeous! I really wanna explore some national parks next year, been on my bucketlist for so long!

  • Maaike - travellousworld.com
    Twitter:
    Posted at 13:47h, 21 September Reply

    Well done, the photos are absolutely breathtaking! I can see why you’ve set the new goal of visiting all the NP. I would love to do the same.

    I’ve only visited a few North American NP so far, but Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Banff and Jasper were my personal faves!
    Maaike – travellousworld.com recently posted…Rome at Night: a Photo EssayMy Profile

  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 11:12h, 03 October Reply

    Quite a list already! Been to Zion, Arches, Yellowstone, Banff, Glacier, Everglades and Sand Dunes National Parks too! only to some little places there, would love to see more of each and discover the others.

    All pictures are absolutely fabulous, as always! Thanks for sharing the beauty and inspiring us again!

    Happy trails!
    Jul’
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…Weekly Photo Challenge: (No) BoundariesMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:57h, 13 October Reply

      Thanks, Jul’! Yellowstone is one we have yet to make it to! Looks like you have made it to a lot of great ones–they really are so beautiful. We wish we had more time to explore too–there is so much to do in all of the parks!!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Fall Hiking at Hallaway HillMy Profile

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