17 Sep 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!
Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is an amazing desert, and it’s a blast to board down, as well!
The park is surrounded by mountains, fields and a river, which makes for a huge contrast of scenery.
Zion National Park is located in Utah–we did the Angels Landing hike and this is the view from the top.
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!
In Arches National Park is also located in Utah, and one of the hikes we went on was to the famous site, Delicate Arch.
Acadia National Park in Maine is one of our favorite parks in the United States–we loved watching this sunset from Cadillac Mountain!
Jordan Pond is another great spot in Acadia National Park–next time we will have to try the popovers in the nearby restaurant!
The coastal views are fantastic throughout Cape Breton National Park in Canada–we really enjoyed the windy hike we took along the Skyline Trail.
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!
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.
Our favorite campsite in Glacier National Park was Sprague Creek, which had gorgeous views over Lake McDonald.
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.
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!
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.
Thousands Islands National Park is located in Canada, but it spans the international border of 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!
The Vermillion Lakes consist of a series of lakes in Banff National Park–I loved the jagged mountains in the backdrop!
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.
Glacier National Park in Canada offers great mountain views, but it’s best explored by hiking through the backcountry.
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.
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!
We took the Shark Valley Tram Tour out to the observation tower, which provided sprawling views over the heart of the Everglades.
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.
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!
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?