One thing that really mesmerised my during my road trip through the United States were the huge and diverse National Parks spread out all over the country. I ticked a few major ones off my list, and I found myself extremely impressed with how different every single place was – no two views alike! There are still a whole heap of National Parks that I didn’t make it to, but will most definitely return to in the near future, so here is what I managed to explore!
Zion National Park, Utah
Nearly 600km², Zion is absolutely huge so you really need a lot of time to deeply explore the area, particularly if you are looking to do some hiking. It is famous for its hiking trail Angel’s Landing where you have to wade through rivers, and scale cliff faces, to reach the top. Zion is also famous for its pure waterfalls, hanging gardens, and even mountain goats! If you are a nature nut, then you need to add Zion to your list.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
A huge array of buttes, pinnacles, spires renowned for its prehistoric findings – think dinosaur fossils! If you aren’t into hiking thousands of acres, the Badlands offers a beautiful day drive winding in and out of different colours, formations, and aged rocks. You will definitely find plenty of stops for photo ops, but keep an eye out because you might even spot some of their famous prairie dogs.
Teton Mountain Ranges, Wyoming
Part of the Rocky Mountains, the Tetons are an absolute beautiful piece of nature. You can choose to hike and climb the mountains, or sit back and take in the view from the surrounding lodges.
Monument Valley, Utah
You probably recognise this scene from Forest Gump, but walking through Monument Valley really feels as if you have taken a step back in time. Giant sandstone rock formations are scattered along the Navajo land which truly makes you question how they were formed, and how they have survived when so much of the surrounding land is flat. Monument Valley is definitely an iconic site that must be on your USA Roadtrip bucket list!
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Renowned for the thousands of bright red hoodoos, you can’t pass up hiking along the rim trail or even spending half an hour exploring the depths of the canyon. The best times to visit Bryce Canyon are during sunrise or sunset to see the colours reflect off the sunlight, or even in winter time where you can find the hoodoos capped with pure white snow. Either way, anytime you visit Bryce Canyon you will sure to be blown away.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Situated right on top of a volcanic hot spot, everywhere you turn in Yellowstone is completely different from the next – and the wildlife is intense! You will spot bison everywhere you turn, chipmunks, squirrels, moose (if you’re lucky), and even black and grizzly bears (we were fortunate enough to see both!). The location of Yellowstone too means that you can explore the geysers and hot springs, especially old faithful which usually erupts every half an hour or so, alongside different ways in which volcanic activity can be seen. Make sure you visit the Grand Prismatic Spring (the rainbow water above) as it is definitely something you have never seen before. It is famous for its striking colours, size (the third largest in the world), and the fact that it zaps you if you touch it… weird hey!
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Of course a visit to the Grand Canyon is something you can’t miss out on. Boasting the title of the most visited place in the United States (307 million in 2015!), just one step onto the rim of the canyon makes you realise why. It is a truly breathtaking experience seeing this world famous force of nature in real life, no matter if you are seeing it on the North or South Rim (I did both). I found the North Rim to be quieter in regards to tourists, but the South Rim had better panoramic views. Who would have thought that the Colorado River was so powerful that it created this masterpiece over the period of 6 million years… It is just ‘wow’, no words can describe.
Next time I head to the United States I will definitely be popping by Yosemite National Park, but do you have any other recommendations?