We’ve seen a lot of things since we began our 12-month tour of America’s national parks as part of our ‘Find Your Adventure’ series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Topping that list are some of the absolutely jaw-dropping views we’ve taken in along the way.
Now, we know we’re setting ourselves up to be second-guessed here, but we still thought you’d enjoy having a look at our take on the best views in America’s national parks (Think we missed something? Feel free to set us straight on the subject via the comment area below). So here they are, in no particular order:
Arches National Park
From the impossibly convoluted Fiery Furnace to Delicate Arch (that’s it there on the Utah state license plate), this park comes by its name honestly with more than 2,000 arches ranging from inches long to the 287-foot Landscape Arch, the second longest in the world.
Yosemite National Park
If there’s a park with more dramatic views, we haven’t seen it. Sit at the Tunnel View Overlook (off Highway 41), with the glacially-carved Yosemite Valley full of granite domes and the impossibly beautiful Bridalveil Fall spread out before you, and try not to be awestruck, we dare you.
Glacier National Park
There are a lot of dramatic drives in our national parks, but few can rival this Montana park’s famous Going-To-The-Sun-Road. Though length restrictions limit access to cars and the smallest motorhomes (guided tours aboard the park’s historic red buses are available), this 50-mile ribbon of asphalt remains one of our all-time greatest must-drive experiences.
Olympic National Park
Every time we go to this 21,442 square-mile park on the Washington coast we have a hard time deciding which vista we like more, the sweeping views of the sea stack-studded coastline or the more intimate panorama of the lush green moss-draped temperate rainforest.
Grand Teton National Park
There isn’t a more dramatic transformation anywhere in our national parks than watching the rising sun paint the jagged peaks of Wyoming’s Teton Range in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of blues, pinks, oranges and golds. Jenny Lake Scenic Drive and the Teton Park Road are among the best spots to enjoy the show.
Grand Canyon National Park
No discussion of stunning national park views could possibly be complete without mention of this Arizona gem. The South Rim of the canyon (try Yavapai Point Overlook for fantastic sunrise/sunset views) is the most popular, of course, but if you visit during the short summer season don’t miss the views from North Rim overlooks like Point Imperial, the highest spot along the entire canyon rim.
Yellowstone National Park
This Wyoming park’s always-punctual Old Faithful geyser gets all the press here, but for our money the brilliantly blue Grand Prismatic Spring is every bit as much of a must-see.
Zion National Park
Trying to pick a favorite view here in the first of Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks is a bit like trying to name your favorite child. If pressed, however, we’d have to point to the dramatic scene that surrounds you as you hike literally in the Virgin River as it flows through The Narrows of half-mile-deep Zion Canyon.