The U.S. national park system has been called “America’s best idea” because it represents the first decision by any nation to conserve land in this way — both for the enjoyment of the public and for its own sake.
There are 59 designated national parks that boast everything from coral reefs and alpine peaks to salt flats and rain forests. They’re managed by the National Park Service, which was created on August 25, 1916. To celebrate its 100th birthday, the service is inviting you to Find Your Park.
Wondering which parks are the most popular? Here are the top 10 by number of visitors:
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee, North Carolina)
2. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
3. Yosemite National Park (California)
In another inspiring battle late into the night Kevin managed to send pitches 18, 19, and 20. Clouds swirled all around It was truly a surreal scene. Tomorrow we leave our bacecamp and blast towards the top. With some luck we will be standing on top in a couple days. I an excited to walk on flat ground again although I am sure I will truly miss this experience. Great photo of what has been out home for the past 17 nights @coreyrichproductions @bigupclimbing.
4. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)
The morning commute is a little different at #Yellowstone #NationalPark. Cameron Patrick captured this photo on a cold morning — just after the #bison herd had waded through a river along side the road. The bisons' body heat caused the water to turn to steam in the cold air, creating the mist around the bison.
5. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
6. Olympic National Park (Washington)
With over 922,000 acres, #Olympic #NationalPark in #Washington is a land of beauty and variety. A day's exploration can take you from breathtaking mountain vistas with meadows of wildflowers to colorful ocean tide pools. This stunning photo was taken during #sunrise at the park's Second Beach. Photo by Glenn Nelson (www.sharetheexperience.org).
7. Zion National Park (Utah)
A stunning shot of the #Narrows at Zion #NationalPark (@ZionNPS) in #Utah. The Narrows is the narrowest section of #Zion Canyon. This gorge, with walls a thousand feet tall and the Virgin River sometimes just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. Photo courtesy of Michael Bonocore (@michaelbonocore).
8. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
9. Acadia National Park (Maine)
The sun rising over Boulder Beach in Acadia National Park in Maine. Photo: Marco Crupi (www.sharetheexperience.org) #publiclands #acadia #nationalparks #Maine #coast #coastal #sunrise #boulderbeach #downeast #nature #naturelovers #instanature #atlantic #ocean #instamood #instagood #instacool #photooftheday #photography #bestoftheday #scenic #beauty #travel #vacations #sky
10. Glacier National Park (Montana)
Ready to plan your trip and visit one of America’s iconic national parks? Check out “Travel to the U.S.” to learn about all 50 states.