July is Parks and Recreation Month, a time to recognize the importance parks play in our lives. As early as the 1800s, our country began to recognize the importance of parks. In 1872, the first law was passed to establish national parks. These parks were created not only to provide enjoyment, but also to conserve the natural beauty of the landscape, as well as the wildlife and ecosystems within the parks. While there are many national parks across the country worth visiting, the following are considered some of the most spectacular.
Yosemite National Park – California
This national park is one of the best in the country. The park is filled with granite cliffs, streams, waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, wilderness and even some black bears. Yosemite has inspired many people, including famous photographer, Ansel Adams. Located in Central Sierra Nevada mountain range, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country. The park is home to iconic features like Half Dome and El Capitan.
Arches National Park – Utah
This national park has the world’s highest concentration of natural red stone arches – over 2,000 of them – making the surrounding scenery beautifully surreal. The park is filled with hundreds of soaring pinnacles, spires and giant balanced rocks. The park is located in southeastern Utah, just minutes from Moab.
Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming
This national park is the first national park in the world. Yellowstone is home to the world’s largest collection of geysers, including Old Faithful. The park is filled with basins, wildlife, waterfalls and miles of wilderness to explore. The parks spans 3,468 square miles which include lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The park offers a variety of recreation opportunities for the whole family.
Grand Canyon – Arizona
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a destination that can’t be missed. The Grand Canyon provides breathtaking views of overwhelming scale. The colorful and intricate canyon, which took millions of years to develop, is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River that is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide and 1 mile deep. The canyon is geologically significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved. Nearly five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, making it one of the most popular U.S. national park and top travel destination.