List of national parks of the United States

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1938 poster for Yellowstone National Park

The United States has 59 protected areas known as national parks, which are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. National parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress. The first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."[1] Many current National Parks had been previously protected as National Monuments by the President under the Antiquities Act before being upgraded by Congress. Seven national parks (six in Alaska) are paired with a National Preserve. While administered together, they are considered as separate units and their areas are not included in the figures below. The newest national park is Pinnacles National Park, upgraded in 2013.

Criteria for the selection of National Parks include natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems, and recreational opportunities (though these criteria are not always considered together). National Monuments, on the other hand, are frequently chosen for their historical or archaeological significance.

Twenty-seven states have national parks, as do the territories of American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands. California has the most (nine), followed by Alaska (eight), Utah (five), and Colorado (four). The largest national park is Wrangell–St. Elias in Alaska: at over 8 million acres (32,000 km2), it is larger than each of the nine smallest states. The next three largest parks are also in Alaska. The smallest park is Hot Springs, Arkansas, at less than 6 thousand acres (24 km2). The total area protected by national parks is approximately 51.9 million acres (210,000 km2), for an average of 895 thousand acres (3,620 km2) but a median of only 317 thousand acres (1,280 km2).[2] The most-visited national park is Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee, with over nine million visitors in 2011, followed by Arizona's Grand Canyon, with over four million. In contrast, only 5,227 people visited the remote Lake Clark in Alaska in the same year.[3] Fourteen national parks are designated World Heritage Sites.[4]

A few former national parks are no longer designated as such, or have been abandoned. Other units of the National Park Service are sometimes incorrectly[citation needed] referred to as national parks; they are listed here.

National Parks[edit]

NamePhotoLocationDate established[2][5]Area[2]Description
44°21′N 68°13′W / 44.35°N 68.21°W / 44.35; -68.21 (Acadia)
February 26, 1919700447389670000000047,389.67 acres (191.8 km2)Covering most of Mount Desert Island and other coastal islands, Acadia features the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast of the United States, granite peaks, ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes. There are freshwater, estuary, forest, and intertidal habitats.[6][7]
American SamoaOfu Beach NPS.jpgAmerican Samoa
14°15′S 170°41′W / 14.25°S 170.68°W / -14.25; -170.68 (National Park of American Samoa)
October 31, 198870039000000000000009,000.00 acres (36.4 km2)The southernmost national park is on three Samoan islands and protects coral reefs, rainforests, volcanic mountains, and white beaches. The area is also home to flying foxes, brown boobies, sea turtles, and 900 species of fish.[8]
38°41′N 109°34′W / 38.68°N 109.57°W / 38.68; -109.57 (Arches)
November 12, 1971700476518980000000076,518.98 acres (309.7 km2)This site features more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the famous Delicate Arch. In a desert climate, millions of years of erosion have led to these structures, and the arid ground has life-sustaining soil crust and potholes, which serve as natural water-collecting basins. Other geologic formations are stone columns, spires, fins, and towers.[9]
BadlandsBadlandsView3.jpgSouth Dakota
43°45′N 102°30′W / 43.75°N 102.50°W / 43.75; -102.50 (Badlands)
November 10, 19787005242755940000000242,755.94 acres (982.4 km2)The Badlands are a collection of buttes, pinnacles, spires, and grass prairies. It has the world's richest fossil beds from the Oligocene epoch, and the wildlife includes bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets, and swift foxes.[10]
Big BendSanta Elena Canyon.jpgTexas
29°15′N 103°15′W / 29.25°N 103.25°W / 29.25; -103.25 (Big Bend)
June 12, 19447005801163210000000801,163.21 acres (3,242.2 km2)Named for the Bend of the Rio Grande along the US–Mexico border, this park includes a part of the Chihuahuan Desert. A wide variety of Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils as well as cultural artifacts of Native Americans exist within its borders.[11]
BiscayneBiscayne NP snorkeling.jpgFlorida
25°39′N 80°05′W / 25.65°N 80.08°W / 25.65; -80.08 (Biscayne)
June 28, 19807005172924070000000172,924.07 acres (699.8 km2)Located in Biscayne Bay, this park at the north end of the Florida Keys has four interrelated marine ecosystems: mangrove forest, the Bay, the Keys, and coral reefs. Threatened animals include the West Indian Manatee, American crocodile, various sea turtles, and peregrine falcon.[12]
Black Canyon of the GunnisonBlack canyon gunnison Colorado.jpgColorado
38°34′N 107°43′W / 38.57°N 107.72°W / 38.57; -107.72 (Black Canyon of the Gunnison)
October 21, 1999700432950030000000032,950.03 acres (133.3 km2)The park protects a quarter of the Gunnison River, which slices sheer canyon walls from dark Precambrian-era rock. The canyon features incredibly steep descents, and is a popular site for river rafting and rock climbing. The deep, narrow canyon, made of gneiss and schist, is often in shadow and therefore appears black.[13]
Bryce CanyonBryce Canyon Hoodoos Amphitheater.jpgUtah
37°34′N 112°11′W / 37.57°N 112.18°W / 37.57; -112.18 (Bryce Canyon)
February 25, 1928700435835080000000035,835.08 acres (145.0 km2)Bryce Canyon is a giant geological amphitheater along the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The unique area has hundreds of tall sandstone hoodoos formed by erosion. The region was originally settled by Native Americans and later by Mormon pioneers.[14]
CanyonlandsCanyonlands Needles.jpgUtah
38°12′N 109°56′W / 38.2°N 109.93°W / 38.2; -109.93 (Canyonlands)
September 12, 19647005337597830000000337,597.83 acres (1,366.2 km2)This landscape was eroded into canyons, buttes, and mesas by the Colorado River, Green River, and their tributaries, which divide the park into three districts. There are rock pinnacles and other naturally sculpted rock, as well as artifacts from Ancient Pueblo Peoples.[15]
Capitol ReefCassidy Arch, Capitol Reef National Park.JPGUtah
38°12′N 111°10′W / 38.20°N 111.17°W / 38.20; -111.17 (Capitol Reef)
December 18, 19717005241904260000000241,904.26 acres (979.0 km2)The park's Waterpocket Fold is a 100-mile (160 km) monocline that exhibits the Earth's diverse geologic layers. Other natural features are monoliths and sandstone domes and cliffs shaped like the United States Capitol.[16]
Carlsbad CavernsCarlsbad Interior Formations.jpgNew Mexico
32°10′N 104°26′W / 32.17°N 104.44°W / 32.17; -104.44 (Carlsbad Caverns)
May 14, 1930700446766450000000046,766.45 acres (189.3 km2)Carlsbad Caverns has 117 caves, the longest of which is over 120 miles (190 km) long. The Big Room is almost 4,000 feet (1,200 m) long, and the caves are home to over 400,000 Mexican Free-tailed Bats and sixteen other species. Above ground are the Chihuahuan Desert and Rattlesnake Springs.[17]
Channel IslandsChannel Islands National Park.jpgCalifornia
34°01′N 119°25′W / 34.01°N 119.42°W / 34.01; -119.42 (Channel Islands)
March 5, 19807005249561000000000249,561.00 acres (1,009.9 km2)Five of the eight Channel Islands are protected, and half of the park's area is underwater. The islands have a unique Mediterranean ecosystem. They are home to over 2,000 species of land plants and animals, and 145 are unique to them. The islands were originally settled by the Chumash people.[18]
CongareeCongaree swamp.jpgSouth Carolina
33°47′N 80°47′W / 33.78°N 80.78°W / 33.78; -80.78 (Congaree)
November 10, 2003700426545860000000026,545.86 acres (107.4 km2)On the Congaree River, this park is the largest portion of old-growth floodplain forest left in North America. Some of the trees are the tallest in the Eastern US. An elevated walkway called the Boardwalk Loop guides visitors through the swamp.[19]
Crater LakeCrater lake oregon.jpgOregon
42°56′N 122°06′W / 42.94°N 122.1°W / 42.94; -122.1 (Crater Lake)
May 22, 19027005183224050000000183,224.05 acres (741.5 km2)Crater Lake lies in the caldera of an ancient volcano called Mount Mazama that collapsed 7,700 years ago. It is the deepest lake in the United States and is famous for its vivid blue color and water clarity. There are two more recent volcanic islands in the lake, and, with no inlets or outlets, all water comes through precipitation.[20]
Cuyahoga ValleyOhioErieCanalLock.JPGOhio
41°14′N 81°33′W / 41.24°N 81.55°W / 41.24; -81.55 (Cuyahoga Valley)
October 11, 2000700432860730000000032,860.73 acres (133.0 km2)This park along the Cuyahoga River has waterfalls, hills, trails, and exhibits on early rural living. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail follows the Ohio and Erie Canal, where mules towed canal boats. The park has numerous historic homes, bridges, and structures.[21] The park also offers a scenic train ride with various trips available.[22]
Death ValleyMesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley.jpgCalifornia, Nevada
36°14′N 116°49′W / 36.24°N 116.82°W / 36.24; -116.82 (Death Valley)
October 31, 199470063372401960000003,372,401.96 acres (13,647.6 km2)Death Valley is the hottest, lowest, and driest place in the United States. Daytime temperatures have topped 130 °F (54 °C) and it is home to Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America. A diversity of colorful canyons, desolate badlands, shifting sand dunes, sprawling mountains, and over 1000 species of plants populate this geologic graben. Additional points of interest include salt flats, historic mines, and springs.[23]
DenaliMount McKinley and Denali National Park Road 2048px.jpgAlaska
63°20′N 150°30′W / 63.33°N 150.50°W / 63.33; -150.50 (Denali)
February 26, 191770064740911720000004,740,911.72 acres (19,185.8 km2)Centered around Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, Denali is serviced by a single road leading to Wonder Lake. McKinley and other peaks of the Alaska Range are covered with long glaciers and boreal forest. Wildlife includes grizzly bears, Dall sheep, caribou, and gray wolves.[24]
Dry TortugasFort-Jefferson Dry-Tortugas.jpgFlorida
24°38′N 82°52′W / 24.63°N 82.87°W / 24.63; -82.87 (Dry Tortugas)
October 26, 1992700464701220000000064,701.22 acres (261.8 km2)The islands of the Dry Tortugas, at the westernmost end of the Florida Keys, are the site of Fort Jefferson, a Civil War-era fort that is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. With most of the park being remote ocean, it is home to undisturbed coral reefs and shipwrecks and is only accessible by plane or boat.[25]
EvergladesEverglades National Park cypress.jpgFlorida
25°19′N 80°56′W / 25.32°N 80.93°W / 25.32; -80.93 (Everglades)
May 30, 193470061508537900000001,508,537.90 acres (6,104.8 km2)The Everglades are the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. This mangrove ecosystem and marine estuary is home to 36 protected species, including the Florida panther, American crocodile, and West Indian manatee. Some areas have been drained and developed; restoration projects aim to restore the ecology.[26]
Gates of the ArcticGatesofArctic.jpgAlaska
67°47′N 153°18′W / 67.78°N 153.30°W / 67.78; -153.30 (Gates of the Arctic)
December 2, 198070067523897740000007,523,897.74 acres (30,448.1 km2)The country's northernmost park protects an expanse of pure wilderness in Alaska's Brooks Range and has no park facilities. The land is home to Alaska natives, who have relied on the land and caribou for 11,000 years.[27]
GlacierSt Mary Lake - Wild goose Island.jpgMontana
48°48′N 114°00′W / 48.80°N 114.00°W / 48.80; -114.00 (Glacier)
May 11, 191070061013572410000001,013,572.41 acres (4,101.8 km2)The U.S. half of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, this park hosts 26 glaciers and 130 named lakes beneath a stunning canopy of Rocky Mountain peaks. There are historic hotels and a landmark road in this region of rapidly receding glaciers. The local mountains, formed by an overthrust, expose the world's best-preserved sedimentary fossils from the Proterozoic era.[28]
Glacier BayGlacierBay3.jpgAlaska
58°30′N 137°00′W / 58.50°N 137.00°W / 58.50; -137.00 (Glacier Bay)
December 2, 198070063224840310000003,224,840.31 acres (13,050.5 km2)Glacier Bay has numerous tidewater glaciers, mountains, fjords, and a temperate rainforest, and is home to large populations of grizzly bears, mountain goats, whales, seals, and eagles. When discovered in 1794 by George Vancouver, the entire bay was covered in ice, but the glaciers have since receded more than 65 miles (105 km).[29]
Grand CanyonUSA 09847 Grand Canyon Luca Galuzzi 2007.jpgArizona
36°04′N 112°08′W / 36.06°N 112.14°W / 36.06; -112.14 (Grand Canyon)
February 26, 191970061217403320000001,217,403.32 acres (4,926.7 km2)The Grand Canyon, carved by the mighty Colorado River, is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 1 mile (1.6 km) deep, and up to 15 miles (24 km) wide. Millions of years of erosion have exposed the colorful layers of the Colorado Plateau in countless mesas and canyon walls, visible from both the north and south rims, or from a number of trails that descend into the canyon itself.[30]
Grand TetonTeton Range from Glacier View Turnout-closeup.JPGWyoming
43°44′N 110°48′W / 43.73°N 110.80°W / 43.73; -110.80 (Grand Teton)
February 26, 19297005309994660000000309,994.66 acres (1,254.5 km2)Grand Teton is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The park's historic Jackson Hole and reflective piedmont lakes teem with unique wildlife and contrast with the dramatic mountains, which rise abruptly from the sage-covered valley below.[31]
Great BasinGreat Basin National Park 102007 031.JPGNevada
38°59′N 114°18′W / 38.98°N 114.30°W / 38.98; -114.30 (Great Basin)
October 27, 1986700477180000000000077,180.00 acres (312.3 km2)Based around Wheeler Peak, the Great Basin has 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines, glacial moraines, and the limestone Lehman Caves. It has some of the country's darkest night skies, and there are animal species including Townsend's big-eared bat, pronghorn, and Bonneville cutthroat trout.[32]
Great Sand DunesColoradodunes.jpgColorado
37°44′N 105°31′W / 37.73°N 105.51°W / 37.73; -105.51 (Great Sand Dunes)
September 13, 2004700442983740000000042,983.74 acres (173.9 km2)The tallest sand dunes in North America, up to 750 feet (230 m) tall, were formed by deposits of the ancient Rio Grande in the San Luis Valley. Abutting a variety of grasslands, shrublands, and wetlands, the park also has alpine lakes, six 13,000-foot mountains, and old-growth forests.[33]
Great Smoky MountainsFall at Oconaluftee Overlook.JPGNorth Carolina, Tennessee
35°41′N 83°32′W / 35.68°N 83.53°W / 35.68; -83.53 (Great Smoky Mountains)
June 15, 19347005521490130000000521,490.13 acres (2,110.4 km2)The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains, span a wide range of elevations, making them home to over 400 vertebrate species, 100 tree species, and 5000 plant species. Hiking is the park's main attraction, with over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities include fishing, horseback riding, and touring nearly 80 historic structures.[34]
Guadalupe MountainsWest face of Guadalupe Mountains at sunset 2006.jpgTexas
31°55′N 104°52′W / 31.92°N 104.87°W / 31.92; -104.87 (Guadalupe Mountains)
October 15, 1966700486415970000000086,415.97 acres (349.7 km2)This park boasts Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas; the scenic McKittrick Canyon filled with Bigtooth Maples; a corner of the arid Chihuahuan Desert; and a fossilized coral reef from the Permian era.[35]
HaleakalāHaleakala Crater.jpgHawaii
20°43′N 156°10′W / 20.72°N 156.17°W / 20.72; -156.17 (Haleakala)
August 1, 1916700429093670000000029,093.67 acres (117.7 km2)The Haleakalā volcano on Maui features a very large crater with numerous cinder cones, Hosmer's Grove of alien trees, the Kipahulu section's scenic pools of freshwater fish, and the native Hawaiian Goose. It is home to the greatest number of endangered species within a U.S. National Park.[36]
Hawaii VolcanoesPuu Oo cropped.jpgHawaii
19°23′N 155°12′W / 19.38°N 155.20°W / 19.38; -155.20 (Hawaii Volcanoes)
August 1, 19167005323431380000000323,431.38 acres (1,308.9 km2)This park on the Big Island protects the famous Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, two of the world's most active geological features. Diverse ecosystems range from tropical forests at sea level to barren lava beds at more than 13,000 feet (4,000 m).[37]
Hot SpringsHots Springs National Park aerial.jpgArkansas
34°31′N 93°03′W / 34.51°N 93.05°W / 34.51; -93.05 (Hot Springs)
March 4, 192170035549750000000005,549.75 acres (22.5 km2)The only National Park in an urban area, this smallest National Park is based around natural hot springs that have been managed by the federal government for public use since the 1830s. The springs provide opportunities for relaxation in an historic setting; Bathhouse Row preserves numerous examples of 19th-century architecture.[38]
Isle RoyaleIsleRoyalePlane.jpgMichigan
48°06′N 88°33′W / 48.10°N 88.55°W / 48.10; -88.55 (Isle Royale)
March 3, 19317005571790110000000571,790.11 acres (2,314.0 km2)The largest island in Lake Superior is a place of isolation and wilderness. Along with its many shipwrecks, waterways, and hiking trails, the park also includes over 400 smaller islands within 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of its shores. There are only 20 mammal species on the entire island, though the relationship between its wolf and moose populations is especially unique.[39]
Joshua TreeJoshua Tree - Rock formation in Real Hidden Valley 1.jpgCalifornia
33°47′N 115°54′W / 33.79°N 115.90°W / 33.79; -115.90 (Joshua Tree)
October 31, 19947005789745470000000789,745.47 acres (3,196.0 km2)Covering large areas of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts and the Little San Bernardino Mountains, this exotic desert landscape is populated by vast stands of the famous Joshua tree. Great changes in elevation reveal starkly contrasting environments including bleached sand dunes, dry lakes, rugged mountains, and maze-like clusters of monzogranite monoliths.[40]
KatmaiBrown bears brooks falls.jpgAlaska
58°30′N 155°00′W / 58.50°N 155.00°W / 58.50; -155.00 (Katmai)
December 2, 198070063674529680000003,674,529.68 acres (14,870.3 km2)This park on the Alaska Peninsula protects the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, an ash flow formed by the 1912 eruption of Novarupta, as well as Mount Katmai. Over 2,000 brown bears come here each year to catch spawning salmon.[41]
Kenai FjordsExit Glacier Jul09.JPGAlaska
59°55′N 149°39′W / 59.92°N 149.65°W / 59.92; -149.65 (Kenai Fjords)
December 2, 19807005669982990000000669,982.99 acres (2,711.3 km2)Near Seward on the Kenai Peninsula, this park protects the Harding Icefield and at least 38 glaciers and fjords stemming from it. The only area accessible to the public by road is Exit Glacier; the rest must be viewed from boat tours.[42]
Kings CanyonParadiseValley.JPGCalifornia
36°48′N 118°33′W / 36.80°N 118.55°W / 36.80; -118.55 (Kings Canyon)
March 4, 19407005461901200000000461,901.20 acres (1,869.2 km2)Home to several Giant sequoia groves and the General Grant Tree, the world's second largest, this park also features part of the Kings River, sculptor of the dramatic granite canyon that is its namesake, and the San Joaquin River, as well as Boyden Cave.[43]
Kobuk ValleyAgie River.jpgAlaska
67°33′N 159°17′W / 67.55°N 159.28°W / 67.55; -159.28 (Kobuk Valley)
December 2, 198070061750716500000001,750,716.50 acres (7,084.9 km2)Kobuk Valley protects 61 miles (98 km) of the Kobuk River and three regions of sand dunes. Created by glaciers, the Great Kobuk, Little Kobuk, and Hunt River Sand Dunes can reach 100 feet (30 m) high and 100 °F (38 °C), and they are the largest dunes in the Arctic. Twice a year, half a million caribou migrate through the dunes and across river bluffs that expose well-preserved ice age fossils.[44]
Lake ClarkLake Clark National Park.jpgAlaska
60°58′N 153°25′W / 60.97°N 153.42°W / 60.97; -153.42 (Lake Clark)
December 2, 198070062619733210000002,619,733.21 acres (10,601.7 km2)The region around Lake Clark features four active volcanoes, including Mount Redoubt, as well as an abundance of rivers, glaciers, and waterfalls. Temperate rainforests, a tundra plateau, and three mountain ranges fill in the remaining landscape.[45]
Lassen VolcanicCinder-cone-from-behind-Snag-Lassen.jpgCalifornia
40°29′N 121°31′W / 40.49°N 121.51°W / 40.49; -121.51 (Lassen Volcanic)
August 9, 19167005106372360000000106,372.36 acres (430.5 km2)Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, is joined by all three other types of volcanoes in this park: shield, cinder dome, and composite. Though Lassen itself last erupted in 1915, most of the rest of the park is continuously active: numerous hydrothermal features, including fumaroles, boiling pools, and bubbling mud pots are heated by molten rock from beneath the peak.[46]
Mammoth CaveMammoth Cave National Park 007.jpgKentucky
37°11′N 86°06′W / 37.18°N 86.10°W / 37.18; -86.10 (Mammoth Cave)
July 1, 1941700452830190000000052,830.19 acres (213.8 km2)With 392 miles (631 km) of passageways mapped, Mammoth Cave is by far the world's longest cave system. Subterranean wildlife includes eight bat species, Kentucky cave shrimp, Northern cavefish, and cave salamanders. Above ground, the park provides recreation on the Green River, 70 miles of hiking trails, and plenty of sinkholes and springs.[47]
Mesa VerdeMesa Verde National Park Cliff Palace Right Part 2006 09 12.jpgColorado
37°11′N 108°29′W / 37.18°N 108.49°W / 37.18; -108.49 (Mesa Verde)
June 29, 1906700452121930000000052,121.93 acres (210.9 km2)This area constitutes over 4,000 archaeological sites of the Ancestral Puebloan people, who lived here and elsewhere in the Four Corners region for at least 700 years. Cliff dwellings built in the 12th and 13th centuries include the famous Cliff Palace, which has 150 rooms and 23 kivas, and the Balcony House, with its many passages and tunnels.[48]
Mount RainierMount Rainier from west.jpgWashington
46°51′N 121°45′W / 46.85°N 121.75°W / 46.85; -121.75 (Mount Rainier)
March 2, 18997005235625000000000235,625.00 acres (953.5 km2)Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, is the most prominent peak in the Cascades, and is covered by 26 named glaciers including Carbon Glacier and Emmons Glacier, the largest in the continental United States. The mountain is popular for climbing, and more than half of the park is covered by subalpine and alpine forests. Paradise on the south slope is one of the snowiest places in the world, and the Longmire visitor center is the start of the Wonderland Trail, which encircles the mountain.[49]
North CascadesThornton Lakes 25932.JPGWashington
48°42′N 121°12′W / 48.70°N 121.20°W / 48.70; -121.20 (North Cascades)
October 2, 19687005504780940000000504,780.94 acres (2,042.8 km2)This complex encompasses two units of the National Park itself as well as the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. The highly glaciated mountains are spectacular examples of Cascade geology; popular hiking and climbing areas include Cascade Pass, Mount Shuksan, Mount Triumph, and Eldorado Peak.[50]
OlympicHoh Rain Forest Maples.JPGWashington
47°58′N 123°30′W / 47.97°N 123.50°W / 47.97; -123.50 (Olympic)
June 29, 19387005922650860000000922,650.86 acres (3,733.8 km2)Situated on the Olympic Peninsula, this park straddles a diversity of ecosystems from Pacific shoreline to temperate rainforests to the alpine slopes of Mount Olympus. The glaciated Olympic Mountains overlook the Hoh Rain Forest and Quinault Rain Forest, the wettest area in the continental United States.[51]
Petrified ForestPAINTED DESERT BADLANDS.jpgArizona
35°04′N 109°47′W / 35.07°N 109.78°W / 35.07; -109.78 (Petrified Forest)
December 9, 1962700493532570000000093,532.57 acres (378.5 km2)This portion of the Chinle Formation has a great concentration of 225-million-year-old petrified wood. The surrounding Painted Desert features eroded cliffs of wonderfully red-hued volcanic rock called bentonite. There are also dinosaur fossils and over 350 Native American sites.[52]
36°29′N 121°10′W / 36.48°N 121.16°W / 36.48; -121.16 (Pinnacles)
January 10, 2013700426605730000000026,605.73 acres (107.7 km2)Named for the eroded leftovers of half of an extinct volcano, the park is famous for its massive black and gold monoliths, which are popular with rock climbers, and a hiker's paradise of scenic trails through peaceful wilderness.[53]
RedwoodRedwood National Park, fog in the forest.jpgCalifornia
41°18′N 124°00′W / 41.30°N 124.00°W / 41.30; -124.00 (Redwood)
October 2, 19687005112512050000000112,512.05 acres (455.3 km2)This park and the co-managed state parks protect almost half of all remaining Coastal Redwoods, the tallest trees on Earth. There are three large river systems in this very seismically active area, and the 37 miles (60 km) of protected coastline have tide pools and seastacks. The prairie, estuary, coast, river, and forest ecosystems have varied animal and plant species.[54]
Rocky MountainBierstadt Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, USA.jpgColorado
40°24′N 105°35′W / 40.40°N 105.58°W / 40.40; -105.58 (Rocky Mountain)
January 26, 19157005265828409999999265,828.41 acres (1,075.8 km2)This section of the Rocky Mountains has ecosystems varying in elevation from the over 150 riparian lakes to Montane and subalpine forests to the alpine tundra. Large wildlife including mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, and cougars inhabit these igneous mountains and glacier valleys. The fourteener Longs Peak and Bear Lake are popular destinations.[55]
32°15′N 110°30′W / 32.25°N 110.50°W / 32.25; -110.50 (Saguaro)
October 14, 1994700491439710000000091,439.71 acres (370.0 km2)Split into the separate Rincon Mountain and Tucson Mountain Districts, the dry Sonoran Desert is still home to much life in six biotic communities. Beyond the namesake Giant Saguaro cacti, there are barrel cacti, cholla cacti, and prickly pears, as well as Lesser Long-nosed Bats, Spotted Owls, and javelinas.[56]
SequoiaGiant Forest.jpgCalifornia
36°26′N 118°41′W / 36.43°N 118.68°W / 36.43; -118.68 (Sequoia)
September 25, 18907005404051170000000404,051.17 acres (1,635.1 km2)This park protects the Giant Forest, which has the world's largest tree, General Sherman, as well as four of the next nine. It also has over 240 caves, the tallest mountain in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney, and the granite dome Moro Rock.[57]
ShenandoahDark Hollow Falls Shenandoah NP 2007.jpgVirginia
38°32′N 78°21′W / 38.53°N 78.35°W / 38.53; -78.35 (Shenandoah)
May 22, 19267005199045230000000199,045.23 acres (805.5 km2)Shenandoah's Blue Ridge Mountains are covered by hardwood forests that are home to tens of thousands of animals. The Skyline Drive and Appalachian Trail run the entire length of this narrow park that has more than 500 miles (800 km) of hiking trails along scenic overlooks and waterfalls of the Shenandoah River.[58]
Theodore RooseveltTheodore Roosevelt National Park.jpgNorth Dakota
46°58′N 103°27′W / 46.97°N 103.45°W / 46.97; -103.45 (Theodore Roosevelt)
November 10, 1978700470446890000000070,446.89 acres (285.1 km2)This region that enticed and influenced President Theodore Roosevelt is now a park of three units in the badlands. Besides Roosevelt's historic cabin, there are scenic drives and backcountry hiking opportunities. Wildlife includes American Bison, pronghorns, Bighorn sheep, and wild horses.[59]
Virgin IslandsSt John Trunk Bay 1.jpgUnited States Virgin Islands
18°20′N 64°44′W / 18.33°N 64.73°W / 18.33; -64.73 (Virgin Islands)
August 2, 1956700414688870000000014,688.87 acres (59.4 km2)The island of Saint John has rich human and natural history. There are Taino archaeological sites and ruins of sugar plantations from Columbus's time. Past the pristine beaches are mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reefs and algal plains.[60]
VoyageursVoyageurs National Park.jpgMinnesota
48°30′N 92°53′W / 48.50°N 92.88°W / 48.50; -92.88 (Voyageurs)
January 8, 19717005218200170000000218,200.17 acres (883.0 km2)This park on four main lakes, a site for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, has a history of Ojibwe Native Americans, French fur traders called voyageurs, and a gold rush. Formed by glaciers, this region has tall bluffs, rock gardens, islands and bays, and historic buildings.[61]
Wind CaveWind Cave lower.jpgSouth Dakota
43°34′N 103°29′W / 43.57°N 103.48°W / 43.57; -103.48 (Wind Cave)
January 9, 1903700428295030000000028,295.03 acres (114.5 km2)Wind Cave is distinctive for its calcite fin formations called boxwork and needle-like growths called frostwork. The cave, which was discovered by the sound of wind coming from a hole in the ground, is the world's densest cave system. Above ground is a mixed-grass prairie with animals such as bison, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs,[62] and Ponderosa pine forests home to cougars and elk.
Wrangell –St. EliasMountJarvis.jpgAlaska
61°00′N 142°00′W / 61.00°N 142.00°W / 61.00; -142.00 (Wrangell – St. Elias)
December 2, 198070068323147590000008,323,147.59 acres (33,682.6 km2)This mountainous land has the convergence of the Alaska, Chugach, and Wrangell-Saint Elias Ranges, which have many of the continent's tallest mountains over 16,000 feet (4,900 m), including Mount Saint Elias. More than 25% of this park of volcanic peaks is covered with glaciers, including the tidewater Hubbard Glacier, piedmont Malaspina Glacier, and valley Nabesna Glacier.[63]
YellowstoneGrand Prismatic Spring and Midway Geyser Basin from above.jpgWyoming, Montana, Idaho
44°36′N 110°30′W / 44.60°N 110.50°W / 44.60; -110.50 (Yellowstone)
March 1, 187270062219790710000002,219,790.71 acres (8,983.2 km2)Situated on the Yellowstone Caldera, the first national park in the world has vast geothermal areas such as hot springs and geysers, the best-known being Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring. The yellow-hued Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River has numerous waterfalls, and four mountain ranges run through the park. There are almost 60 mammal species, including the gray wolf, grizzly bear, lynx, bison, and elk.[64]
YosemiteYosemitePark2 amk.jpgCalifornia
37°50′N 119°30′W / 37.83°N 119.50°W / 37.83; -119.50 (Yosemite)
October 1, 18907005761266190000000761,266.19 acres (3,080.7 km2)Yosemite has towering cliffs, waterfalls, and sequoias in a diverse area of geology and hydrology. Half Dome and El Capitan rise from the central glacier-formed Yosemite Valley, as does Yosemite Falls, North America's tallest waterfall. Three Giant Sequoia groves and vast wilderness are home to diverse wildlife.[65]
ZionZion angels landing view.jpgUtah
37°18′N 113°03′W / 37.30°N 113.05°W / 37.30; -113.05 (Zion)
November 19, 19197005146597600000000146,597.60 acres (593.3 km2)This geologically unique area has colorful sandstone canyons, high plateaus, and rock towers. Natural arches and exposed formations of the Colorado Plateau make up a large wilderness of four ecosystems.[66]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The National Park Service Organic Act". National Park Service. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c The National Parks: Index 2005–2007 (PDF). Washington, D.C.: National Park Service. ISBN 978-0-912627-75-5. Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "NPS Reports". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-29.  Note: select "Ranking report" and then 2011. (It is not possible to link directly to the report.)
  4. ^ "World Heritage List". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "National Park System Areas Listed in Chronological Order of Date Authorized under DOI" (PDF). National Park Service. 27 June 2005. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Acadia National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "Acadia National Park Places To Go". National Park Service. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "National Park of American Samoa". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Arches National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Badlands National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Big Bend National Park". National Park Service. December 8, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Biscayne National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  14. ^ "Bryce Canyon National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Canyonlands National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Capitol Reef National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  17. ^ "Carlsbad Caverns National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  18. ^ "Channel Islands National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "Congaree National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "Crater Lake National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  21. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  22. ^ "Cuyahoga Valley National Park Scenic Railroad". National Park Service. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Death Valley National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "Denali National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  25. ^ "Dry Tortugas National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  26. ^ "Everglades National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  27. ^ "Gates of the Arctic National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  28. ^ "Glacier National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  29. ^ "Glacier Bay National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  30. ^ "Grand Canyon National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  31. ^ "Grand Teton National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  32. ^ "Great Basin National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  33. ^ "Great Sand Dunes National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  34. ^ "Great Smoky Mountains National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  35. ^ "Guadalupe Mountains National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  36. ^ "Haleakala National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  37. ^ "Hawaii Volcanoes National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  38. ^ "Hot Springs National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  39. ^ "Isle Royale National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  40. ^ "Joshua Tree National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  41. ^ "Katmai National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  42. ^ "Kenai Fjords National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  43. ^ "Kings Canyon National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  44. ^ "Kobuk Valley National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  45. ^ "Lake Clark National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  46. ^ "Lassen Volcanic National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  47. ^ "Mammoth Cave National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  48. ^ "Mesa Verde National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  49. ^ "Mount Rainier National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  50. ^ "North Cascades National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  51. ^ "Olympic National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  52. ^ "Petrified Forest National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  53. ^ "Pinnacles National Monument". National Park Service. January 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  54. ^ "Redwood National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  55. ^ "Rocky Mountain National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  56. ^ "Saguaro National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  57. ^ "Sequoia National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  58. ^ "Shenandoah National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  59. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  60. ^ "Virgin Islands National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  61. ^ "Voyageurs National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  62. ^ "Wind Cave National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  63. ^ "Wrangell – St. Elias National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  64. ^ "Yellowstone National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  65. ^ "Yosemite National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  66. ^ "Zion National Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 

External links[edit]