With the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, Congress began setting aside land dedicated to preserving and protecting the country’s most stunning natural and cultural lands.
There are now 401 parks, 2,461 national historic landmarks and 49 national heritage areas.
Some of the most visited parks are:
1. Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Think big; towering geysers, wild grizzly bears and spectacular prismatic springs, all nestled between grand mountain ranges and alpine lakes. Yellowstone is a spectacular feat of nature.
2. Acadia National Park – Maine
Previously home to the great Mountain Lion, take a walk in his paws to discover granite peaks, pine forests and the wonderful lakes of Maine’s coastal national park.
3. Yosemite National Park – California
On a scale your camera will struggle to make sense of, this is the home of spectacular glacier-hewn valleys which have proudly been rewarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
4. Mount Rainier National Park – Washington
Dominating the skyline for miles around and positioned as the centre piece of this beautiful alpine woodland park is Mount Rainier. The tallest peak in the Cascade Range, it dwarfs its neighbors with 14 410ft glacier faceted slopes, and slips in and out of view behind the clouds, coaxing intrepid mountain climbers to tackle its difficult accent.
5. Glacier National Park – Montana
Welcome to hikers’ paradise. Over 700 miles of trails lead you out into the wilderness where you find yourself among pristine forests, alpine meadows and spectacular lakes. A wonderful 400m boardwalk allows you to explore deep into ancient hemlock rainforest.
(Image Credit: LA Times)