While there may never be enough time to explore every aspect of them all, there are ways to maximize your time for increased efficiency and relaxation. Pick a general area to concentrate on and go explore. Here are some popular routes to consider when hitting the road.
See some of the most iconic national parks in the American Southwest, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Arches. This route can be done in a loop and is best done over the course of several weeks. Check out the Grand Circle Association
for more detailed itineraries.
Eye on Zion. One of many awe-inspiring national parks in Utah.
This route winds through the stunning national parks of the Pacific Northwest, including Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades. You can also add on stops at Crater Lake and Redwood National Park. Go here
for the "Ultimate Pacific Northwest National Parks Road Trip" itinerary.
Yellowstone to Glacier:
This route takes you through the rugged landscapes of Montana and Wyoming. Start at Yellowstone National Park, then head north to Glacier National Park. Along the way, you can also stop at Grand Teton National Park and other nearby attractions. Go here
for more intel on planning this trip.
This route takes you through the red rock country of southern Utah, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef. You can also add on stops at Arches and Canyonlands. For more information on these and many other national parks in Utah, go here
Awe-inspiring Denali National Park and Preserve. Photo: Encyclopedia Britannica
For a wild and vast national park experience, head to Alaska. Plan to see the country's tallest peak in Denali National Park, and check out the glaciers and impressive wildlife at Kenai Fjords National Park and Glacier Bay National Park. For a full list of national parks and monuments, as well as recommendations on how to get to these remote, wild areas, visit the Alaska U.S. National Park Service site, found here
If you're traveling to California, consider this route which takes you through some of the most scenic parks in the state. Start at Yosemite National Park, then head south to Sequoia and Kings Canyon, before finishing up in Joshua Tree. (If you have a little extra time, consider making the drive through the always-eerie Death Valley
as well.) For more information on all nine of California's national parks, check out Visit California
Beautiful Yosemite. Just 45 minutes from Ridge Merino in Mammoth Lakes, CA.
No matter which route you choose, be sure to plan ahead and make reservations at campsites or lodges in advance, especially during peak season. Go here
to check availability. Also, keep your eye on the weather. This year’s extreme winter conditions may have a lasting effects such as road closures and flooding in some parks.