America’s crown jewels: famous national parks
America celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. Famously called “America’s best idea” by the novelist and historian Wallace Stegner, the national park system offers a wonderfully affordable way to visit America’s most cherished and beautiful landscapes, view wildlife in their natural habitat, learn about geological and cultural history, and appreciate the great outdoors.
Visitors flock to national parks in huge numbers, with the total number of visitors topping 330 million in 2017.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The most-visited of all American national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the boundaries of North Carolina and Tennessee and offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing as well as remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles include spectacular mountain environments in Colorado. Trail Ridge Road crests at more than 12,000 feet, with many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds, along with more than 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, and wildlife. Ranger-led programs include astronomy outings, wildlife viewing, and hikes.