Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
nimo956
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:07 pm

Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by nimo956 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:21 am

I live in the Northeast and have only ever been to Acadia National Park in Maine. I'm looking to start a tradition of visiting some of the beautiful national parks in the US/Canada out west. What would be the top 5 places to start? I'm looking for beautiful, lush scenery for photography coupled with day hiking. I'm not really into rock climbing or camping in a tent for days on end at this stage.
50% VTI / 50% VXUS

Da5id
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Da5id » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:27 am

Nicest I've been to are:

Volcano's National Park (Hawaii)
Katmai National Park (Alaska, more for wildlife, go during salmon run for grizzly bear viewing)
Denali National Park (Alaska)
Yellowstone+Grand Tetons (might as well do both at once)
Yosemite

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18183
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:29 am

This summer, I will be traveling around the Western U.S. with some friends from Europe. They have created an optimal program to see as much as possible in two weeks. Among National Parks (NP) we will be visiting:
- NP Joshua Tree
- NP Death Valley - Badwater
- Grand Canyon - South Rim
- Monument Valley
- Antelope Canyon
- Grand Canyon - North Rim
- NP Zion
- NP Bryce Canyon
- NP Arches
- NP Canyonlands
- NP Grand Teton
- NP Yellow Stone
- NP Yosemite
- NP Sequoia

Knowing my friends, I have confidence that they have picked up (some of) the best parks to visit.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

User avatar
alpenglow
Posts: 609
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 12:02 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by alpenglow » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:30 am

It's really tough to choose, but here are my top 5 (excluding Acadia).

* Yosemite (#1 favorite)
* Yellowstone
* Glacier
* Arches
* Bryce

I also really enjoyed Zion, Tetons, Death Valley, and Mount Rainier. Again - tough to chose. Visit as many as you can!!

User avatar
Raybo
Posts: 1607
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:02 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Raybo » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:34 am

Since you mentioned Canada, I'd suggest the Icefield Parkway and Kootenay NP in Canada.

Also, Glacier National Park, before all the glaciers melt.

Hiking among the giant Redwoods in Jedediah Smith State Park in Northern California.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

psystal
Posts: 332
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by psystal » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:38 am

You can't go wrong with the usual suspects: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, Sequoia/Redwoods, Bryce. You could spend weeks in those parks.

However, I'd add two (slightly) less frequented parks: Crater Lake and Isle Royale. Crater Lake remains perhaps the single most beautiful place I've ever been, and there's nothing quite like jumping in those waters. Isle Royale is as isolated as it gets, and the stars are incredible. I've never felt so absolutely free as I did on that island. It's best to hike deeper in and tent camp, but you can also stay in a lodge or use a yurt at one of the larger base camps. Renting a kayak for the trip will allow you to get around the island faster and transport a bit more food.

User avatar
Youngblood
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:18 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Youngblood » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:39 am

VictoriaF wrote:This summer, I will be traveling around the Western U.S. with some friends from Europe. They have created an optimal program to see as much as possible in two weeks. Among National Parks (NP) we will be visiting:
- NP Joshua Tree
- NP Death Valley - Badwater
- Grand Canyon - South Rim
- Monument Valley
- Antelope Canyon
- Grand Canyon - North Rim
- NP Zion
- NP Bryce Canyon
- NP Arches
- NP Canyonlands
- NP Grand Teton
- NP Yellow Stone
- NP Yosemite
- NP Sequoia

Knowing my friends, I have confidence that they have picked up (some of) the best parks to visit.

Victoria
Wow, great selection! I've enjoyed them all except for Antelope Canyon (never heard of it).
Amazing whirlwind tour but, I hope you plan on going back to spend more time in every one.

YB
"I made my money by selling too soon." | Bernard M. Baruch

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18183
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:43 am

Youngblood wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:This summer, I will be traveling around the Western U.S. with some friends from Europe. They have created an optimal program to see as much as possible in two weeks. Among National Parks (NP) we will be visiting:
- NP Joshua Tree
- NP Death Valley - Badwater
- Grand Canyon - South Rim
- Monument Valley
- Antelope Canyon
- Grand Canyon - North Rim
- NP Zion
- NP Bryce Canyon
- NP Arches
- NP Canyonlands
- NP Grand Teton
- NP Yellow Stone
- NP Yosemite
- NP Sequoia

Knowing my friends, I have confidence that they have picked up (some of) the best parks to visit.

Victoria
Wow, great selection! I've enjoyed them all except for Antelope Canyon (never heard of it).
Amazing whirlwind tour but, I hope you plan on going back to spend more time in every one.

YB
Thank you for good wishes! When I travel on my own, I spend a lot of time in each spot, but this time, I'll be doing something different. And as you suggest, it's likely that I'll want to come back and do it again.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

quantAndHold
Posts: 1701
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:43 am

alpenglow wrote:It's really tough to choose, but here are my top 5 (excluding Acadia).

* Yosemite (#1 favorite)
* Yellowstone
* Glacier
* Arches
* Bryce

I also really enjoyed Zion, Tetons, Death Valley, and Mount Rainier. Again - tough to chose. Visit as many as you can!!
This, although I'd slip the Grand Canyon in after Glacier and before Arches.

necrotic
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:32 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by necrotic » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:46 am

Zion
Yellowstone
Crater Lake
Great Smoky Mountains
Arches

User avatar
zzcooper123
Posts: 525
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:55 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by zzcooper123 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:58 am

Make sure you read: "Conserving America's National Parks"
by Scott Abella before you go. Will make your visit much more interesting.

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3064
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:00 am

The list provides many of the best.

I found Yosemite and nearby Sequoia to be among the most diverse and my favorite.

Utah - Zion and Bryce; Arches, Moab, Canyonland
Cal -- Redwood National Park, Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon,
Wash - Mt. Rainer and Olympus
Alberta, Canada: Jasper and especially Banff NP along with Lake Louise and the Icefields are all with a few hours of each other

gkaplan
Posts: 7034
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by gkaplan » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:00 am

psystal wrote:You can't go wrong with the usual suspects: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, Sequoia/Redwoods, Bryce. You could spend weeks in those parks.

However, I'd add two (slightly) less frequented parks: Crater Lake and Isle Royale. Crater Lake remains perhaps the single most beautiful place I've ever been, and there's nothing quite like jumping in those waters. Isle Royale is as isolated as it gets, and the stars are incredible. I've never felt so absolutely free as I did on that island. It's best to hike deeper in and tent camp, but you can also stay in a lodge or use a yurt at one of the larger base camps. Renting a kayak for the trip will allow you to get around the island faster and transport a bit more food.

Be aware that you need to book Crater Lake far in advance. My brother, his wife, her sister, and I are driving down in July to Ashland, Oregon, for the Shakespeare Festival, and we thought we would take in Crater Lake after the two days in Ashland, but it was too late to book. This was several weeks ago.
Gordon

chisey
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:47 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by chisey » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:02 am

necrotic wrote: Great Smoky Mountains
Most visited national park in the country. Beautiful and underrated. And I'm not just saying that because visitors' dollars help my local economy.

8-)

fishmonger
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by fishmonger » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:05 am

I haven't been to many of the western parks, but for its sheer singularity, I would do the Grand Canyon.

Acadia is one of our favorite places in the world. Heading there in July for the 4th time!

thomasbayarea
Posts: 358
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by thomasbayarea » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:06 am

Yosemite - The problem with such a beautiful park is that it takes multiple visits to truly appreciate it. I have been to Yosemite over a dozen times now (I live close) and every time I discover something new. That park is truly special in my book - none others have come close - but it look several tries before I "got it". For the most part in Yosemite, tourists ride shuttle buses from point to point, buy their souvenirs, take their selfies and leave. I strongly suggest venturing out some more :sharebeer

User avatar
midareff
Posts: 5563
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by midareff » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:09 am

Grand Canyon
Yosemite
Brice
Zion
Arches

In the Brice - Zion area I would also take a half day boat ride on Lake Powell.

User avatar
mhc
Posts: 3671
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: NoCo

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by mhc » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:29 am

Yellowstone/Tetons
Arches/Canyonland
Glacier
Mesa Verde
Mount Rushmore/Badlands

I grouped together NP's that were close to each other. If you see one of them, you might as well see the other.

I chose these because they each have something unique that is hard to see else where. All the NP's are amazing.

I hope to see Dry Tortugas this summer.

User avatar
whaleknives
Posts: 1210
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:19 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by whaleknives » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:31 am

They're all wonderful, but it's best if you can avoid the busy times and seasons. Can you imagine how annoying this would be:

Image
"Many hikers can reach the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park each year by following an 8.5 mile trail from the valley floor, climbing several hundred feet of granite stairs, and ascending the steep peak with the aid of post-mounted braided steel cables. (Wikimedia/Bonzo McGrue) "
https://weather.com/travel/news/scaries ... s-20141002
"I'm an indexer. I own the market. And I'm happy." (John Bogle, "BusinessWeek", 8/17/07) ☕ Maritime signal flag W - Whiskey: "I require medical assistance."

PoppyA
Posts: 393
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:24 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by PoppyA » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:49 am

Isle Royal - oh yes, the stars!
Death Valley - extreme
Mesa Verde - my personal favorite - ancient cliff dwellers
Andersonville POW camp - historical and unexpected
Crater Lake - striking to the imagination
"La Bella Luna"

Hikes_With_Dogs
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:53 am

Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of them. They are all so different and unique in their own way.

Adding to the list I haven't seen yet: Big Bend in Texas.

Yoho/Banff/Jasper in Canada.

One of my goals in life is to go to ALL of them. :)

blmarsha123
Posts: 136
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:23 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by blmarsha123 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:18 am

nimo956 wrote:I live in the Northeast and have only ever been to Acadia National Park in Maine. I'm looking to start a tradition of visiting some of the beautiful national parks in the US/Canada out west. What would be the top 5 places to start? I'm looking for beautiful, lush scenery for photography coupled with day hiking. I'm not really into rock climbing or camping in a tent for days on end at this stage.
All of the parks mentioned heretofore are beautiful (Yellowstone and Grand Teton are two of my favorites). As for lush scenery, I would recommend Muir Woods (if in the Yosemite, central CA area) and Glacier.

User avatar
TxAg
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by TxAg » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:21 am

Zion and Glacier are my favorites. Big Bend is special, too.

thomasbayarea
Posts: 358
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:40 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by thomasbayarea » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:34 am

whaleknives wrote:Image
I have climbed the cables of half dome several years now. After they setup the daily permit limit, it is not crowded at all.

User avatar
William4u
Posts: 1293
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by William4u » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:44 am

PoppyA wrote:Isle Royal - oh yes, the stars!
Death Valley - extreme
Mesa Verde - my personal favorite - ancient cliff dwellers
Andersonville POW camp - historical and unexpected
Crater Lake - striking to the imagination
Everyone who has been to Isle Royal says that it surprised them in how amazing it was. I need to get up there!

psystal
Posts: 332
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by psystal » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:32 pm

gkaplan wrote:
psystal wrote:You can't go wrong with the usual suspects: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, Sequoia/Redwoods, Bryce. You could spend weeks in those parks.

However, I'd add two (slightly) less frequented parks: Crater Lake and Isle Royale. Crater Lake remains perhaps the single most beautiful place I've ever been, and there's nothing quite like jumping in those waters. Isle Royale is as isolated as it gets, and the stars are incredible. I've never felt so absolutely free as I did on that island. It's best to hike deeper in and tent camp, but you can also stay in a lodge or use a yurt at one of the larger base camps. Renting a kayak for the trip will allow you to get around the island faster and transport a bit more food.

Be aware that you need to book Crater Lake far in advance. My brother, his wife, her sister, and I are driving down in July to Ashland, Oregon, for the Shakespeare Festival, and we thought we would take in Crater Lake after the two days in Ashland, but it was too late to book. This was several weeks ago.
This is true. You could try Jo's Motel, which is about 20 minutes outside of the park. It's far less glamorous, but also more affordable.

psystal
Posts: 332
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by psystal » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:40 pm

William4u wrote:
PoppyA wrote:Isle Royal - oh yes, the stars!
Death Valley - extreme
Mesa Verde - my personal favorite - ancient cliff dwellers
Andersonville POW camp - historical and unexpected
Crater Lake - striking to the imagination
Everyone who has been to Isle Royal says that it surprised them in how amazing it was. I need to get up there!
Make sure you take a week, and that you're well prepared. Seriously. My first trip was organized by a friend who failed to check the fire hazard status before we left, and upon arriving at the island we realized we couldn't start a fire all weekend. He also failed to pack a camp stove. A ranger took pity on us when he saw we were eating cold hot dogs, and let me use his cabin's stove to boil a gallon of water for Ramen, but I had to carry the (hot) pot half a mile back to our camp.

Still an amazing trip, though.

LetItRide
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:36 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by LetItRide » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:42 pm

whaleknives wrote:They're all wonderful, but it's best if you can avoid the busy times and seasons. Can you imagine how annoying this would be:

Image
"Many hikers can reach the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park each year by following an 8.5 mile trail from the valley floor, climbing several hundred feet of granite stairs, and ascending the steep peak with the aid of post-mounted braided steel cables. (Wikimedia/Bonzo McGrue) "
https://weather.com/travel/news/scaries ... s-20141002
That is a great picture (and reference). I was one of the many that were caught in this traffic jam. Definitely, try to avoid the busy times!

jane1
Posts: 734
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:00 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by jane1 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:45 pm

Yellowstone
Grand Canyon
Glacier
Banff (Canada)
Arches/Canyonlands
Bryce, Zion

AnilG
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:41 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by AnilG » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:58 pm

Every year during summer, we go on a road trip for 4-6 weeks camping at national parks and other nature attractions. Last Year, we visited Glacier, Waterton, Banff, and Jasper. The year before we visited Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Grand Teton and Yellowstone. This summer, we were initially thinking of Grand Canyon and Death Valley. Now having second thought as these places might be too hot during summer. We might go back to Grand Teton and Yellowstone to cover areas we missed last time.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 16335
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by dm200 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:16 pm

alpenglow wrote:It's really tough to choose, but here are my top 5 (excluding Acadia).

* Yosemite (#1 favorite)
* Yellowstone
* Glacier
* Arches
* Bryce

I also really enjoyed Zion, Tetons, Death Valley, and Mount Rainier. Again - tough to chose. Visit as many as you can!!
Of the ones you list, Yosemite is the only one I have visited, BUT (even though we live on the East Coast), we (in one case by myself on a business trip to Northern CA) have been there 3 or 4 times. Wonderful!!!

User avatar
Christine_NM
Posts: 2627
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:13 am
Location: New Mexico

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Christine_NM » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:17 pm

All of the above, plus Rocky Mountain National Park near Denver for scenery and day hiking and Mesa Verde NP in CO for something you won't see anywhere else. If you get tired of lush scenery (and forest fire warnings), there is also Carlsbad Caverns NP in NM and Big Bend in TX.

It is very hard to pick the 5 best of the West. A lot depends on how crowded a park is when you are there or if some areas of the park have been closed off.
Last edited by Christine_NM on Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
17% cash 47% stock 36% bond. Retired, w/d rate 2.85%

bap
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:24 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by bap » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:18 pm

So hard to narrow it down. Here are a few of my faves so far:

Kenai Fjords
Yellowstone/Teton
Glacier
Denali
Monument Valley
Grand Canyon
Arches
Petrified Forest/Painted Desert - sadly, has gone downhill lately. get there before it is gone.
Four Corners Monument - not spectacularly beautiful, but a cool thing to do

Enjoy your trip.

halfnine
Posts: 856
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by halfnine » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:31 pm

In addition to which I would definitely consider when as well. For instance, I would consider Yosemite at its best after a good winter of snow and sometime around the end of May when the water flow is at is fullest. I've also quite enjoyed Yellowstone during the winter when one can snowmobile in.

letsgobobby
Posts: 11272
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by letsgobobby » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:47 pm

America only... and it's very hard to choose just 5. It also depends on what you enjoy doing. North Cascades, for instance, is only accessible by boat or foot. So if you like hiking, it's a glorious place. Mt. Rainier is easier if you want to stay in a car.

I'm going to pick 5 based on broadest appeal, iconic stature, and uniqueness even within our glorious NPS. In no particular order:

Yosemite - spectacular glacial valley, soaring mountains, waterfalls, high sierra camps (you must do these), Tuolumne meadows
Yellowstone - wildlife, geothermal activity, the first national park, sheer variety of terrain
Grand Canyon - I've been a dozen times and never tire of the views, the hikes into the ditch, the great view at dinner from the restaurants, Havasu falls and stays at the Havasupai reservation.
Death Valley - otherworldly, so big, makes you feel very small - deafening quiet at the Racetrack, offroading in Titus Canyon, scrambling dry washes and slot canyons - a blast
Olympic - temperate rainforests, beautiful mountains, untouched wild seashore, tidepooling,

I have excluded Alaska because I have never been outside of the cruise stops, I'm sure there are some beautiful spots there.

Hard to not include places like Glacier (which is a hiker's paradise, just mind the bears), Zion, overlooked King's Canyon and Sequoia, Mt. Rainier (practically my backyard), and my personal favorite North Cascades just because of the incredible hiking and lack of people (only 20,000 visitors last year) in the backcountry.

Hawaii is very unique but the parks are not all that big, you can hike into Haleakala and stay in cabins in the crater which - if you can get reservations - would make it #6 on my top 5 list. But if all you do is drive to the top and drive back down, it's not that special. Hiking in with the nenes and silver sword makes it a bucket list trip.

User avatar
Fletch
Posts: 652
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:25 pm
Location: USA

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Fletch » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:18 pm

My top tier favorites:
Yellowstone-Teton (best visit was just before the park closes for the winter, minimal traffic and people)
Yosemite
Glacier
Banff to Jasper (Canadian Rockies)
Mesa Verde

Second tier favorites:
Grand Canyon (south rim)
Bryce
Bandolier National Monument
Crater Lake
Olympic
Big Bend
Rocky Mountain
Arches
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Acoma Pueblo (not a NP or NM)

Sorry, hard to choose. They are all so different and it depends on the time of year you visit.

... Fletch
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

radiowave
Posts: 1683
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by radiowave » Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:01 pm

We did a 2.5 week trip a few years ago:

Albuquerque -> Canyon de Chelle (sp) Monument Valley, Grand Canyon north rim, Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Arches then back to NM via Santa Fe. A bit of a drive but one of the very best in the US. Note the drive up UT Route 12 from Bryce to Capital Reef is one of the most spectacular I've driven. And there is an excellent restaurant in Torry UT (El Diablo).
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 1947
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:38 pm

mhc wrote:Yellowstone/Tetons
Arches/Canyonland
Glacier
Mesa Verde
Mount Rushmore/Badlands

I grouped together NP's that were close to each other. If you see one of them, you might as well see the other.

I chose these because they each have something unique that is hard to see else where. All the NP's are amazing.

I hope to see Dry Tortugas this summer.
The Dry Tortugas is one of my top five. It lacks much of the grandiosity and scenery of the other National Parks, but it is unique and awesome IMO. I hope you get to make the trip.

Mt Rushmore was one of the biggest disappointments to me--maybe the only one. It has been so exposed in movies and other media that not much was left to the visit itself. I'm sure most other people do not feel the same way.

User avatar
mbk734
Posts: 460
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:14 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by mbk734 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:44 pm

The parks are clustered together on the west side of the country. Utah Parks are close together and beautiful. Yellowstone and Grand Canyon are iconic. The Alaska parks are huge but remote and somewhat difficult to get to. Yosemite and Redwood in California are nice too.
You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf

enebyberg
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by enebyberg » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:06 pm

Yellowstone + Teton
Yosemite
Glacier
Zion
Arches

Bonus - Mesa Verde

traveltoomuch
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:48 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by traveltoomuch » Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:45 pm

thomasbayarea wrote:Yosemite -.... I strongly suggest venturing out some more :sharebeer
+1. Off-season is a great time to be in Yosemite valley. In the summer, head for the high country - you'll see a tenth of the crowds. Stay in the Tuolumne Meadows "lodge" or White Wolf. If you're up for some long day hikes, hit some of the High Sierra Camps.

Sequoia/King's Canyon should be seen.

I just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon (south rim), Wupatki National Monument, and Monument/Mystery Valley (Navajo tribal park). Canyon de Chelly and Antelope Canyon are on my list following that trip.

User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 2925
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:34 pm

Since I live within a half hour's drive, I have to chime in and put in a vote for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 16335
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by dm200 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:09 pm

traveltoomuch wrote:
thomasbayarea wrote:Yosemite -.... I strongly suggest venturing out some more :sharebeer
+1. Off-season is a great time to be in Yosemite valley. In the summer, head for the high country - you'll see a tenth of the crowds. Stay in the Tuolumne Meadows "lodge" or White Wolf. If you're up for some long day hikes, hit some of the High Sierra Camps.
Sequoia/King's Canyon should be seen.
I just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon (south rim), Wupatki National Monument, and Monument/Mystery Valley (Navajo tribal park). Canyon de Chelly and Antelope Canyon are on my list following that trip.
The "Big Trees" (Sequoias) in California are really worth "experiencing". There are some in Yosemite - so try to see the big trees if you do go to Yosemite.

The trees in Kings Canyon/Sequoia are even better - so, if you can do so, I would try to swing through those parks and see these magnificent trees.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13439
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Watty » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:20 pm

radiowave wrote:We did a 2.5 week trip a few years ago:

Albuquerque -> Canyon de Chelle (sp) Monument Valley, Grand Canyon north rim, Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Arches then back to NM via Santa Fe. A bit of a drive but one of the very best in the US. Note the drive up UT Route 12 from Bryce to Capital Reef is one of the most spectacular I've driven. And there is an excellent restaurant in Torry UT (El Diablo).
+1 on Canyon De Chelly

https://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm

I was looking to see if someone had mentioned that. It has been a long time since I was there but you may need to reserve tours ahead of time so check on that. Be sure you know which time zone any tours are in. It gets real confusing with daylight savings time since Arizona, the federal park, and the Navajo Nation may or may not follow daylight savings time. I missed a tour because of confusion about that.

It is best not to speed on the Navajo reservation.

Random Poster
Posts: 1623
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by Random Poster » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:24 pm

I'm surprised by how much press Glacier is getting in this thread.

It is a decent park, but I don't think that it is anything overwhelmingly special. The mountains, hikes, and glaciers are better in Banff, Yoho, and Jasper just a few hours north.

User avatar
William4u
Posts: 1293
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by William4u » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:35 pm

Fletch wrote:Second tier favorites:
Grand Canyon (south rim)
Bryce
Bandolier National Monument
Crater Lake
Olympic
Big Bend
Rocky Mountain
Arches
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Acoma Pueblo (not a NP or NM)

Sorry, hard to choose. They are all so different and it depends on the time of year you visit.
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a little gem. It is between Yellowstone and Sun Valley, and is worth stopping by.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Craters ... l+Monument

jalbert
Posts: 3065
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:29 am

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by jalbert » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:53 pm

In the lower 48:

King's Canyon/Sequoia
North Cascades
Olympic
Grand Canyon
Zion
Grand Teton/Yellowstone
Glacier
Bryce
Rocky Mountain
Yosemite

would be my top 10.

radiowave
Posts: 1683
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by radiowave » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:14 pm

I'm surprised no one has nominated Cape Hatteras National Sea Shore in North Carolina outer banks (well ok it's not officially a national park), but some of the best beach anywhere.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 16335
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by dm200 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:12 pm

In Northern California - and up the Pacific Coast further north, I recommend visiting areas of the Pacific Redwoords.

nimo956
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:07 pm

Re: Five Best National Parks to Visit?

Post by nimo956 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:58 pm

Thanks for all the recommendations! I want to see everything eventually, but am leaning towards Yosemite for my first trip. That seems like it'd be the easiest to get to, since I can fly direct to San Francisco and just drive from there.
50% VTI / 50% VXUS

Post Reply