From quintessential mountain peaks to hidden historical gems, Topdeck have rounded up the Top 10 Must Visit National Parks of USA and Canada. Offering a lifetime of Insta-worthy moments, the list will take you through the valleys, peaks and slopes, all offered in a Topdeck trip to the National Parks of the U.S.A and Canada.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK USA
World famous for its huge cascading waterfalls and rocky cliffs, Yosemite National Park borders on both California and Nevada. Situated about a 3 hour drive from San Francisco and a 6 hour drive from Nevada, Yosemite National Park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, making it a picturesque natural wonder. The park spans over 3000 square kilometres and is home to an array of wildlife including black bears, sheep, foxes and mountain lions. Travellers flock here all year round, for cross country skiing and rock climbing in winter, or rafting and hiking when the temperature starts to rise.
*Yosemite National Park images via Lonely Planet, Travel Digg and Rare Delights.
ZION NATIONAL PARK USA
Often described as incomparable, Zion National Park is full of fresh air and fresh-water falls. Located in southwest Utah, it’s easily distinguishable by its steep red cliffs and forest trails. About a 3 hour drive from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, the park is packed with huge canyons, tumbling waterfalls and crystal clear waters. Travellers usually spend their time hiking one of the hundreds of trails or testing out the Zion Ponderosa’s climbing wall.
*Zion National Park images via Flickr, AARP Travel and National Geographic.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK CANADA
Glacier National Park is considered the gateway to the Canadian Rockies, filled with alpine scenery, active glaciers and one of Canada’s largest cave systems. The towering cedars make up the dense forest, home to an array of wildlife including bears, beavers, sheep and elk. Follow the trails to explore the moss-covered meadows, relax in the hot springs dotted through the area or even experience the white-water rapids in.
*Glacier National Park images via Travel Digg, Topdeck and Only in Your State.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK USA
Situated in eastern Utah, Arches National Park is considered a red rock wonderland, containing the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Famous for its vast landscape of over 2000 natural stone arches, this wonderland offers views that are utterly breathtaking. The park consists of 76,679 acres of high desert, with Its highest elevation sitting at 1,723 metres. Natural stone formations are home to local wildlife such as kangaroo rats, mule deer and mountain lions.
*Arches National Park images via National Parks Foundation, Topdeck and Huffington Post.
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK USA
If ever you find yourself in Arizona in the U.S.A, put the Grand Canyon on your list. Or better yet, make it the sole purpose of your visit. With 4926 square kilometres of layered red rock, the Grand Canyon is arguably one of the most famous national parks in the world. Home to rabbits, coyotes and mountain lions, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a giant hole in the ground. If you’re feeling courageous, consider a helicopter ride above it or let your Topdeck Trip Leader blindfold you and walk you out to the breath-taking lookout, ready to unveil your mask and let you see the jaw-dropping scene below.
*The Grand Canyon National Park images via The Odyssey Online, Finger Wind, Samy Road.
WRANGELL-ST ELIAS NATIONAL PARK USA
At 13 million acres, Wrangell-St Elias National Park is the largest national park and preserve in the United States. Located in the largest state of the U.S.A, Alaska, Wrangell-St Elias National Park is known for its high peaks and massive glaciers. The Park stretches from one of the tallest peaks in North America, Mount St. Elias all the way down to the ocean. Home to an array of natural wildlife such as moose, mountain goats and black and brown bears, the park is also inhabited by sea lions, otters and even whales. Whilst you’re there, consider participating in one of Topdeck’s incredible optional experiences, like glacier trekking or climbing.
*Wrangell-St Elias National Park images via Topdeck, and McCarthy-Kennecott Visitor Information Site and Fairbanks Journal.
BANFF NATIONAL PARK CANADA
Nestled into the Canadian Rockies, Banff is Canada’s oldest national park, consisting of 6641 square kilometres of incomparable mountain scenery. Picturesque doesn’t even begin to describe this magnificent park, located around 180 kilometres west of Calgary in the province of Alberta. Home to moose, elk and sheep, Banff National Park is known for its mountainous terrain, dense forest, glaciers and ice fields. During summer, travellers experience white-water rafting or when the temperature drops, ice skating on Lake Louise, horse drawn sleigh rides and snowmobiling are all popular activities.
*Banff National Park images via Topdeck, Kevin and Amanda, World Atlas.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK CANADA
Another gem located in Alberta, Jasper National Park is known for its mountain ranges, pristine reflective waters and towering trees. It’s the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 square kilometres. Together with the other national parks that form the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Some of the park’s attractions include the glacial waters of Maligne Lake and Spirit Island which are only accessible by boat. As for wildlife, you can expect to encounter foxes, mountain goats, sheep and deer, but if you’re very lucky you might catch a glimpse of a bear hunting for salmon.
*Jasper National Park images via Travel Digg, Aarp Travel and Miri Adna.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK USA
Considered to be the World’s first national park, Yellowstone is located in the U.S states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Spanning an area of 8,983 square kilometres, the park is comprised of huge canyons, alpine rivers, and mountain ranges. Made famous by its awe-inspiring geyser (a hot spring where its water intermittently boils shooting 32,000 litres of boiling water 44 metres into the sky), the park is nothing short of fascinating. Boasting hundreds of animal species including wolves, elk and antelope, Yellowstone National Park has to be seen to be believed.
*Yellowstone National Park images via Topdeck, Earth Porn and World for Travel.
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK USA
Situated in northwestern Wyoming in the U.S.A, Grand Teton National Park is famous for its ethereal mountain landscape, remarkable wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain. With an almost untouched ecosystem, Grand Teton National Park still houses the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times. With peaks rising as much as 2000 metres off the valley floor and with hundreds of miles of hiking trails, the views are nothing short of spectacular. Centred around The Snake River which funnels through the middle of the park, travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to activities, with world-class fishing, rapid rafting, stand-up paddle boarding and windsurfing all on the list of things to do.
*Grand Teton National Park images via Alpine House Lodge and Cottages, Must See Places and Wallpaper.