National parks. We talk about them and see them on social media often, but when was the last time you actually visited one? This year, the National Park Service turns 100! From the Washington Memorial to Aztec Ruins National Monument to Yellowstone National Park, there are more than 400 sites to see and experience. In celebration of the NPS turning 100 and to show our #ParkPride, here’s a peek at some national parks awaiting your visit.
11. Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado – The least-visited park in Colorado, it has canyon walls that rise 2,700+ feet above the Gunnison River.
10. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee – The most-visited national park. Those of you out east have probably been here. For those out west, it’s time for a road trip.
9. Joshua Tree, California – Much more than the actual Joshua Tree, you’ll find a variety of plants and animals among the desert backdrop. Camp out on a clear night for a view of the stars that is second to none. (For an old Cotopaxi Joshua Tree moment, check out this photo of our Creative Director in Dec. of 2014.)
8. Lake Clark, Alaska – With less than 18,000 visitors in 2015, Lake Clark is one of many hidden gems. But, just because it has a lack of visitors, in comparison to some parks, doesn’t mean it falls short of any beauty and wildlife.
7. Dry Tortugas, Florida – This park is mostly made up of water, about 99% of it to be specific. You’ll find plenty of marine life, a 19th century military fortress on one of the seven islands, remote camping, snorkeling, and more.
5. Haleakalā, Hawaii – Haleakalā is full of volcanic hikes, ocean vistas, endangered species, rain forest waterfalls, and more.
4. Olympic, Washington – With almost one million acres, Olympic National Park spans between glacial mountains to 70 miles of coast. You can kayak, camp, climb, or ski depending on when and what part of the park you visit.
3. Grand Teton, Wyoming – These mountains on your screen just don’t do justice. There’s so much to do in and around the Tetons, whether you have an afternoon for a hike around Jenny Lake or one week to head into the backcountry. Plus, you’re only a short drive from Yellowstone National Park.
2. Crater Lake, Oregon – Formed 7,700 years ago, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. Not to mention, it’s in a sleeping volcano!
1. Glacier, Montana – A paradise for anyone who loves the wilderness and a good backcountry camping trip.
Bonus: If this video from Ambassador Greg Balkin doesn’t make you want to experience a park like Glacier National Park, we don’t know what will. Enjoy!