Must-see, mind-blowing national parks in the US and Canada
Imagine scenery so majestic it takes your breath away, abundant wildlife like elk and bison roaming free through vibrant meadows, and incomparable photo opportunities across deep valleys and glorious waterfalls.
The many and varied national parks of North America boast some of the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in the world – and they’re a must-see for any traveller heading to these destinations. With 61 national parks in the US and 48 in Canada, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Here are the national parks that should be at the top of your must-see list.
Top parks in America
Very few words and photos can adequately capture the magnificence of US national parks. With unique natural attractions and diverse geography, you’ll get lost in the splendour of millions of acres of sacred and protected land. If you’re an animal-lover, be sure to visit in summer when the wildlife is most abundant.
Witness with your own eyes the magnitude of Grand Canyon National Park – and its unique combination of geologic colour and erosional forms. This 446km long, 29km wide, and 1.6km deep canyon will overwhelm your senses with its size and landscape.
In Yellowstone National Park, stand in awe as you hear the roar of the water and view the glorious falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Witness Old Faithful as it erupts, and admire the herds of bison, elk, and other wildlife as you explore the park.
Yosemite National Park features towering waterfalls, millennia-old Sequoia trees, striking cliff faces and unique rock formations. Here you’ll find the park’s most famous landmarks – Half Dome and El Capitan – as well as excellent hiking trails through the natural monuments.
Have your camera ready for the bright red, yellow, and pink pillars called “hoodoos” in Bryce Canyon National Park, and marvel at the sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs in Zion National Park.
Enjoy beautiful glacier-fed Jenny Lake and the rugged mountains in Grand Teton National Park. Get back to nature and allow a sense of peace to envelope you as you take in the scenery.
In Alaska, seek out grizzly bear, caribou, moose, and more on a wilderness expedition in Denali National Park. Take a cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park to see glaciers calving into the sea and hear the thunderous roar.
At the heart of the Canadian Rockies
For chillingly pristine wilderness, mirror-like lakes and thrilling outdoor recreational opportunities, you can’t go past the staggeringly beautiful Canadian Rockies.
The prairies of Alberta meet the Rockies in Waterton Lakes National Park, with its rugged mountains, rainbow-coloured streams, and blooms of wildflowers. It’s a relatively small park that packs a big natural punch.
Visit the historic mining town of Fort Steele in Kootenay National Park, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, that preserves and interprets over 6000 years of Blackfoot culture.
Wander through Canada’s oldest national park, Banff, with its turquoise glacial lakes, alpine meadows and picture-perfect mountain village. If hiking’s not your pace, try biking or skiing.
En route to gorgeous, glass-like Lake Louise, stop to see crown jewel Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, where ten mountains surrounding the lake soar 10,000 feet. Stay at world-famous Fairmont Chateau, well-known for its old-world charm. Be sure to stop for a memorable ride aboard an Ice Explorer at the 750-foot-thick Columbia Icefield.
In Jasper National Park, journey to Maligne Lake and take a cruise to Spirit Island. In Montana, visit stunning Glacier National Park, and enjoy a thrilling drive on the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Road aboard a famous, vintage-red “Jammer” bus. Make sure you enjoy a made-from-scratch piece of huckleberry pie or ice cream.
Drink in the scenery as you pass Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak, on your way to Sun Peaks and the mountain resort of Whistler. Ferry across to Victoria, where you’ll visit Butchart Gardens, with its 55 acres of remarkable floral displays.
GoParks! Tours a cut above the rest
For the outdoor adventure of a lifetime, exploring the treasures and secrets of America’s national parks, consider a Globus or Cosmos GoParks! Tour. Globus and Cosmos have been taking travellers to America’s national parks for three decades – and can help you experience the beauty of them as a traveller rather than a tourist.
Globus and Cosmos’ GoParks! collection of tours not only extensively covers North America with overnight stays or visits to national parks, Globus and Cosmos also contribute to the Wildland Firefight Foundation on behalf of every traveller, at no additional cost to you, to support the firefighters who work so hard to preserve North America’s lands from wildfires.
Ready to embrace your wild side in 2020? Call 0800 267 672 to book your spot on the next GoParks! Tour.