The vast expanse of the 50 states harbors a total of 59 national parks. Each park contains unique scenery, campgrounds and hiking trails along with other recreation areas. Take a look at some of these unique locations in the United States
Petrified Forest National Park-Arizona
This park lies in the southwest in an area known as the “Four Corners.” The unusual landscape found here often reminds one of the lunar terrains of the moon. Petrified wood lays strewn across the expansive acreage. Popular hiking destinations include the Blue Mesa Trail and the Painted Desert Rim Trail, which both have a myriad of animal and plant fossils.
Yosemite National Park-California
Millions journey to this location every year, which encompasses over 760,000 acres along the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Highlights of the park include an array of granite cliffs, crystal clear streams and a variety of waterfalls. The Yosemite Falls cascade from a height of 2,425 feet above ground.
Haleakala National Park-Maui
This national park spans from the coast to the peak of Mt. Haleakala. Follow the Haleakala Kuapo Gap Trail and encounter everything from the rainforest along the coast to the barren desert terrain that lies within the crater of the peak. Take a break and a fast dip in one of the local swimming holes. Scale the summit and pass through the clouds at the upper most elevations.
White Sands National Park-New Mexico
Located in the Tularosa Basin of the state, the unique but stunning destination features expansive sand dunes comprised of white gypsum that span 275 square miles. Here, visitors have the chance to tour the desert by night along with a park ranger. Other tours include a venture to Lake Lucero. The massive hills of sand also attract boarders who enjoy surfing down the peaks.
Chickasaw National Park-Oklahoma
This destination contains two parks in one with the Lake of the Arbuckles and the Platt Historic District within its confines. Guests enjoy a number of recreational sports here including boating, cycling, fishing and hiking. The area has a variety of unique flora, fauna and geological formations.
Big Bend National Park-Texas
Covering more than 800,000 acres of natural landscape, the park features desert, river and mountain terrain. The Rio Grande flows through the area providing the perfect environment for water sports. Hiking trails take guests through various unique features from the bottom of canyons to mountain peaks. Big Bend regularly attracts bird watching enthusiasts, as hundreds of species reside here along with numerous animal species.
Arches National Park-Utah
The park features the largest number of sandstone arches on the planet. A 40-mile trail meanders through the area offering the opportunity for seeing the unusual formations that span millions of years in age. Some of the more popular sites include Delicate Arch, Devil’s Garden and Double Arch along with Fiery Furnace and the Skyline Arch.
Lying nestled within the Olympic Mountains, the park has everything from cliff-lined beaches and hot springs to lush rainforests. Explore the many hiking trails, take a whitewater rafting trip or relax in the springs.
These parks offer something for everyone whether looking for the perfect campgrounds or unusual terrain. Enjoy the sights that the country has to offer and plan a trip to one of the many national parks this summer.
Travis Means has been a National Park Ranger for the past 5 years. For more information on the beautiful national parks in Oklahoma, he recommends checking out http://chickasawcountry.com.