The national parks represent a magnificent collection of types and experiences of landscapes of high contrast. In them you can walk through magical forests, spectacular mountains, glaciers, lakes or volcanoes of incredible beauty, in an exciting encounter for the best natural environments in the world. They are natural reserves that should be visited at least once in a lifetime.
The first national park in the world was established in the United States, in Yellowstone. It did not pretend to be a radical new idea of a young nation but it was the ‘best idea of America’ despite being a practical solution for a territorial argument. It was supposed to become a state park, but the land of Yellowstone was in three territories and none of them was still a state. Hence, the Congress of the United States decided to turn it into a federal park.”
Yellowstone National Park became the first national park in the world on March 1, 1872 (later the National Park Service was created in the US on August 25, 1916 along with the establishment of many other natural parks).
The National Park Service, which has already passed its 100th anniversary, handles 409 parks spread over 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the US territories. UU These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military and historic parks, historic sites, picturesque rivers, coasts, recreational areas, trails, and even the White House.
As a curiosity, the European Day of National Parks is celebrated every year on May 24, in commemoration of the declaration of the first European national park in Sweden on May 24, 1909, which aims to remember the key role of parks in the conservation of nature and the opportunities they offer us for social welfare.
1Yosemite National Park
Although Yosemite National Park, located in central California, is well known for its huge waterfalls, large granite cliffs and forests of giant Sequoias, it is a park that does not go unnoticed. One of the best times to visit is in the autumn. The foliage in this season is nearing its peak at the end of October and continues until November: maples, dogwoods, poplars and oaks decorate the landscape.
We will also find bison, lynx, gray wolves, mountain goats and black bears.
Location: In the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, United States.
Surface: 3,027 km2.
2National Park of the Sequoias
We can find it next to the Cañón de los Reyes national park, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of southern California. There we will find the most majestic redwoods, which stand as if they were buildings of more than 25 plants. With 80 meters counting from the ground and resisting storms, fellings and fires, these giant sequoias make up a unique landscape. The famous General Sherman, the largest living being on the planet, crowns this natural collection with its 84 meters high and 1.9 million kilograms.
Location: California, United States
Surface: 1,635 km2.
3Denali National Park and Reserve
Spanning almost 25,000 square kilometers in the interior of Alaska, the Denali National Park and Preserve is the perfect destination for mountaineers, backpackers and, of course, tree / leaf watchers. Autumn peaks in late August and early September. Where we can see a good sample of deciduous trees, including poplars and willows, as well as shrubs and flowering plants that make up an incredibly colorful landscape in this protected area. The park also houses several species of wild animals such as gray bears, moose or wolves.
Location: Alaska, United States.
Area: 24,585 square kilometers.
4Banff National Park
It is the oldest national park in Canada with its glaciers, ice fields and coniferous forests, this national park has a special charm. With the reflection of the mountains adorning the lakes Moraine, Louise and Minnewanka, the feeling of freedom and happiness to contemplate this beauty with your own eyes, will make you never forget this stop along the way.
The park belongs to the natural parks of the Canadian Rockies, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1984.
Location: Rocky Mountains, Canada
Area: 6,641 square kilometers
5National Park Iguazu
Famous for hosting the impressive waterfalls of Iguazu (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world), the waterfalls, including the spectacular Garganta del Diablo, reach 70 meters high in the shape of a half moon with over 250 waterfalls. Apart from its waters, we can also observe jaguars, toucans or coatis.
Location: Subtropical jungle in Misiones, Argentina
Area: 759 square kilometers
6Shenandoah National Park
This park Virginia (USA) hosts a variety of trees deciduous, including maples, birches, oaks, poplars and oaks. If what you want to see is the splendor of the autumn leaves (with multiple tones in reds, oranges and yellows), the best time is mid-October. It is advisable to go around the park through the Skyline Drive. It is a very busy park, because around 2 million people cross this sinuous stage every year.
Location: Virginia, United States
Area: 806 square kilometers
7Mu Ko Similan National Park
The Similan Islands National Park is located in South Thailand. The average temperature throughout the year is 27°C but, despite this, the authorities always close the park from May 16 to November 14 due to the tremendous storms of the monsoon season, which can endanger its multiple tourists. It is made up of 11 islands and is considered one of the most beautiful natural parks in the world, with its spectacular white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and magical coral reefs. Snorkeling or diving are among the activities preferred by visitors.
Surface: 140 square kilometers.
8Plitvice Lakes National Park
Among beautiful firs, beeches and pines, we also find up to 16 fabulous lakes connected by waterfalls and springs everywhere. If we travel to this natural reserve in Croatia, we should not miss the route of an electric boat that runs through the 12 upper lakes with the lower 4, with a spectacular ending: the 78-meter high waterfall of Veliki Slap.
Area: 296.8 square kilometers.
9National park of Sierra Nevada
This vast park, the largest in Spain, stretches for 850 km2 south of Granada to the beautiful valleys of the Alpujarras, with more than 20 peaks over 3,000 meters. Hiking or mountain biking are some of the most common activities next to skiing, which we can practice from the end of November to the end of April. With spectacular mountains, whose peaks can exceed 3,000 meters, Sierra Nevada is also home to a mountain goat, badger or wild cat.
Location: Granada, Spain
Surface: 850 square kilometers.
10Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This national park is a division of the Appalachian Mountains located in Tennessee. It is, without a doubt, the most visited national park in the United States, and for good reason. The colors of autumn arrive in descending waves. Trees in the highest elevations of mountains (1,200 meters or more) begin to exhibit orange, red and yellow foliage in early or mid-October, while medium and low elevations remain relatively green until the end of October and the beginning of November .
The park also has a wide variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, car trips, camping, fishing, guided tours and horseback riding.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Area: 2,114 square kilometers
11Los Glaciares National Park
Among its numerous glaciers include Perito Moreno, famous for its magnificent ice cascades on the front wall. In total there are 4 7 glaciers that houses this park located in the southern Andes, in Argentina. It is a World Heritage Site since 1981.
Location: Andes australes, Argentina
Area: 7.269 square kilometers
12Timanfaya National Park
As if we were traveling to Mars, the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote is presented with more than 20 volcanoes. This area of the Canary Islands offers us a stunning landscape of lava and craters. Among the most outstanding volcanoes of this Canarian site are: the Mountains of Fire, the Rajada Mountain or the Caldera del Corazoncillo.
Location: Lanzarote, Spain
Area: 51.07 square kilometers
13Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park, located at the northernmost point of the Cascade Range in northwest Washington, begins to explode with autumn colors around August and September, at the same time as other tall parks (such as the National Park). Denali). This park is also the home of Mount Rainier, a massive stratovolcano that reaches more than 4,000 meters at its top, a very popular place to walk and climb.
Location: Washington, USA
Area: 956.6 square kilometers
14Amboseli National Park
This park is located in southern Kenya. In it we can see all the variables of the African savannah with its plains, its marshes, its rocky areas or its acacia forests. The safaris are very common, either to contemplate the herds of elephants, giraffes or zebras.
Location: L oitoktok District, Rift Valley, Kenya
Area: 392 square kilometers
15Grand Canyon National Park of the Colorado
We now travel to Arizona where one of the most impressive natural monuments in the world is located: the Grand Canyon National Park of the Colorado. Its characteristic layers of red rock reveal millions of years of geological history, accompanied by whitewater rapids and panoramic views that will leave you speechless.
Location: Arizona, USA
Area: 4,926 square kilometers
16Etosha National Park
It is one of the largest national parks in the world with more than 22,000 square kilometers of surface. It is located in Namibia and, in it, the Etosha plain comprises one of the most biodiverse reserves in Africa.
Area: 22,270 square kilometers
17National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido
Near the French border is the oldest national park in Spain (1918) but also one of the least known. The 3,355 meters of Monte Perdido loom over dramatic glacial valleys up to 3 kilometers deep. We will find walks for all levels, including trails along the natural ledges of the limestone barely one meter wide.
Location: Aragón, Spain
Surface: 1 56.1 square kilometers
Covering more than 24,000 square kilometers in the state of New York, the Adirondack Park is the largest protected area in the contiguous United States. It contains 3,000 lakes, many canals and hiking trails. Due to its cold climate, autumn colors normally reach their peak in the last two weeks of September.
Location: North New York, United States
Area: 24,281 square kilometers