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Top 10 U.S. National Parks

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Pack your camping gear, because after watching this video you’re going to want to hit the road. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best National Parks in the US.
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Top 10 Best National Parks in the US

Pack your camping gear, because after watching this video you’re going to want to hit the road. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best National Parks in the US.


For this list, we’re looking at America’s 60 national parks and picking our ten favorites, primarily located in Western states.


#10: Rocky Mountain
Colorado

For the first park on our list, we’re going to head to beautiful Colorado. Just a short drive from Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is possibly the best place to go if you want to really explore the Rockies in the US. The terrain in this park is vast and varied, taking up approximately 400 square miles. There are alpine lakes, flat tundras and of course, the glorious peaks of the titular Rocky Mountains. The wildlife in this park is one of the main attractions as well. As of 2015, this was the third most visited national park in the country, and we totally get why.


#9: Grand Teton
Wyoming

You know the song “Home on the Range”? It starts with the line, “Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam. Where the deer and the antelope play,” which may very well have been written about this National Park. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back to the old West when you come here. Located in Wyoming, the least-populous state in the Union, this park centers around the mountain from which it takes its name. The most recognizable vista is Jackson Hole, a glorious valley which is postcard perfect at just about any time of year.



#8: Bryce Canyon
Utah

Speaking of the Old West, we head next to Bryce Canyon National Park, located in Utah. One of the smallest parks in the federal system, this protected area only takes up about 60 square miles. But you know what they say, sometimes the best things come in small packages. Calling it a canyon is a bit of a misnomer because it isn’t one. It’s actually a series of huge natural amphitheatres whose red rocks make for an unforgettable view. It’s located in the same region as some of the country’s most popular parks but receives far fewer annual visitors, making this an untapped resource that you don’t want to miss.



#7: Sequoia
California

California, unsurprisingly, is home to some incredible National Parks, and the first one we’ll talk about is Sequoia, in the Sierra Nevada mountain region. The most popular attraction within the park is of course, the General Sherman tree which holds the honor of being the largest tree in the world. The forest around it is also home to several of the other largest trees on Earth. Unlike some of the other parks on our list which would take days to properly explore, this one is a great pick for a day trip if you’re travelling in the area.


#6: Glacier
Montana
At over a million acres (or 1 and a half million square miles), this National Park is so big it reaches into a whole other country. That’s right, Glacier National Park is in both Canada and the US, with its American portion located in Montana. The area has been called the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem”, and offers views that you would expect to see in the Swiss Alps more than in the States. As the name suggests, the region was formed by glaciers and there are still 25 of them that exist in the park.



#5: Zion
Utah

Utah is home to five incredible National Parks, but we have to call Zion the crown jewel of what this state has to offer. The beauty here is otherworldly, and you might just think you’ve stepped onto another planet when you arrive. And even though it receives millions of visitors every year, many consider this park to be one of America’s best kept secrets. The red rocks juxtaposed with the clear water of the Virgin River make for one of the most stunning views in the country.


#4: Joshua Tree
California

Located near the famed Coachella Valley, as well as the town of Palm Springs in Southern California, Joshua Tree is perfectly located for exploring. In fact, it’s only a short drive from Los Angeles, making it one of the more accessible parks on our list. The park takes its name from the unique looking trees that are scattered throughout the region. The giant rocks and desert landscape make for a surreal experience, one that is drawing more and more visitors every year. It may have only officially become a National Park in 1994, but it’s exceptional.



#3: Grand Canyon
Arizona

Of all the American landmarks on our list today, perhaps none is more familiar worldwide than the Grand Canyon. It’s a hugely popular tourist destination, and for good reason. The canyon itself is spectacular, and is often considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. While many people make this a day trip from nearby Las Vegas, the only way to truly appreciate everything the park has to offer is to go for a longer visit and actually take the time to hike into the canyon for a multi day trip.



#2: Yellowstone
Wyoming, Idaho, Montana

This park is so huge that it actually spans three states: Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Yellowstone was the first area that was designated as a National Park in the US, and many argue that it’s actually the oldest National Park in the world, being created in 1872. The major attraction that most visitors come to see is of course the geyser Old Faithful, followed by the unreal-looking Grand Prismatic Spring. But aside from these must-sees, the park actually has lot more to offer, including hiking trails, waterfalls and a wide variety of wildlife.



Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


Haleakalā
Hawaii




Great Smoky Mountains
Tennessee, North Carolina





Mount Rainier
Washington




#1: Yosemite
California

It’s not easy to pick one park to sit atop this list, but Yosemite’s raw natural beauty makes it hard to imagine anything else at number one. Located in, yes, central California just a few hours from San Francisco, the Yosemite Valley and surrounding areas comprise the most stunning landscape in the country. Sights like El Capitan, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls have become iconic, and the park is popular with hikers, climbers and adventurers for good reason. If there’s one National Park that you should visit in your lifetime, we’re going to just say it: this is the one.

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