Ultimate 1-Day Guide to Exploring US National Parks

Explore America’s National Parks in Just One Day

America is home to 59 national parks spread across 27 states, offering visitors stunning sights and unforgettable experiences. But what if you only have one day to explore? In this guide, we will take you on a whirlwind tour of 12 of the most awe-inspiring US national parks, as featured in MacGillivray Freeman’s film National Parks Adventure.

1. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in Montana boasts 700 miles of trails, rugged mountains, and breathtaking views. To make the most of your day here, head straight to the Hidden Lake Overlook, where you can get a fantastic view of Bear Hat Mountain, which is shaped like a bear’s head.

Don’t Miss: Hidden Lake Overlook & Bear Hat Mountain

2. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Marvel at the Hoodoos in Utah’s Bryce Canyon – towering rock pillars that can reach up to ten stories high. And take advantage of your visit to Utah by exploring the nearby Canyonlands National Park.

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Don’t Miss: Hoodoos & Canyonlands National Park

3. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Watch the sunrise from Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. With its canyons and gorges carved by the Colorado River, it’s like stepping onto another planet.

Don’t Miss: Mesa Arch & Colorado River

4. Redwood National Park, California

Home to some of the tallest trees on the planet, Redwood National Park in California is not to be missed. Make the most of your day here by taking a road trip down the beautiful California Coastal Highway.

Don’t Miss: California Coastal Highway

5. Yosemite National Park, California

Located in the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park is where you can see the iconic Half Dome and its towering companion, El Capitan. Known for its valleys and waterfalls, Yosemite offers visitors breathtaking scenery that will leave a lasting impression.

Don’t Miss: Half Dome & El Capitan

6. Pictured Rocks National Park, Michigan

Stretching along the shores of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Park offers picturesque cliffs, waterfalls, and sand dunes. While here, take advantage of the clear waters of Lake Superior and go scuba diving.

Don’t Miss: Scuba diving in Lake Superior

7. Katmai National Park, Alaska

If you’re looking for wildlife, Alaska’s Katmai National Park is the place to be. Open all year round, your best bet for bear watching is during July and September.

Don’t Miss: Bear watching

8. Everglades National Park, Florida

Keep a watchful eye out for alligators in Florida’s Everglades National Park. A boat ride through the marshlands is a fantastic way to experience this unique ecosystem, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at log walking instead.

Don’t Miss: Boat ride through the marshlands

9. Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming

Devil’s Tower in Wyoming rises 867 feet from base to summit and offers climbing routes for all experience levels. However, climbers are respectfully asked to stay off the tower during June to honor the ceremonies of the Plains tribes.

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Don’t Miss: Climbing Devil’s Tower

10. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

While in Wyoming, visit Grand Teton National Park in the Teton Mountains. If you’re lucky, you can spot wildlife such as pronghorns at Oxbow Bend.

Don’t Miss: Oxbow Bend & Teton Mountains Wildlife

11. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Journey through the Yellowstone Caldera, an active volcano that offers a wealth of geothermal features, including the famous Old Faithful geyser and multicolored thermal pools filled with pigmented bacteria.

Don’t Miss: Old Faithful Geyser & Thermal Pools

12. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

No one-day tour of America’s national parks would be complete without a visit to the majestic Grand Canyon. Start your day at the South Rim by taking in the view from Yavapai Point before hopping on a mule ride down into the heart of the canyon.

Don’t Miss: Yavapai Point & Mule Ride

Make the Most of Your National Park Adventure

There is no shortage of activities and sights to see in America’s national parks. Planning ahead will help you make the most of your limited time during your one-day adventure. For more inspiration, check out the trailer for MacGillivray Freeman’s National Parks Adventure and let the beauty of America’s pristine wilderness compel you to explore all that its national parks have to offer.