7. NATIONAL PARKS

a. General

 There are 62 national parks in the United States even though there are 421 park sites.  This is covered in the National Park System website.   These National Parks bring in 327 million visitors a year.  Can you name the largest National Park?  If you guessed Yellowstone, you’d be wrong.  It is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska at 13.2 million acres. 

The biggest area does not bring in the biggest crowds.  That honor goes to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park capturing 12.5 million visitors each year.  If you that that was Yellowstone you’d be wrong again.  Yellowstone saw 4 million visitors in 2019 behind Grand Canyon, Rock Mountain, Zion, and Yosemite.  But, Yellowstone is the granddaddy of all National Parks becoming the first National Park in 1872 when president Ulysses S. Grant signed the National Parks law.  There is only one National Park that resides in three states.  Yellowstone is primarily in Wyoming but it has parts that are within the borders of Idaho and Montana. 

California has the most National Parks at 9, followed by Alaska with 8 and then Utah with 5.  There are 24 states with no National Park.  Two territories, American Samoa and Virgin Islands, each have 1.

b. Names and Links to Each National Park

National Park Name

State

Acadia National Park

Maine

Arches National Park

Utah

Badlands National Park

South Dakota

Big Bend National Park

Texas

Biscayne National Park

Florida

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado

Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah

Canyonlands National Park

Utah

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

New Mexico

Channel Islands National Park

California

Congaree National Park

South Carolina

Crater Lake National Park

Oregon

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Ohio

Death Valley National Park

California

Denali National Park

Alaska

Dry Tortugas National Park

Florida

Everglades National Park

Florida

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Alaska

Gateway Arch National Park

Missouri

Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska

Glacier National Park

Montana

Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona

Grand Teton National Park

Wyoming

Great Basin National Park

Nevada

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Texas

Haleakalā National Park

Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii

Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana

Isle Royale National Park

Michigan

Joshua Tree National Park

California

Katmai National Park

Alaska

Kenai Fjords National Park

Alaska

Kings Canyon National Park

California

Kobuk Valley National Park

Alaska

Lake Clark National Park

Alaska

Lassen Volcanic National Park

California

Mammoth Cave National Park

Kentucky

Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado

Mount Rainier National Park

Washington

National Park of American Samoa

American Samoa

North Cascades National Park

Washington

Olympic National Park

Washington

Petrified Forest National Park

Arizona

Pinnacles National Park

California

Redwood National Park

California

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado

Saguaro National Park

Arizona

Sequoia National Park

California

Shenandoah National Park

Virginia

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota

Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands

Voyageurs National Park

Minnesota

White Sands National Park

New Mexico

Wind Cave National Park

South Dakota

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Alaska

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming

Yosemite National Park

California

Zion National Park

Utah

c. Guided Tours

There are private guided tours that are available for most of the National Parks.  Affordable Tours.com discusses a few tours ranging in costs from $1,000 to $15,000 and durations from 5 to 24 days.  

Quorvita does not vouch for or recommend any particular guided tour.  A few operators include:

and many others. 

d. Medical Facilities

There are medical facilities or medical care in or around many of the National Parks.  The National Park Service outlines medicine and hospitals associated with the national parks.  Wilderness & Environmental Medicine provides information in this area.   The US Department of Interior published a Survey Report in 1996 on Emergency Medical services for the National Park Service.   Those traveling with supplemental oxygen are addressed in the Oxygen Concentrator Store

e. Plants & Animals at National Parks

Plants & Animals At National Parks.    The National Park Service provides information on the Plants and Animals at the various parks.   Some of this website links show pictures and discuss the various animals and plants at the parks.

f. Safety at National Parks

In a city, it is dangerous to cross the street when the light is green.  Driving 50 mph over the speed limit or not stopping at a stop sign spells high risk.  Obvious to humans these things are hidden to animals.  When we travel into the animal kingdom, the roles are reversed. 

Some animals are cute and friendly looking crying for a photo shoot, but can be extremely dangerous.  The Moose is a prime example.  Never turn your back to a wolf or bear and run. 

Backing to the edge of a cliff to take a selfie is foolhardy, along with feeding the wild animals or getting between a mother and its cub.   When camping in as tent, it is advisable not to keep your food inside the tent with you.  Don’t pitch your sleeping bag over a nest of ants, and snacking on strange berries and mushrooms may have nasty consequences. 

Don’t start a fire when it is prohibited, or outside a fire pit, or when it is windy, or when you do not have ample water available to put it out, or allow the fire to burn when you retire for the night.  Don’t get lost is always good advice.  Don’t use friends as bear bait, and because you can run faster than your friend that is not a solution. 

The National Park Service has many great tips on how to stay safe when inside the park.   The National Geographic organization has many tips, and The Parks Expert provides useful hints for bear safety. 

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