As overseas travel has been restricted for much of the world, there are probably millions of Aussies who haven’t had an overseas holiday since 2019 who are excited to once more begin travelling abroad as we begin to see travel restrictions eased in certain countries – including the United States.
If you’re looking for holiday inspiration, then you’re in the right place. This blog article covers some of the most famous and breathtaking national parks in America and what you can expect to see and do there.
Did you know that Yellowstone is the world’s first national park? On 1 March 1872, Yellowstone was officially named a United States national park for its breathtaking hydrothermal and geologic features. Covering almost 9000 square kilometres, visitors to the park will have the chance to see diverse landscapes and unique natural landmarks, including the famous Grand Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. You may also be lucky enough to see wildlife such as elk, bison, bears, coyotes and even wolves.
Because Yellowstone covers such a huge area, there are many Native American tribes that have traditional connections to the land. There is evidence to suggest that people began travelling through the area more than 11,000 years ago. There are around 1,850 known Native American and European American archaeological sites located inside the park.
One of the oldest buildings inside Yellowstone is the Old Faithful Inn, which was built between 1903-04. It’s considered one of the largest log structures not just in the U.S., but in the world. If you visit Yellowstone, you can drop into the Inn and take a look around inside for yourself.
No United States national parks list would be complete without Grand Canyon National Park. Probably the most well-known of America’s national parks, Grand Canyon National Park is a World Heritage Site. Formed by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon runs for 445 kilometres and is more than 1,800 metres in depth at its deepest point.
The South Rim is where visitors can see some of the park’s most iconic vistas and attractions, including Grand Canyon Village, the South Kaibab Trail, Mather Point and the Yavapai Geology Museum. The Grand Canyon Village is one of the entryways into the park and while it can become crowded during peak season, it’s also where you can see spectacular views of the Grand Canyon from Yavapai Point.
For bird watchers, the Grand Canyon is one of the best places to try and catch a glimpse of the rare Californian Condor. Even if you’re not a bird lover, seeing one of these impressive raptors in its natural habitat can be exhilarating.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a destination for nature lovers and those who are looking to get off the beaten track a little. One of the best times to travel to this United States national park is during the summer months, as winter can last well into May in the park. However, the cooler months also make for some incredible scenery..
Rocky Mountain National Park in the U.S. is home to the headwaters of the indomitable Colorado River, as well as scenic Bear Lake and Lily Lake. The Kawuneeche Valley is also a great spot to visit if you’re planning on seeing the park, as there are a number of hiking trails here including the more family-friendly Coyote Valley Trail. This accessible trail will take you along the banks of the Colorado River, and provides fantastic views of the Kawuneeche Valley meadows and the Never Summer Mountain Range. This is also a great place to spot moose (from a safe distance). In addition to surrounding yourself with nature, you’ll also find the historic Holzwarth Lodge here. The buildings offer visitors a glimpse into what life would have been like for a ranching family in Colorado in the 1920s.
Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park in the U.S. are right next to one another and are often paired together. There are a number of sequoia tree groves within both parks, some of which are accessible by car and a short walk, while others which can only be reached by hiking. Some trails and groves have been made temporarily inaccessible due to devastating recent fires in the area.
Giant Forest is one of Sequoia’s largest and most famous sequoia groves, and is home to the awe-inspiring General Sherman tree, the world’s largest living tree. General Sherman stands 83 metres tall and has a jaw-dropping diameter of 11 metres at its base. During the 2021 KNP Complex Fire, General Sherman was wrapped in aluminium to help protect it from this severe wildfire.
One of Kings Canyon’s most famous sequoia groves is the Grant Grove, which is located close by to the Kings Canyon Visitor Centre. Here visitors can see a number of exceptionally large sequoia trees – more than other groves inside the park. Grant Grove is named for the General Grant tree, which President Calvin Coolidge officially designated as the Nation’s Christmas Tree in 1926. Along the trail that leads to General Grant, you’ll also see other famous landmarks such as the Fallen Monarch, the Centennial Stump and the Gamlin Cabin.
With international borders opening up, it’s no surprise that many of us are finally looking to book a holiday overseas. We hope this blog has inspired you to start planning your next American travel holiday.
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