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National parks in the West are some of the most iconic and unforgettable places you can visit in the United States (and no, we’re not just saying that because we live on the west coast, either).
From towering redwood forests to breathtaking canyons to peaceful lakes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventurous hike, these parks provide incredible opportunities to explore and appreciate the wonders of nature!
So, if you’re looking for a unique getaway that will stay with you for years, look no further than these national parks in the west!
National Parks in the West
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Utah, and it’s one of the most well-known and visited national parks on the west coast of the United States. It’s a natural wonderland full of geological formations like hoodoos, colorful rocks, and incredible spires that are full of character and charm.
The park also offers some amazing hiking trails with stunning views, as well as plenty of camping options for visitors to take advantage of. For photographers, Bryce Canyon is an absolute dream with its breathtaking landscape and vibrant colors that make for some truly stunning photos.
In short, Bryce Canyon National Park is simply one of the best national parks on the west coast when looking for a unique and beautiful experience.
And yes, we listed Bryce first because it’s truly our favorite of all national parks in the West.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a stunning natural phenomenon located in Utah, USA. It’s known for its incredible focus on the unique sandstone formations for which it’s named and its impressive collection of natural sandstone arches.
With panoramic views of the breathtaking red rock landscape, Arches National Park is one of the best national parks in the west coast region.
Besides its beautiful landscape, Arches National Park offers its visitors a variety of activities to explore, such as hiking trails with spectacular viewpoints and sunrise spots that will take your breath away.
There’s also camping available to those who want to stay overnight and really take in the park’s beauty. All in all, Arches National Park provides a truly unforgettable experience that should not be missed by anyone looking for an adventure on the west coast of the USA.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is located in beautiful Wyoming (right near Jackson Hole) and is a stunning park with breathtaking views of the Teton mountain range.
Its alpine lakes are some of the most pristine in the United States and provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation like hiking, camping, fishing, and horseback riding.
Grand Teton offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience a variety of wildlife like elk, bison, bald eagles, and moose. From its high-altitude views to its lush meadows carpeted with wildflowers in the summertime, Grand Teton is one of the most picturesque national parks on the West Coast.
There’s something about this rugged terrain that makes even the most seasoned adventurers gasp with awe. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or simply want to take in some spectacular views, Grand Teton National Park should be at the top of your list!
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best national parks on the West Coast of the USA due to its many attributes and features. Located in Washington, Mount Rainier National Park offers visitors breathtaking views and a stunning landscape.
In addition to its natural landscapes, visitors can enjoy activities such as wildlife viewing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, and more! Mount Rainier is home to some of the most spectacular mountains in North America.
With so much to offer, it’s no wonder why Mount Rainier National Park is considered one of the best national parks on the West Coast!
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park in Utah is an amazing place to visit, filled with colorful canyons, towering cliffs, and ancient rock formations. It’s one of the best national parks in the Western United States for several reasons, like its great camping!
This is one of the least-visited parks in Utah, so no matter when you visit, you won’t see many others there. We visited in October and were blown away that we were one of the few people there!
For a real treat, pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic spots throughout the park, then go on one of the park’s best hikes to be able to enjoy the park’s beauty up close and personal.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the best national parks on the west coast of the USA for a variety of reasons. Located in Arizona, it’s home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country.
From colorful sunsets that stretch across miles of sandstone (that are great for photos) and rock formations, to deep canyons filled with swirling rapids, there’s something for everyone here. The park also offers various hiking trails for adventurers looking to explore its beauty on foot.
Visitors can even witness some of the wildlife that lives in and around this grand area, such as elk, bighorn sheep, and more. Grand Canyon National Park truly has something for everyone, making it one of the top destinations for travelers from all walks of life.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring national parks on the west coast of the USA. With a variety of landscapes, including sheer cliffs, deep canyons, and winding river beds, Canyonlands offers stunning views and memorable experiences.
It’s located in Utah, making it accessible from many nearby cities like Salt Lake City and Grand Junction. The park boasts miles of hiking trails, numerous campgrounds, and countless activities such as rafting, biking, horseback riding, and more.
This national park has something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a peaceful hike or an adrenaline-filled adventure! Many people skip out on Canyonlands to visit nearby Arches, but this is truly a must-visit.
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Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is one of the best national parks in the west coast of the USA because it has incredible landscapes and scenery that can’t be experienced anywhere else.
Its many miles offer stunning views of alpine lakes, meadows, forests, and snow-capped peaks. The park is home to various wildlife, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, deer, and more.
With many miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. From hiking to backpacking to horseback riding to fishing and camping – there’s something for everyone at the park!
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the most underrated national parks in the west coast of the USA for a few reasons.
First, it is located in Colorado, giving visitors access to some stunning views and terrain. The park also boasts incredible biodiversity with a wide variety of unique plants and animals, making it an ideal spot for wildlife watching.
Visitors will also discover majestic canyons and rock formations in this landscape, which are best seen on hikes. With its unique landscapes and vibrant wildlife, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park provides an unforgettable experience for anyone who visits.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks in the west coast of the USA for a number of reasons. First, its sprawling desert landscape can’t be found anywhere else.
Of course, it’s also home to some of the oldest and biggest Joshua trees in existence. Located in California’s Mojave Desert, it’s just a few hours drive from Los Angeles or Las Vegas and provides great opportunities for camping, hiking and photography.
Joshua Tree National Park is truly an unbeatable site; it has something for everyone who visits.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a stunningly beautiful park located in the southwestern state of Utah. Its majestic sandstone canyons, soaring cliffs, and many breathtaking trails make it one of the best national parks in the West Coast of the USA.
It offers its visitors incredible views with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping and so much more. Not only is Zion National Park an amazing destination to explore nature but it also has a rich cultural history that spans hundreds of years.
In addition to countless hours of exploration and adventure, Zion also offers some unique lodging options such as camping under the stars or staying at one of the nearby rustic cabins.
We highly recommend visiting Zion anytime besides summer – it gets crazy busy!
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a stunning area located in California, on the west coast of the USA which makes it an ideal destination for anyone looking to explore this part of the country.
It’s one of the oldest national parks in the US (right behind Yellowstone), and its ancient trees are some of the tallest and oldest living things on Earth.
You can find breathtaking trails, beautiful landscapes, and more. Its campsites are well-maintained with plenty of amenities to enjoy during your stay, making it one of the top destinations for outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful and pristine national parks in the western United States. Located in Northwestern Montana near the Canadian border, it offers some of the best opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife watching on the continent.
With its towering mountain peaks, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls, Glacier National Park is a place of unsurpassed beauty. There are many miles of trails that traverse its terrain, offering everything from leisurely strolls to strenuous hikes.
Wildlife viewing is also excellent here. The park’s glacial features are spectacular – many lakes have been created by melting glaciers and visitors can witness the power of nature as these ancient ice sheets slowly melt away. Glacier National Park is truly one of America’s most remarkable natural treasures.
North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park is a stunning national park located in Washington, USA. It’s a place of breathtaking natural beauty, offering lush forests, glacier-fed lakes and rugged mountains as far as the eye can see.
This park offers an abundance of outdoor activities to visitors; from hiking and camping to fishing and paddling on one of its many sparkling lakes. The mountain peaks here are some of the most challenging climbs for mountaineers in the lower 48 states, with over 300 glaciers spread across them.
Even more accessible trails lead to waterfalls and other attractions throughout the park, making it an ideal spot for all levels of hikers and adventurers.
For those who appreciate nature photography, this is a great spot to capture stunning shots that will last forever. With snow-capped peaks glistening in the sun and valleys full of wildflowers in full bloom, North Cascades National Park offers plenty of photo opportunities for aspiring photographers from all walks of life.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park in Washington is renowned for its rugged coastline, majestic snow-capped peaks, and lush rainforests. With over one million acres to explore, Olympic National Park provides an expansive range of experiences for visitors.
Hiking trails cut through soaring mountain peaks and through old-growth forests with cascading waterfalls and rivers that provide plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor center to learn more about the park when visiting.
Yosemite National Park
Located in California, Yosemite National Park offers stunning views of granite cliffs, waterfalls, meadows, and valleys. In addition to its natural beauty, the park also offers plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, rock climbing, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
Visitors can explore Yosemite Valley’s historical sites such as El Capitan and Half Dome or take a guided tour of Tuolumne Meadows for breathtaking views of wildflowers and wildlife. Yosemite National Park is also home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks like Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls.
With its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, Yosemite National Park is sure to leave visitors with lasting memories.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most well-known and stunningly beautiful national parks lLocated in Wyoming. It was established as the first national park in 1872 and encompasses an area of just under 3,500 square miles.
It’s a spectacular place of geothermal features such as bubbling mudpots and hot springs, grand canyons and waterfalls, forests filled with wildlife, and vast expanses of rolling hills. It’s home to over 60 species of mammals, including bison, wolves, grizzly bears, elk, moose, bald eagles and osprey – providing visitors with unforgettable experiences rarely found anywhere else.
Yellowstone also offers a range of outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, rafting and hiking which make it one of the best national parks to explore in the USA.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is an incredible and unique destination located in California, USA. It is one of the most beautiful national parks in the western United States, and a great place to explore its diverse landscapes.
Its huge desert valley and canyons are home to some of the most spectacular scenery; from badlands, sand dunes, salt flats, petroglyphs and more! Death Valley also offers numerous adventure activities such as camping, backpacking, day hikes, wildlife viewing and interpretive programs.
Visitors can also experience its fascinating biological diversity with a variety of plants and animals that make their homes in this harsh environment. With its mild winters and hot summers, Death Valley National Park is a great place for anyone who wants to get away from it all and explore the West Coast’s natural beauty.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is an incredible site in the west coast of the United States. Located in Oregon, it is one of the most popular national parks in the region. The park is home to the deepest lake in the US, surrounded by forests and views that will take your breath away.
The iconic Wizard Island rises from its waters, providing a unique perspective on this geological wonder. Outdoor enthusiasts can find plenty of activities here, from swimming, fishing and boating on the lake, to hiking through its trails and camping in its secluded campgrounds.
At night, stargazers can get lost in its picturesque night skies free of most light pollution. This makes Crater Lake one of the best national parks on the west coast of USA for that special outdoor experience.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park is an incredibly diverse and beautiful national park located in Colorado. It’s home to some of the highest sand dunes in North America, and is one of the most unique parks we’ve ever been to.
Visitors can take advantage of a wide range of activities such as camping, hiking, dune sledding and sand boarding on the large dunes. With its stunning views and many recreational opportunities Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the most amazing national parks!
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park, located in the beautiful state of Hawaii, is well known for its unique and diverse wildlife, as well as its scenic views. It is home to a variety of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals that can be found throughout the park’s forests and trails.
The park also offers visitors access to stunning beaches, breathtaking mountain peaks, and lush vegetation. Visitors can explore an array of recreational activities including watching the sunset, hiking, biking, camping, stargazing and more.
With so much beauty to behold here at Haleakala National Park, it is easy to see why it is one of the most beloved parks on the west coast.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is located off the coast of California. It is a hidden gem that offers visitors amazing views of pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, rugged cliffs, rolling hills and deep canyons.
The park also features several species of rare plants and animals, such as blue whales and bald eagles. With so many activities available to visitors such as kayaking, surfing, diving, fishing, camping and more – Channel Islands National Park is a perfect destination for those looking to explore nature’s beauty.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is a great destination for breathtaking landscapes, incredible archaeology, and outdoor activities that will keep you entertained all day long.
Its vast canyons and mesas are home to some of the most impressive cliff dwellings ever built. There’s also plenty to explore in terms of hikes, scenic drives, or wildlife viewing. Unlike many other parks on this list, you can see all of Mesa Verde’s top sights in a day!
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is known for its stunning beauty and unique features. Glacier Bay is located in Alaska, and it’s full of lush forests, deep fjords, spectacular glaciers, and abundant wildlife.
When visiting, don’t miss out on Margerie Glacier and seeing Mount Fairweather. Fishing is also a super popular activity at Glacier Bay National Park.
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park has stunning rock formations found throughout the park, including volcanic spires and pinnacles, deep canyons and caves. It’s also located in California, so it’s easily accessible for those planning to visit the state.
The park has a variety of hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous that offer numerous views of its unique landscapes. It also provides opportunities to observe wildlife such as golden eagles, prairie falcons, condors, and black-tailed deer as they traverse the rugged terrain.
With so much to offer, Pinnacles National Park is an ideal spot for outdoor adventurers looking for a unique experience in nature.
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Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park in Arizona is surrounded by stunning desert and mountain landscapes, filled with incredible wildlife, and home to a wide variety of unique plants like the iconic saguaro cactus. There are plenty of places to hike, bike, or explore by car.
And if you’re looking for a truly memorable experience, there are occasional night tours that will let you witness the park’s beauty under the stars. With its breathtaking views and fascinating wildlife, Saguaro National Park truly stands out as one of America’s treasures.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is located in the picturesque setting of Alaska, making it one of the most unique national parks. Home to glaciers, mountains, fjords, and forests, it’s a truly stunning location.
Apart from its natural beauty, Kenai Fjords National Park is a great choice for outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking. You can also explore long trails throughout or take shorter walks alongside lakes and waterfalls. No matter what kind of activity you prefer while in nature – Kenai Fjords National Park has something for everyone!
Petrified Forest National Park
Located in Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park has some of the most fascinating geological features in the United States, including colorful petrified wood that gives this park its name.
Petrified Forest National Park also has an interesting human history, as evidence shows people have been visiting and living near this area for centuries. In addition to providing educational value through its numerous fossils and petroglyphs, the park contains a diverse array of plants and animals across its vast expanse.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to hike or camp or simply observe nature up close, Petrified Forest National Park offers an ideal setting that will leave you with plenty of fond memories.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park in California is home to a broad range of biodiversity, including lush meadows, clear streams and rivers, and beautiful pine forests. It’s also a great place for outdoor activities like camping, biking, fishing, and hiking.
The park is known for its volcanic features; Lassen Peak is the largest dome in the world. One of the most popular attractions at the park is Bumpass Hell Trail – a 2.7-mile out-and-back trail through an area with colorful pools and steam ponds illuminated by the sun – which makes it an incredible sight to see!
Final Thoughts: National Parks in the West
The beautiful and unspoiled sites of the west show that nature still has some secrets to offer. From the dramatic coastlines of the Pacific Ocean to the majestic peaks of the Rockies, national parks in the Western United States can provide a lifetime of exploration and adventure.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adrenaline-fueled excursion, these gorgeous landscapes offer something for every traveler. So no matter where your journey takes you, make sure to explore and appreciate all that our national parks have to offer.
See more of the west coast:
- 13 Unforgettable USA West Coast Tours
- Oregon Bucket List: 23+ Best Things to do in Oregon
- Arizona Bucket List: 25+ Best Things to do in Arizona
- 10 Best State Parks in Kauai Hawaii for Outdoor Lovers
- Utah Bucket List: 21 Best Things to do in Utah
- 15 Best National Parks to Visit in July & Beat the Heat