Since the very first national park, Yellowstone, established in 1872 by President Ulysses S Grant, the protection of the world’s natural lands and formations has grown in leaps and bounds. In the United States there are now 59 national parks, and Canada has more than 40 national parks and reserves.
The criteria for a national park to be designated are that it must consist of unusual ecosystems, geological features and natural beauty… naturally! In North America, these combinations are not too hard to find as the preservation and conservation of these great lands and natural wonders is paramount.
Feel like it’s too many to choose from? This list will help you break it down. Mountain ranges and glaciers, waterfalls and lakes, caves and monoliths, deserts and cacti, this list has it all.
One of the most well-known national parks in the world is the 1,200 square miles of Yosemite National Park. Here you’ll find North America’s highest waterfall, Yosemite Falls and stunning natural rock formations.
Tioga Pass Road leads you directly into the high country of Yosemite. There are wonderful opportunities for hiking along designated trails by the Tuolumne Meadows. As well as hiking, there are plenty of perfect spots for fishing, rafting and rock climbing. Stay in designated camping areas or tuck yourself in at the lovely Ahwahnee Hotel, either way, your time in California’s Yosemite National Park will be one to remember.
Appointed a World Heritage Site in 1984, 95% of the park is designated wilderness and supports biological diversity of plants and animals.
Without doubt, the most spectacular prospect, is looking down on Yosemite Valley. Make your way up Glacier Point Road and you’ll be gazing on this wonderment from 3,200 ft.