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From the raw drama of Old Faithful, to the quiet splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains, connect with nature at one of the many national parks located throughout the United States and Canada. Whether you prefer the grand driving tours or getting out on the trails, there is a Best Western® hotel nearby where you can refresh and refuel.
Discover the top parks in North America and start planning your trip today.
Part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. Visitors can traverse over 300 miles of maintained roads to explore and view the animals, reptiles and hardwood forests that call this region home.
Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations, where visitors can explore a beautiful collection of historic structures, including houses, barns, churches and grist mills. Whether you are driving or hiking, keep your eyes out for the 65 species of mammals living in the park, including the symbol of the park, the black bear.
Commonly called the “smokies”, the region gets this moniker from the vapor released by the vegetation, creating the bluish smoke that drapes over the landscape.
The Call of the Wild....
Designated as the very first national park by President Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone National Park draws millions of visitors annually to view the amazing wildlife and geothermal wonders. Travel the famed loop with frequent stops to photograph the 67 species of mammals including bear, elk, bison and wolves that call the park home.
Just to the south, the Teton Range watches over the Yellowstone. Named for the tallest peak, the Grand Teton Park welcomes visitors to explore almost 200 miles of hiking trails, or to cast a line in the Snake River, some of the most famous spots for trout fishing.
In August, 2017, the total solar eclipse will be visible over North America, with visitors to either Yellowstone or the Grand Teton Park enjoying a 96-99% total eclipse.
A true geology lesson….
Arches National Park began 65 million years ago as a dry seabed. Pressures from deep in the earth heaved the sandstone up, where water erodes the rock until an arch is born. Today, there are over 2,000 named arches including delicate arch, landscape arch and balance rock.
If you could travel back in time and visit Zion National Park, you would have seen a very flat landscape. Today, the park soars to 8,700 feet and is still growing with various geological events. Hikers love to explore the many trails and sheer cliffs challenge rock climbers to reach the top.
Bryce Canyon National Park offers an experience like no other where the largest collection of Hoodoos and fins can be found. Visitors can explore the 18-mile scenic drive or the expansive trails can get you up close to the famous formations including Thor’s Hammer, Tower Bridge and the Bryce Amphitheater.
A wonder of the world….
For centuries, the Colorado River System has cut its ways through the red rock leaving a canyon awash in color that stretches 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and 1 mile deep.
Guests to Grand Canyon National Park have many options to explore the canyon; soar high above in a helicopter, raft your way down the rapids of the Colorado or descend down a trail either on foot or on a mule.
Iconic imagery brought to life….
Many of the national parks have a distinguishing characteristic setting it apart from the others. For Yosemite National Park the many waterfalls are what draw millions of visitors to the park each year. The diverse landscape includes the mighty sequoia trees and famous rocks including Half Dome and El Capitan.
In addition to hiking, fishing and rock climbing, Yosemite has been a muse for many photographers. Take a workshop at the Ansel Adams Gallery at Yosemite for tips on capturing your treasured moments.
Soaring to new heights….
Home to some of the tallest trees in the world, the Redwood National and State Parks boasts trees that can grow 367 feet tall. Well maintained roads traverse the park giving visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in these old growth forests. Redwoods, coastal dwellers, are not to be confused with the giant sequoia trees, found in groves along the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
Some of the largest trees in the world by volume are concentrated in the Giant Forest, within the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, where visitors find The General Sherman tree, which boasts a trunk volume of 52,500 cubic feet and leaves visitors in awe. Whether by foot, car or snowshoe there are many ways to experience the grander of the sequoia groves.
Experience the volcanic wonders at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. Hikers enjoy the expansive trail systems where they can experience the hydrothermal features of the park including Bumpass Hell and Devils Kitchen.
Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State, is a recreational paradise offering guests hikes & trails, challenging mountain climbs and fishing. Observe many of the residents of the park including elk, deer, mountain goats and bear.
The Desert's Bounty….
Joshua Tree National Park in California was named for the unique spiky tree, that is actually a member of the Agave family. Shaped by wind and water, the park offers visitors the opportunity to observe more than 250 species of birds and dozens of mammals. Guests enjoy exploring the many trails, rock climbing, birding, and in the spring and early summer, wildflowers add a punch of color to the Mojave desert.
The Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ pays homage to the giant saguaro cacti found exclusively in a small area of the Southwest in the United States. The saguaro is just one of 25 species of cacti living in the park, but is the tallest averaging 40 - 60 ft. Saguaro National Park is carved into two districts, Rincon Mountain District and Tucson Mountain District. Ranger guided programs are available at both districts.
A glimpse into the past….
Formed by the last ice age, Glacier National Park in Montana, at one time boasted 150 glaciers that carved out the current landscape. The scenic Going to Sun Highway traverses the park where visitors can get a glimpse of the many parks residents including mountain goats, bear, moose and big horn sheep. Visitors enjoy exploring the many backcountry trails, fishing, enjoying a tour in the famous historic red bus or just relaxing and absorbing the beauty that is Glacier National Park.
A cradle for early life on earth, the South Dakota land that is now the Badlands National Park was once underwater, where even today, the land continues to reveal secrets from the past in the form of fossils. Visitors to the park can drive the Badlands highway, learn about the fossils at the Fossil Prep Lab, and catch a glimpse of the parks current residents including bison and big horn sheep. At the end of the day, exploration doesn’t end, the dark night sky allows park visitors a chance to view constellations, stars and planets at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater.
A story told in rock….
Hit the trails on foot or on bicycle and explore the many wonders of the Petrified Forest National Park located in Arizona. Fossils discovered here are over 2 million years old, before the Dinosaurs ruled the earth.
Visitors are drawn to the park for the beautiful “painted desert” landscape, and of course the petrified wood. Millions of years ago trees that once lined a river were buried under great pressures from volcanic ash and groundwater dissolved silica. Brought to the surface when the Colorado Plateau heaved up, these logs tell the story of the Earth's early years by the fossils and sediment contained in these beautiful quartz specimens.
Head deep underground to view the many beautiful formations found in the caves of the Carlsbad Cavern National Park located in New Mexico. With over 119 caves in the park, the Carlsbad Cavern is the most popular of the three caves open to the public.
There is plenty to see and explore on the many paths inside the cave, but if you are up for more adventure, the park service offers tours that will have you crawling and climbing your way into less traveled portions of the cave.
The adventure continues in the dusk and pre-dawn hours, where visitors gather to watch the bats exit and return to the cave.
Look up and discover....
Situated in Central Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park is a nature lover’s paradise with over 300 miles of hiking trails and the chance to view big game animals including elk, deer, and big horn sheep. As the highest park, experience the 4 ecosystems that transport you from the lower meadows and valleys up past the Alpine Tundra to land still being shaped by glaciers.
Experience early life at the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. This park is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States, featuring over 600 cliff dwellings that was once home to the Paleo- Indians.
The tallest sand dunes in America are found in Southern Colorado at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Here guests can enjoy the unique activity of sand boarding, along with the more traditional hiking trails, and sport fishing.
A study in ecology....
Located in South Carolina, Congaree National Park features an old growth bottomland hardwood forest. Explore the 25 miles of hiking trails, and a marked trail guides canoers and kayakers through Cedar Creek.
Located in Southern Florida, the Everglades National Park features one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere. The park is home to a variety of species including the endangered Florida Panther, American Crocodile, and Western Indian Manatee. Guests can hike, bike or boat their way through the park enjoying this ecological treasure.
Nicknamed the “American Spa” the thermal waters found in Hot Springs National Park have been regarded for their ability to soothe and heal. Bathhouse Row is the largest collection of bathhouses in North America and are a top attraction at the park.
The rocky shore....
The oldest park east of the Mississippi, the Arcadia National Park is located along the rugged coastline in Main near Bar Harbor. This diverse park offers activities for all interests. Explore the shoreline and the tide pools, or for a different perspective, hop on a cruise tour and learn the history while enjoying the scenery. Back on land, keep your eye out for moose, deer, and black bear that roam the park. Don’t forget to look up and spot the 300+ species of birds including the Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles. For unparalleled views, a trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain is a must. Head out early and enjoy the sunrise from this beautiful vantage point.
The jewels of Canada...
Banff National Park located in Alberta, offers visitors unparalled views of this mountains regions from the lakes to the glacier peaks. One of the many jewels of the park, Lake Louise sparkles with his emerald green glacier fed waters. Explore the park on foot, on a raft, or on skis. Keep an eye out for wildlife including cougar, elk, moose, bear, wolverine and bighorn sheep. View the many glaciers and ice fields along the Icefields Parkway, connecting Banff to Jasper National Park.
Located north of Banff, Jasper National Park shares the same rocky mountain landscape and wildlife population as its southern neighbor. The trail system is perfect for hiking and biking offering incredible views of the majestic mountains. Along the way be on the look-out for Red Chairs placed by the park, offering a chance to pause and enjoy the location. Miette Hot Springs is a popular attraction, where hot waters from deep in the earth are cooled by the mountain air for the perfect mineral spring experience.
Kootenay National Park is a popular stop when visiting the Canadian Rockies. No trip is complete without driving the scenic Banff-Windermere Highway. Along the way look for wildlife, hike to the Stanley Glacier or to the Redwall Fault. Radium Hot Springs is a popular destination in the park with its natural hot mineral springs.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island, is comprised of three distinct regions, offering unique experiences. The most popular region, Long Beach, features many hiking trails and is a favorite for surfers to catch a wave. Kayakers paddle their way around the islands that are part of the Broken Group Islands, and The West Coast Trail is a challenging 46-mile ancient route once used by First Nations.
From rainforests to mountain summits, experience it all at Mount Revelstoke National Park. Once the site of ski jumping hills, visitors can take in the views with a less dramatic way back down. In the winter months, snowshoers enjoy the accessible trails, and in the summer, drive the scenic Meadows in the Sky Parkway that leads to the summit of Mount Revelstoke.
A birders paradise.....
Bordered by Lake Erie, Point Pelee National Park in Ontario was formed during the last ice age, leaving a rich ecosystem behind. Point Pelee is a birders paradise, where annual migrations draw thousands of visitors and birds to the park. Test your observation skills and see if you can take on the 100 or 150 species challenge. Rent a kayak or canoe and get a new view of the marshland that makes up most of Point Pelee. As you paddle your way through the cattails, be on the lookout for beavers, muskrats and turtles. Hit the trails on foot or on a bike – be sure to look for the special camera mounts provided by the park where you can create panoramic photos.
Thousand Islands National Park in Ontario, consists of 21 islands making this a boaters paradise where you can kayak and canoe your way between the islands. Your water adventure at Thousand Islands continues with some of the best Scuba diving in Ontario. The rich waters support a diverse marine population, and some unfortunate boats may yield treasures at their final resting place. Mallorytown Landing offers picnic areas perfect for a small quiet bite or picnic shelters can be rented for larger family gatherings. Mallorytown Landing has become a popular launch spot for kitesurfers.