Each year, millions of Americans make their way to one of 59 designated National Parks. Even though most people visit to camp, hike, or enjoy the wildlife, there are a few sections of each park that are best seen by car. Here are five of our favorite routes to check out this summer.
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
America’s first National Park and home of Old Faithful, Yellowstone boasts the largest collection of geysers in the world. Traveling Yellowstone by car allows you to make the most of your trip. 142 miles in total, the ‘Grand Loop’ winds through the park and can take you to some of the most popular spots. You can enter the Grand Loop via five accessible entry points found throughout the park. Be sure to keep a camera ready, as wildlife roams freely. Just make sure it doesn’t distract you from the bikers who also share the same road.
For more information about the Grand Loop, click HERE
Glacier National Park (Montana)
With over 700 miles in trails, Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise. In addition to hitting the trail, you can see some of the most iconic features of the park from the comfort of your car. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile excursion that cuts through the wild interior of the park, offers drivers stunning views of northwest Montana. Be sure to visit during the summer, as the full 50 miles are only accessible through September 20th.
For more information about the Going-to-the-Sun Road, click HERE
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Located along the rugged coast of Maine, Acadia has been leaving visitors in awe since before it became a national park in 1919. The park is known for its biodiversity and claims the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Coast, Cadillac Mountain. Drivers will be in for a treat when they discover Park Loop Road, a scenic 27-mile journey that begins at the visitor center and gives you access to some of the park’s best attractions like Sand Beach, Jordan Pond and, of course, Cadillac Mountain. Park Loop Road is open most of the year but is closed between the months of December and April.
For more information about Park Loop Road, click HERE
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, this park is a must-see for history buffs and hikers alike. The park is one of the key areas through which Confederate forces marched during the Civil War, and encompasses 200,000 acres of wilderness. Skyline Drive is a 105-mile national scenic byway and the only public road through the park. Drivers can take in the stunning views at 75 different scenic overlooks. But, be sure that your vehicle is under 12’8” so that you can clear Mary’s Rock Tunnel just south of the Thornton Gap Entrance.
For more information about Skyline Drive, click HERE
Yosemite National Park (California)
President Theodore Roosevelt compared this park to a natural cathedral, and many consider the park’s granite cliffs and waterfalls to be the crown jewel in the National Park system. Yosemite land was first protected under Abraham Lincoln and became an official National Park in 1890. Free shuttle service is available, from which you can see some of the park’s main attractions. But to see further reaches of the park, check out Tioga Road, a 39-mile scenic drive from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass. Along the way you’ll pass through the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, White Wolf, and Olmsted Point, from which you can see Half Dome and Clouds Rest. The road is usually open May or early June through November.
For more information about Tioga Road, click HERE
Most people have a favorite national park. Which would you visit and why?