As your humble neighbor from Canada, it is my pleasure to share my understanding of the U.S. national parks through an international lens, and also my expertise of the Canadian national parks system. There are so many different perspectives on the parks here in Canada, but one thing is for sure: Canada hosts some of the most pristine landscapes in the western hemisphere.
Whether you’re seeking solace and solitude, space for healing and reflection, or just a little “leg room” after months of social distancing, the parks are ready to welcome us back with open arms. Thankfully, the Midwest national parks offer all of us an opportunity to find some comfort and quiet space to continue the conversations we’re only just beginning.
If you’ve ever researched visiting Denali National Park, you’ve probably noticed one thing immediately: you can’t drive on the single unpaved Denali Park Road. In order to reduce emissions, limit traffic congestion, and protect park resources and wildlife, Denali National Park began a bus system for travelers in 1972. Due to concern from nostalgic visitors who wished to drive the road, the park began its annual Road Lottery event in 1990, when 400 cars are given permits to drive the entire 92-mile Park Road.
Getting off the roads in national parks gives visitors more intimate experiences, and what better way to get away from cars than lacing up the hiking shoes to saunter on trails? These shorter trails showcase some of the unique features of parks in the Rocky Mountains.
The Intermountain Region is home to a staggering 20 national parks. These lands, once belonging to indigenous people, all yield a different experience. From the Canadian border to the Mexican border, these parks invite exploration.
The Midwest Region spans 11 different states and 57 of the more than 400 different units in the NPS. Of those 57 units, nine have the official national park designation. Among these, you’ll find one of our newest, one of our oldest, and one of the least visited national parks in the National Park Service.
Spanning six states and two U.S. territories, the Pacific West region houses some of the most beautiful National Park Service sites in this country. Totaling 63 NPS sites from all NPS designations, including more than a quarter of the major national parks, the region has so many parks, and so many places to add to your bucket list!
If you are looking to get your national parks passport stamped, Washington, D.C. and its surrounding areas should be your first stop! Beyond the stamps, this part of the country offers so much to see and experience.
The variety you will find in the Southeast is tremendous. From tropical paradise in the Virgin Islands to the oldest city in country to the gentle mountains of the Appalachians, there’s a lot to see and explore.
Alaska is big, wild, and powerful. The state boasts some of the most beautiful and remote national parks in the country, each with its own unique characteristics. I’ve lived in Alaska on-and-off for seven years, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you.