7/ Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
The park is the hottest one out of all U.S. national parks. It encompasses two volcanoes – Kilauea and Mauna Loa. The lava lake in Halema’uma’u Crater simmers on the Kilauea volcano and spits around the clock. Visitors can watch the spectacle from the safe distance of a visitor center. A few kilometers away, the Kilauea Iki Crater is much less dangerous. A hiking trail includes a walk through the bizarre landscape of the solidified lava.
6/ Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
One of the oldest national parks in the U.S., the park is home to the deepest lake in the country. The Crater Lake, the main attraction of the park, is 594 meters deep located in the crater of a destroyed volcano Mount Mazama. The lake has no streams flowing into or out of it and thus all water that enters the lake is lost through evaporation or subsurface seepage. The lake is re-filled only from direct precipitation in the form of snow and rain. All visitors are stunned by the striking blue hue of the water.
5/ Big Bend National Park, Texas
The Big Bend National Park located on the border with Mexico is a paradise for hikers. Those looking for a long trail through the Chihuahuan Desert stay in tents and at night enjoy the spectacular star gazing opportunities. There is no light pollution far and wide and as such the park was recently named the “International Dark Sky Park”. Despite the harsh desert environment, the park has more than 1200 species of plants (including 60 cactus species), over 600 species of vertebrates, and about 3600 insects. Most of the animals are not visible in the day, particularly in the desert and the Big Bend comes alive at night, with many of the animals foraging for food.
4/ Yosemite National Park, California
“Yosemi’te” called the Miwok Indians, the inhabitants of the wide valley: “Those who kill”. The indigenous people defended their paradise against the unwelcome intruders and thus named the park that is today on the list of World Heritage. Yosemite is world known for its spectacular granite cliffs, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost four million tourists come here every year to admire the roaring waterfalls and the rock giants Half Dome and El Capitan, but they have nothing to fear. The only danger in the park are the black bears that have become accustomed to the many visitors.
3/ Redwood National Park, California
The Redwood National Park is home to giants – the coast redwood or Sequoias are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species in the world. They can grow up to 110-meter-high and line the Pacific coast of this partially jungle-like park. Some of them are almost 2000 years old and create a living space for lots of flora and fauna.
2/ Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Explored by 4.7 million visitors a year the Grand Canyon is the most striking gorge on the earth. The colored layers of rock, exposed by the Colorado River, are breathtakingly beautiful and as such the national park was named a UNESCO world heritage site. The numerous viewpoints on the southern canyon rim (South Rim) are all accessible by car. Adrenaline lovers who seek a particularly wild experience, explore the canyon on a rafting tour.
1/ Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The oldest of the national parks in the United States it is also the most colorful place in the North America. The red, green and blue algae that grow in the hot ponds of the national park, look like giant color palettes. The yellow canyon walls often remind the visitors of fondue cheese, while the stunning terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs shine through the boiling water. Erupting every 35 to 120 minutes the “Old Faithful” Geyser shoots up to 56-meter-high fountains of hot water and as such is a must see attractions of the Yellowstone park.
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