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Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?


The Firehole River in the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park near sundown. Kurt Repanshek photo.

Everybody has favorites. We have favorite colors, favorite ice creams, even favorite uncles and aunts. And no doubt we all have favorite national parks.

My favorite park would have to be Yellowstone National Park. It's a wild place, it has great backcountry trails for exploring, great lakes for paddling, the incredible thermal basins, and more wildlife than most parks. A close second probably would be Acadia National Park, both because of its setting and because it was the first national park I ever visited.

But what's your favorite national park? Tell us which one, and a little bit about why.


Glacier National Park for it amazing views and wildlife.

Grand Teton for the same reasons as well as having a little more solitude compared to it's northern neighbor...Yellowstone

Lassen Volcanic National Park for its splendor, views, awesome hikes through the devastated area with forest, lava beds, baby cinder cones, stinky sulfur works, small alpine lakes, Manzanita Campground, Kings Meadow...etc...etc...etc.

Mesa Verde National Park for the education that we received about the native civilizations on the Colorado Plateau and the impetus that was created to explore a lot of the other cultural remnants of the Ancient Puebloans

There are 58 National Parks and I hope someday to visit all of them. So far I've visited 29, so I'm half way.

I obviously cannot speak to the 29 that I haven't been to, but of the ones I've visited, my favorite is Isle Royale. It is wilderness personified and I am deeply moved when I am there. I love bacpacking from one end to the other. Each of you should try it. Thank you.

I feel that every National Park that I have visited is special in it's own way and for the memories I made there. I've visited Glacier, where I saw a Big Horned Sheep and hiked on snow in July. I've visited Yellowstone, where I got to see and capture on film a coyote running with prey in its mouth. I've been to Denali, where I got to see Mt. Denali for 3 days and saw a pack of wolves! Last summer I visited Zion, where the scenery took my breath away. I also visited Bryce, where I saw amazing land formations. I went to the Grand Canyon (North and South Rim). While staying on the North Rim, in a rim cabin, I got to watch a thunderstorm happening on the South Rim. Also there, I got to get pictures of an amazing sunset with a storm rolling in. My first experience with the South Rim was a coyote posing on the side of the road. I also visted Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and was utterly fascinated. I highly recommend a visit to this National Monument. Though, I do have to admit that Glacier does hold a special place in my heart because up until that trip I had never crossed the Mississippi River, and I live on the east coast.

For the best wildflowers, backcountry skiing and exhilarating recreation - Mount Rainier

For astonishing biological wholeness & variety - Olympic

All time favorite because of the grandeur, mystery, and challenge of backcountry travel - Grand Canyon
Walk beneath the rims into the Smithsonian Museum of field geology and wonder... Oh, I forgot the solitude!
One has to get pretty far from the Bright Angel corridor, but it's the only place in all my many wanderings I've repeatedly backpacked for two weeks without encountering another soul.

Yosemite because it makes me happy.

1. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (why? It's self evident.)
2. Badlands National Park
3. Capitol Reef National Park
4. Glacier National Park
5. Mt. Rainier National Park
6. Olympic National Park
7. Arches National Park
8. Canyonlands National Park
9. North Cascades National Park
10. Bryce Canyon National Park

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

This question is tormenting me, because each park I've been lucky enough to visit is so unique and magical. If I absolutely had to pick one, I'd go with Olympic because it's like visiting three parks in one. We caught it on an absolutely beautiful clear day -- Hurricane Ridge looked like something out of the Sound of Music. A short distance away is another world at Rialto Beach, where the forest meets the ocean. Not far south of that is the Hoh Rainforest, an absolute wonderland where everything is dripping with green. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

This is a tough one. So many great parks to choose from. However, if I have to narrow it down a single one I guess it would have to be Katmai. It has a dynamic mixture of active volcanism, terrific fishing, great wildlife viewing, opportunities for water travel, expanses of true wilderness, world class hiking, comfortable lodge and campground accommodations, etc., etc.

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