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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.


I'll second Kurt's opinion. Yellowstone is just awesome. A park that you could visit over and over without seeing all of the beauty and hidden spots.
As a runner up I'll choose Death Valley. Huge, varied and hot!

My all-time favorites would have to be Zion, Olympic, and Yosemite. Although not quite as grand, several Washington DC area national parks are also on that list including Rock Creek Park; Fort Washington Park; and last but not least, Shenandoah. Oh, and the National Mall can be kinda cool, too :)

I'll third Kurt's opinion. Definitely Yellowstone. I didn't know much about it before I worked there during the summer of 2006, but I fell in love with the area for all the reasons mentioned thus far.

My family and I love going to Mt Rainier. Not just because it is fairly close to us but because when it is 100+ degrees here in the Columbia Basin, we can drive to Mt Rainier and find a small patch of snow to cool off. We take in the breath taking views, enjoy the wild flowers, feel the mist from one of the many waterfalls and relax in the peacefulness among the tall trees. It is a real stress reducer and you leave the park feeling better than you did when you arrived.

Glacier National Park is pretty amazing, it has all the right features (at least in high-summer). The Blue Ridge Parkway too is special. This place is an endless adventure, Moses Cone, Peaks of Otter, Linville Falls (filmed last of the Mohicans there), and my favorite campground Otter Creek(it has a restaurant in the campground). The upper stretches of the C and O Canal near Paw Paw is also very special, oh yes, Wolf Trap National Park for the performing arts at the cedar-paneled Filene Center with a picnic dinner is hard to beat, Oh wait, Olympic National Park during a rainstorm with rain pounding on the roof of a hideaway lodge. Shenandoah during the Fall, with a black bear roaming across the yellow and crimson trail is special, or the traveling on the Alaska Railroad in an open vestibule over Hurrican Gulch, less than twenty miles from Mount Mckinley(Denali), on a clear day on the periphery of many good many yet to see (I have not seen the Grand Canyon or Yosemite!)

Ben Lord

Acadia is by far my favorite national park:
I visit every year, hike the Dorr Mtn. trail, enjoy a bar-b-que at Seawall, and a beer at McKay's Public House. Ah, heaven.

I haven't been to Yellowstone in a while, but I think right now I'd have to say Big Bend. It was a rather magical experience being able to look (walk, if you care to violate federal law) across the river to another country, I thought. When we first arrived we'd driven basically 25 hours straight, and as we came up, I thought, "this is it?" But it grew on me very quickly with all there is to see, do and experience there. I hear there is some even neater stuff on the other side of the river!

Most of the National Parks Iv seen was when I was a kid and each one I visited became my new favorite. Now that Im all grown up, ah, well, at least a lot older, and live in New England, Acadia is my pick. I live in MA, but the entire coast of Maine is spectacular. If you havent been to Acadia give it a shot, you will be glad you did. Here is hoping they go forward and create the Maine North Woods National Park.

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