National Parks – A 59 Point Bucket List

National Parks – A 59 Point Bucket List

There are 59 formal National Parks and a whopping 418 National Park Sites which include battlefields, forests, preserves and more. While I have been to a number of sites, the total is so overwhelming that I need to focus on the Big 59. Even then, seeing this list seems overwhelming. There are just so many that I haven’t even dreamed of. Have you gotten to all 59 National Parks, yet? How did you do it? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Alaska

I have big dreams for Alaska, but unfortunately this state is nowhere near my immediate future.

  1. Denali National Park and Preserve
  2. Gates of the Arctic National Park
  3. Glacier Bay National Park
  4. Katmai National Park and Preserve
  5. Kenai Fjords National Park
  6. Kobuk Valley National Park
  7. Lake Clark National Park

American Samoa

Wake me up when I get to Australia, first.

  1. National Park of American Samoa

Arizona

  1. Grand Canyon National Park  ✓
    Truly breathtaking. When you stand on the edge of it, all the noise dissipates into the canyon.

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  1. Petrified Forest National Park ✓
    Once I walked through some of the petrified wood sites, I wondered if it was all a tourist trap.
 

Well, can you tell I discovered #Lightroom yet?

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  1. Saguaro National Park ✓ – Read About It
    This park was nice to see. The quintessential Arizona, really.

Arkansas

  1. Hot Springs National Park

California

Queue California Dreamin’…

  1. Channel Islands National Park
  2. Death Valley National Park
  3. Joshua Tree National Park
  4. Kings Canyon National Park
  5. Lassen Volcanic National Park
  6. Redwood National Park
  7. Sequoia National Park
  8. Yosemite National Park

Colorado

  1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  2. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
  3. Mesa Verde National Park
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park ✓  – Read About It
    One of my favorite National Parks, of course. I cried when I drove over the ridge to Estes Park. That’s all I have to say here.
 

If mother nature’s gonna keep raining on my parade I’m just gonna keep dreaming about the next time I get to be here.

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Florida

  1. Biscayne National Park
  2. Dry Tortugas National Park
  3. Everglades National Park ✓
    I ain’t lyin’ when I say there are ‘gators everywhere… This image is from Big Cypress National Preserve, right before the National Parks entrance. We were traveling some back road to get there. To be clear, think “River Monsters.”

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Hawaii

Call me on my honeymoon…

  1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  2. Haleakalā National Park

Kentucky

  1. Mammoth Cave National Park

Maine

  1. Acadia National Park 
    2017 TO DO! Acadia is on my immediate to-do list. Also, I have family in New England. Therefore, this fall, I am going to get there.

Michigan

  1. Isle Royale National Park

Minnesota

  1. Voyageurs National Park

Montana

  1. Glacier National Park

Nevada

  1. Great Basin National Park

New Mexico

  1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

North Carolina

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North Dakota

  1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Ohio

  1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
    2017 TO DO! Of course, park is roughly 3 hours from me. To be quite honest, I judged Ohio for not having a thing, especially not National Parks.

Oregon

Shouldn’t this whole entire state be a National Park?

  1. Crater Lake National Park

South Carolina

  1. Congaree National Park

South Dakota

  1. Badlands National Park
  2. Wind Cave National Park

Tennessee

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Texas

  1. Big Bend National Park
  2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

United States Virgin Islands

  1. Virgin Islands National Park

Utah

  1. Arches National Park
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park
  3. Canyonlands National Park
  4. Capitol Reef National Park
  5. Zion National Park

Virginia

  1. Shenandoah National Park ✓

Washington

  1. Mount Rainier National Park
  2. North Cascades National Park
  3. Olympic National Park

Wyoming

  1. Grand Teton National Park
  2. Yellowstone National Park

Pretty Views in You Don’t Have To Hike To Near Ohiopyle

Waterfalls and scenic views in Western PA are plenty, but if you want to get away from the city, many of these destinations require some hiking and even trailblazing to find. Let’s face it; sometimes, you’re just feeling lazy but need some inspiration for your Instagram account, or Grandma is in town and you want to show around. You know a trip to the Laurel Highlands is in store! Plus – add 10 brownie points if the visit is in October because of the spectacular reds, golds and oranges of Pennsylvania’s foliage.

THE SUMMIT OVERLOOK | Route 40 East, Hopwood

Take in the ultimate in scenic viewing without really moving. Drive on up “the mountain” and pull off to the right at the Scenic View signage. Roll down the window, take in the sunset ahead and listen to the semi-trucks behind. 

 

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Other Ways To See It: Find this view again without much effort at Laurel Caverns. Or, if a hike is on your mind, pull off the road sooner at Lick Hollow and hike Pine Knob Trail 2 miles uphill. 

OHIOPYLE FALLS | Ohiopyle State Park
  1. Park 2. Walk 3. See. This PA state park gem is in the bag for “Best Day Ever,” especially if you likes ice cream from nearby Falls Market. Even better, relax with a craft beer from Falls City Pub around the corner.
 

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Other Ways to See It: Use the easy Ferncliff Trails to hike around the peninsula and end up on the other side of the falls. The end of this hike will take you alongside the river and winds through river rocks and the water pools.

Cucumber Falls | Ohiopyle State Park

This is a FAN FAVORITE. I repeat, this is a fan favorite. A beautiful waterfall that is easy to access, but plan this view accordingly: you will encounter major crowds in the summer or icy steps in the winter (falling on your ass is worth it).

 

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Baughman Rock | Ohiopyle State Park

This view is also an Ohiopyle fan favorite but no one will be standing in front of yout spectacular view! Think “Pennsylvania gorge,” but not quite “Grand Canyon” and make note to come back to this spot in autumn, too.

Other Ways To See It: As with most mountain views, hike up. Parking – take a right past Falls Market in Ohiopyle there will be a lot alongside the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. Baughman trail is marked at the end of the lot. Go straight once you enter the trailhead. Taking a right will take you on another path.

Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob | Mill Run & Chalkhill, PA

Last but certainly not least in this area, these two homes were designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Fallingwater is the most popular, with the gorgeous house built over a waterfall, but Kentuck has views of the Laurel Highlands countryside and a river gorge (which the original owners covered up with trees) that is quite fantastic.

Other scenes nearby

At 3,200 feet, Mount Davis the highest mountain in Pennsylvania, and a lookout tower allows you to climb even higher. Other options allow you to head further southeast past Ohiopyle to Swallow Falls in Maryland or about an hour into West Virginia to Blackwater Falls. Both have scenic vistas and falls you can get to easily, or hike around if you prefer. Want more? Check out the UncoveringPA Blog for more scenic views across the state of Pennsylvania that you don’t have to hike to.