National Parks to Explore, Part 2

I didn’t intend to write a two-part article about America’s national parks, but as I began writing the first draft, I realized there was so much to be said about each park that I couldn’t cram it all into just one article. These places are so beautiful and praise-worthy that giving them only a couple sentences each didn’t do them justice. Featured here is the second half of my favorite national parks, and hopefully as I travel more, there will be more additions to this series.

 

1. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park boasts over 2,000 natural stone arches, formed by erosion from wind, water and sand. The park covers so much ground that it’s almost impossible to see everything the park has to offer. Since the park is essentially in a desert and provides very little shade, it’s often advised to go out early in the morning or in the evening, which, if you get your timing right, allows you to see sunrise and sunset over the arches, a spectacular sight. Also, at night, visitors can watch the starry skies span over the arches. Though people are prohibited from climbing on some of the more delicate arches, there are many structures that you can maneuver your way up to impressive heights. There’s definitely a lot of exploring to be done at Arches National Park.

 

2. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park can have a very mysterious, wonderous feeling about it. The park is often misty due to the rainfall and altitude, and tall, dark pine trees surround the trails. When the weather is clear, however, the mountains and valleys are lush and vibrant with green grass and wildflowers. Either way, the hiking is incredible. Since the park is situated in a mountainous region, there are waterfalls around a great majority of the park. Hiking a trail to a waterfall provides a great experience; you enjoy the scenery along the trail, hearing the water the entire way, and then suddenly, you turn a corner to face the waterfall cascading down the mountain. Aside from waterfalls, there are lakes, streams and meadows to hike around, too. Mount Rainier never disappoints with all the views it has to offer.

 

3. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee

This park hits close to home in Tennessee, but I had actually never been until 2018 when we took a spring break trip to Gatlinburg. The mountains of Appalachia are so different from any others that I’d experienced. Here, the mountains are covered in deciduous trees, so when we went in early March, the trees were barren. Also, these mountains are more habitable and have cozy cabins dotting the mountainside. Visiting Gatlinburg is a lot of fun; there’s great tourist shops, restaurants and fun activities. I’d like to return in autumn and summer to see my home-state’s national park in all seasons, and I would really encourage all UTM students to visit this park since it’s not too far from home.

 

This article wraps up my national park travel writing for now, but I plan on sharing my future travels as they come along. As I’ve said before, there’s no way I could pick a favorite national park (hence the reason I’ve talked about six), and I believe each park is worth visiting because they really can’t be compared. I already have three more parks I plan to visit soon, and hopefully, some of you readers do too!