America’s National Parks – Ranked Best to Worst

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Kenai Fjords National Park

Most articles ranking America’s National Parks are based on other people’s impressions and not necessarily from the experience of the author. That’s because it’s quite the feat to travel to every single national park in one consecutive trip, AND manage to document one’s impressions along the way. That’s where we come in!

In 2017, my husband and I road tripped to al the US national parks. It took us 7 months, 25,000+ miles of driving (see our route), 26 flights, and countless trails hiked. Along the way, we passed through 39 US States, 2 US Territories, and drove some of the most beautiful roads in the country. So if you’re looking for first-hand details then you’ve come to the right place!

Update – four new national parks have been added since our road trip, namely Gateway Arch, Indiana Sand Dunes, White Sands, and New River Gorge National Parks. We will update this blog post once we get a chance to visit, but for now, this is just based on the 59 national parks that were designated as of 2017.

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Van Alabama Hills

America’s National Parks – Ranked Best to Worst

My husband and I ranked all the national parks on numerous factors, including their beauty, trails, accessibility, transport, crowds, facilities, how photogenic they were, etc. Here is a breakdown of the categories:

  • Facilities – proximity to lodging, variety of lodging types and affordability, food availability, bathrooms, visitor centers, showers, etc.
  • Trails – the actual park trails, as well as other opportunities for adventure such as snorkeling, rafting, diving, boating etc.
  • Scenery – overall beauty of the park, including landscapes, wildlife, and buildings.
  • Photogenic – how easy the park was to photograph and how well it translated into images
  • Crowds/Transport – how busy the park was and overall how easy it was to get there and transport yourself around (e.g. ability to self drive versus having to take park buses etc.)

Note – some of the park’s had the same score so in those situations we ordered them alphabetically.

Remember, this is an overall ranking, with some parks scoring lower due to things like the extreme methods visitors must take to access them, or often due to large crowds dampening the overall experience of a beautiful park. 

I also put together a checklist of all the national parks, so you can mark each off as you visit them! It’s free to download via my travel resource library! Click the image below.

National Park Checklist Free Printable Download - Renee Roaming

10 Highest Ranked National Parks

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Grand Teton National Park

1. Grand Teton National Park

Location: Wyoming

Score = 45/50

  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 10/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

You just can’t beat the Tetons… This was our 5th visit to the park and it won’t be our last. So why did Grand Teton National Park score so highly? Simple – it’s is insanely beautiful, easy to access and get around, has great hikes, camping opportunities, nearby accommodation and restaurants, and the crowds are manageable even in the peak of summer. Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Kenai Fjords National Park

2. Kenai Fjords National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 44.5/50

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 9.5/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 9/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

Kenai Fjords was our highest ranked Alaskan park and our second highest overall. Why? For it’s sheer beauty, accessibility, incredible wildlife, amazing hikes, and ample photography opportunities. We can’t wait to return this summer! Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Wrangell St Elias National Park

3. Wrangell St. Elias National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 44/50

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 9/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

I’m itching to get back and explore the backcountry of Wrangell St. Elias National Park… I feel like we just scratched the surface! The Wrangell Mountains are out of this world beautiful! Plus, you can drive to the park in only 4-5 hours from Anchorage (or around 8 hours from Anchorage to Kennicott) with the option for also flying there. Once in the park visitors can access accommodations and restaurants (McCarthy/Kennicott) and the crowds are minimal even in the height of summer.

RELATED: 15 Least Crowded National Parks


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Denali National Park

4. Denali National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 43/50 (equal with Mount Rainier)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 10/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

Everything is on another scale in Denali – the bears, mountains, roads, rivers, valleys… (list could go on). The park is also home to America’s largest peak, Denali at a crazy 20,310 feet. We  had an incredible time exploring the park, despite the weather being a little fickle.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Mount Rainier National Park

5. Mount Rainier National Park

Location: Washington

Score = 43/50 (equal with Denali)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 10/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

Mount Rainier will always be one of our favorite parks and we were stoked it made the top 5 of this list. Large crowds in summer were the main reason it didn’t score even higher, but we think it’s worth the visit regardless. Some places just need to be seen to be believed! Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Yosemite National Park

6. Yosemite National Park

Location: California

Score = 42.5/50

  • Facilities: 9.5/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 10/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 3/10

It’s not surprising that Yosemite was one of America’s first recognized national parks. Its incredible beauty, opportunities for adventure and easy to access nature really do make it a park for everyone. Similar to Mount Rainier, Yosemite would have scored higher if the crowds weren’t so large. Our recommendation is to visit some of the less-visited areas and try to go during off-peak months. Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Glacier Bay National Park

7. Glacier Bay National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 42/50

  • Facilities: 6.5/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 9.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

We were not expecting Glacier Bay to make the top 10! Why? We visited on a cruise ship in 2012 and despite enjoying the experience we weren’t absolutely awe struck. This time was completely different. We were in the area for multiple days, which allowed for adventures on the land and sea. We got closer up to the glaciers, saw more wildlife and hiked some gorgeous forest trails. We plan to return for a backcountry kayaking trip someday in the (hopefully) near future!


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Glacier National Park

8. Glacier National Park

Location: Montana

Score = 41.5/50 

  • Facilities: 8.5/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 9.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 3.5/10

Oh Glacier, you continue to steal our hearts over and over again. This was our third visit to the park and it definitely won’t be our last. Glacier offers insanely beautiful scenery, ample wildlife, and epic hiking opportunities. Plus, the views along the Going-to-the-Sun Road are really something else…


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Katmai National Park

9. Katmai National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 41/50 (equal with Lake Clark)

  • Facilities: 6/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 10/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

Katmai National Park is one of the few places in the world that allows such an up close experience with wild bears. At Brooks Falls there are raised viewing platforms that visitors can “safely” observe bears fishing for salmon. It was quite the experience and one we hope to have again! Check out our trip report.

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated National Parks in America


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Lake Clark National Park

10. Lake Clark National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 41/50 (equal with Katmai)

  • Facilities: 6/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 10/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

We LOVED Lake Clark National Park. The main reason it didn’t score in the top 5 is because of the Park’s remote nature, lack of facilities, and expensive transportation (floatplanes). I wrote a blog post on our experience staying on Upper Twin Lake.

RELATED: 15 Least Crowded National Parks



Middle Ranked National Parks

Some of our favorites are in this bunch, like Bryce Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Zion, Big Bend, North Cascades, Redwood, Gates of the Arctic, and Virgin Islands. Our rating system meant that many of the crowded or hard to access parks scored lower despite some incredible scenery. We wanted to provide a score based on our overall experience, not just how beautiful each park was.

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Olympic National Park

11. Olympic National Park

Location: Washington

Score = 40.5/50

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Photogenic: 8/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Bryce National Park

12. Bryce Canyon National Park

Location: Utah

Score = 40/50 (equal with Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Kings Canyon)

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Photogenic: 8.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

13. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Location: Tennessee and North Carolina

Score = 40/50 (equal with Rocky Mountain, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Kings Canyon)

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Photogenic: 9/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 5/10

Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Kings Canyon National Park

14. Kings Canyon National Park

Location: California

Score = 40/50 (equal with Rocky Mountain, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 8.5/10
  • Scenery: 8.5/10
  • Photogenic: 8/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Rocky Mountain National Park

15. Rocky Mountain National Park

Location: Colorado

Score = 40/50 (equal with Kings Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains)

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Photogenic: 8.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 5.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Yellowstone National Park

16. Yellowstone National Park

Location: Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

Score = 40/50 (equal with Rocky Mountain, Bryce Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Kings Canyon)

  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 9.5/10
  • Photogenic: 9/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 3.5/10

Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Death Valley National Park

17. Death Valley National Park

Location: California

Score = 39.5/50

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 8.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8.5/10

Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Grand Canyon National Park

18. Grand Canyon National Park

Location: Arizona

Score = 39/50 (equal with Zion)

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 8/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 8/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Zion National Park

19. Zion National Park

Location: Utah

Score = 39/50 (equal with Grand Canyon)

  • Facilities: 8.5/10
  • Trails: 10/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Photogenic: 9/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 2.5/10

Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Big Bend National Park

20. Big Bend National Park

Location: Texas

Score = 38.5/50 (equal with North Cascades, Redwood)

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 7.5/10
  • Photogenic: 7.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 9/10

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated National Parks in America


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - North Cascades National Park

21. North Cascades National Park

Location: Washington

Score = 38.5/50 (equal with Big Bend, Redwood)

  • Facilities: 5/10
  • Trails: 9/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Photogenic: 8.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Redwood National and State Parks

22. Redwood State & National Parks

Location: California

Score = 38.5/50 (equal with Big Bend, North Cascades)

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 7.5/10
  • Scenery: 8.5/10
  • Photogenic: 8/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

photography mini guide Renee Roaming
America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Arches National Park

23. Arches National Park

Location: Utah

Score = 38/50 (equal with Crater Lake)

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 7.5/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 8/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6.5/10

AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS – ALL 59 RANKED BEST TO WORST - CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

24. Crater Lake National Park

Location: Oregon

Score = 38/50 (equal with Arches)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 8.5/10
  • Photogenic: 8.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Acadia National Park

25. Acadia National Park

Location: Maine

Score = 37.5/50 (equal with Great Basin, Shenandoah, Virgin Islands)

  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Trails: 6.5/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 7/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

READ NEXT: Best National Parks to Visit in October


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Great Basin National Park

26. Great Basin National Park

Location: Nevada

Score = 37.5/50 (equal with Acadia, Shenandoah, Virgin Islands)

  • Facilities: 6.5/10
  • Trails: 7.5/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 7/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Shenandoah National Park

27. Shenandoah National Park

Location: Virginia

Score = 37.5/50 (equal with Acadia, Great Basin, Virgin Islands)

  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Trails: 8/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 6.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Virgin Islands National Park

28. Virgin Islands National Park

Location: St. John, US Virgin Islands

Score = 37.5/50 (equal with Acadia, Shenandoah, Virgin Islands)

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 7.5/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 7.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

29. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Location: Hawaii

Score = 37/50 (equal with Lassen Volcanic)

  • Facilities: 7.5/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 7.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Lassen Volcano National Park

30. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Location: California

Score = 37/50 (equal with Hawai’i Volcanoes)

  • Facilities: 5/10
  • Trails: 8/10
  • Scenery: 8.5/10
  • Photogenic: 7.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Joshua Tree National Park

31. Joshua Tree National Park

Location: California

Score = 36/50

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 7/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Haleakala National Park

32. Haleakalā National Park

Location: Hawaii

Score = 35/50

  • Facilities: 5.5/10
  • Trails: 8/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 8/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 5.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Canyonlands National Park

33. Canyonlands National Park

Location: Utah

Score = 34.5/50 (equal with Sequoia)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 6/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 6.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Sequoia National Park

34. Sequoia National Park

Location: California

Score = 34.5/50 (equal with Canyonlands)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 8/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 5.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Badlands National Park

35. Great Sand Dunes National Park

Location: Colorado

Score = 34/50

  • Facilities: 4/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 7/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 9/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Badlands National Park

36. Badlands National Park

Location: South Dakota

Score = 33.5/50

  • Facilities: 6.5/10
  • Trails: 4/10
  • Scenery: 7.5/10
  • Photogenic: 7.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Isle Royale National Park

37. Isle Royale National Park

Location: Michigan

Score = 33/50 (equal with American Samoa, Saguaro)

  • Facilities: 6/10
  • Trails: 7.5/10
  • Scenery: 6.5/10
  • Photogenic: 6/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - American Samoa National Park

38. National Park of American Samoa

Location: American Samoa

Score = 33/50 (equal with Isle Royale, Saguaro)

  • Facilities: 3/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 7/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Saguaro National Park

39. Saguaro National Park

Location: Arizona

Score = 33/50 (equal with Isle Royale, American Samoa)

  • Facilities: 8.5/10
  • Trails: 6/10
  • Scenery: 5/10
  • Photogenic: 6/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7.5/10

AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS – ALL 59 RANKED BEST TO WORST - CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK

40. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Location: New Mexico

Score = 32.5/50 (equal with Mesa Verde)

  • Facilities: 4.5/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 7.5/10
  • Photogenic: 6/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Mesa Verde National Park

41. Mesa Verde National Park

Location: Colorado

Score = 32.5/50 (equal with Carlsbad Caverns)

  • Facilities: 6.5/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 5/10
  • Photogenic: 5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 9/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Capitol Reef National Park

42. Capitol Reef National Park

Location: Utah

Score = 32/50 (equal with Gates of the Arctic, Mammoth Cave)

  • Facilities: 5/10
  • Trails: 5/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 6.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Gates of the Arctic National Park

43. Gates of the Arctic National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 32/50 (equal with Capitol Reef, Mammoth Cave)

  • Facilities: 0/10
  • Trails: 8/10
  • Scenery: 10/10
  • Photogenic: 9/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 5/10

Check out our park guide here.


America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Mammoth Cave National Park

44. Mammoth Cave National Park

Location: Kentucky

Score = 32/50 (equal with Gates of the Arctic, Capitol Reef)

  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Trails: 6.5/10
  • Scenery: 6.5/10
  • Photogenic: 5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Hot Springs National Park

45. Hot Springs National Park

Location: Arkansas

Score = 31.5/50 (equal with Petrified Forest)

  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Trails: 6/10
  • Scenery: 5/10
  • Photogenic: 3/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Petrified Forest National Park

46. Petrified Forest National Park

Location: Arizona

Score = 31.5/50 (equal with Hot Springs)

  • Facilities: 6/10
  • Trails: 6/10
  • Scenery: 5/10
  • Photogenic: 5.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 9/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Everglades National Park

47. Everglades National Park

Location: Florida

Score = 31/50 (equal with Theodore Roosevelt)

  • Facilities: 6/10
  • Trails: 6/10
  • Scenery: 6/10
  • Photogenic: 6/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Theodore Roosevelt National Park

48. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Location: North Dakota

Score = 31/50 (equal with Everglades)

  • Facilities: 5/10
  • Trails: 5/10
  • Scenery: 6.5/10
  • Photogenic: 6/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8.5/10

10 Lowest Ranked National Parks

We still enjoyed our time at these parks but felt the overall experience wasn’t as good as the higher-scoring parks. Please don’t be put off visiting any of the places below – they were still 100% worth seeing.

AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS – ALL 59 RANKED BEST TO WORST - BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK

49. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Location: Colorado

Score = 30/50 (equal with Guadalupe Mountains)

  • Facilities: 6/10
  • Trails: 5.5/10
  • Scenery: 6/10
  • Photogenic: 3.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 9/10

15 Least Crowded National Parks in the US - Guadalupe Mountains National Park - Renee Roaming

50. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Location: Texas

Score = 30/50 (equal with Black Canyon of the Gunnison)

  • Facilities: 4/10
  • Trails: 6.5/10
  • Scenery: 5.5/10
  • Photogenic: 5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 9/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Dry Tortugas National Park

51. Dry Tortugas National Park

Location: Florida

Score = 28.5/50 (equal with Wind Cave, Voyageurs)

  • Facilities: 3/10
  • Trails: 6/10
  • Scenery: 7/10
  • Photogenic: 5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Voyageurs National Park

52. Voyageurs National Park

Location: Minnesota

Score = 28.5/50 (equal with Wind Cave, Dry Tortugas)

  • Facilities: 6.5/10
  • Trails: 5/10
  • Scenery: 5.5/10
  • Photogenic: 4/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Wind Cave National Park

53. Wind Cave National Park

Location: South Dakota

Score = 28.5/50 (equal with Voyageurs, Dry Tortugas)

  • Facilities: 4/10
  • Trails: 5.5/10
  • Scenery: 6/10
  • Photogenic: 4.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Cuyahoga National Park

54. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Location: Ohio

Score = 27.5/50

  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Trails: 5/10
  • Scenery: 4.5/10
  • Photogenic: 4/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS – ALL 59 RANKED BEST TO WORST - KOBUK VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

55. Kobuk Valley National Park

Location: Alaska

Score = 27/50

  • Facilities: 0/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 8/10
  • Photogenic: 7/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Channel Islands National Park

56. Channel Islands National Park

Location: California

Score = 26/50 (equal with Pinnacles)

  • Facilities: 2/10
  • Trails: 7/10
  • Scenery: 6/10
  • Photogenic: 5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Pinnacles National Park

57. Pinnacles National Park

Location: California

Score = 26/50 (equal with Channel Islands)

  • Facilities: 4/10
  • Trails: 5.5/10
  • Scenery: 5/10
  • Photogenic: 4/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 7.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Biscayne National Park

58. Biscayne National Park

Location: Florida

Score = 25/50

  • Facilities: 5/10
  • Trails: 5.5/10
  • Scenery: 4.5/10
  • Photogenic: 3.5/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 6.5/10

America's National Parks - Ranked Best to Worst - Congaree National Park

59. Congaree National Park

Location: South Carolina

Score = 23.5/50

  • Facilities: 5.5/10
  • Trails: 4/10
  • Scenery: 3/10
  • Photogenic: 3/10
  • Crowds/Transport: 8/10

How long is your bucket list now?!

I hope we have inspired you to explore these beautiful parks and to get outside and do everything in your power to protect our beautiful natural spaces. Stay tuned for in-depth posts about the best parks for hiking, camping, family trips, wildlife encounters, photography, and more!


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75 comments

  1. This is such a great list! They way you scored, organized, and summarized is so useful!
    I’m off on my journey to visit as many as possible starting in 2021! Here’s to checking them all off the list! Wish me luck!

  2. Born and raised St Louisan here…if you haven’t already taken your trip to the Gateway Arch, I’d advise that you find something else big and spectacular to center that trip on, with the Arch as a quick stopover point. The arch is a way to spend a boring afternoon, in order to be just slightly less bored. A couple hours tops, in the heart of a downtown that is the opposite of thriving, and a view that will make you go, “huh?!” I love my city, but oof. Good luck with that one. At least you may get some laughs out of it when you get there. No doubt it’ll end up to be the lowest ranking. Happy travels!

  3. I am 15 years old and have been to 50 national parks. I hope to get to the 5 Alaska parks that you can’t drive to next year. I have been documenting the parks on my YouTube channel, National Park Wild. I am curious as to whether you’ve gotten to the 3 newest parks yet and how much you like them. I also would appreciate if you saw some of my videos and told me what you think. Thanks, Renee.
    My Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkHUX-NG1Tzxmx0IU8zNOLg

  4. This post is very helpful, I am bookmarking this for future. Thank you so much, I love the way you have given separate scores for each aspect, which means we can choose what we like the most!

  5. Scenery should trump all other considerations (except maybe for Gates of the Arctic, where access is probably the most difficult)

    1. That’s why I have the ranking breakdowns, so people can see for themselves what scores the parks received. I plan to do another blog post on which parks are the most stunning just based on scenery

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