When planning a trip, most people usually stick to their normal vacation routine and location. With Sundance Vacations having thousands of global destinations, they make it easier for you to check out areas you might not have thought about going to, such as National Parks.
While National Parks blanket 84.6 million acres, or 3.4 percent, of the United States, if you live in a city, it’s easy to forget they’re even there. Whether you’re a nature-lover, adventurer, or a city-dweller dreaming of seeing a bit of green, these beautiful parks are something you must see with your own eyes!
Check out the top 10 national parks you can visit while staying at a Sundance Vacations property!
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is an outdoor lover, dream location! With its breathtaking peaks and pristine lakes, multicolored pools swirl around hot springs; verdant forests weave past expansive meadows; and volatile geysers launch streams of steaming water toward the sky, it’s almost unbelievable! While you explore its 3,000-plus square miles of mountains, canyons, geysers and waterfalls, be prepared to share the trails with buffalo, elk and sometimes even grizzlies! With its 2.2 million acres that stretch from the northwest corner of Wyoming into the edges of Idaho and Montana, you’ll find plenty of untouched territory to explore. While you’re there make sure to put aside some time to check out ‘Yellowstone Lake’ and ‘Mammoth Hot Springs.’ Also, try and save some time for the trails that are lesser known, like the hot springs of the ‘West Thumb Geyser Basin’ and the untamed wildlife of the ‘Lewis River Channel’ and ‘Dogshead Loop.’ While the sheer number of trails and wildlife-watching opportunities may seem daunting at first, remember, going more than one day is never a bad thing either!
They say the best times to visit Yellowstone National Park are from April to May and between September and November.
Yellowstone National Park is located by our Sapphire Resorts @ The Timbers resort.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most intimidating natural landscapes, and is nearly 1,200 miles of towering waterfalls, Sequoia trees, daunting cliff faces and some of the most unique rock formations in the United States. Don’t let its size scare you though, within the first 8 miles you’ll find most of the tourist activity! You’ll find the park’s most famous landmarks; Half Dome and El Capitan; as well as hiking trails that take you through the natural monuments. Not an experienced hiker? You can get guided tours and climbing lessons from local adventure outfitters.
With approximately 4 million visitors each year, the best times to visit Yosemite are May and September. During that time the park is accessible but not too crowded. Something to keep in mind is that many roads and trails in Yosemite are closed for the majority of the year due to snow. Snow can come as early as October and arrives in full force in November, typically remaining until March. Depending on conditions, all seasonally closed roads and trails don’t open till May or June.
Yosemite National Park is located by our WorldMark Yosemite Bass Lake resort.
Glacier National Park
Located on the border of the US and Canada, Glacier National Park got its name for the remnants of glaciers from the ice age. Sitting at the streams that flow into the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay, Glacier National Park is often called the “Crown of the Continent.” From the easy ‘Trail of the Cedars’ to the challenging ‘Grinnell Glacier,’ this park is a favorite among hikers of all skills. Spread across more than 1 million acres the park boasts more than 700 lakes, numerous waterfalls and two mountain ranges.
To add to its breathtaking sights, the park is also home to a fair amount of history! ‘Going-to-the-Sun Road’ is a 52-mile scenic drive through the park. This National Historic Landmark and an engineering marvel that offers spectacular views, as well as access to popular hiking trails.
Another part of history are many of the park’s lodges. These chalets and hotels were constructed by the Great Northern Railway in the early 20th century and are on the ‘National Register of Historic Places.’
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in July and August. This is the peak season for visitors, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 70s with cool nights that can drop into the 40s (pack layers, as well as a good rain jacket).
Glacier National Park is located by our Nenastako Village at Meadow Lake resort.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is so magnificent that even the highest quality photos don’t do the park’s beauty justice! For six million years, the Grand Canyon has expanded with the help of the Colorado River, and for centuries, people from all over the world have traveled to gaze out over its red and orange grandeur. Measuring approximately 277 river miles in length, up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep, this massive chasm in northern Arizona is truly a natural wonder.
The South Rim is home to the ‘Grand Canyon Village’ and the ‘Bright Angel Trail’ which is particularly popular for sightseers and hikers. You’ll find the most amenities on that side as well. If you’re trying to get a break from the crowds, head to the North Rim. Something to remember is that North Rim has a reputation for its rugged, isolated trails, its sparse facilities and a lack of appeal in the eyes of the tourist mainstream.
The best times to visit the Grand Canyon are March through May and September through November when daytime temperatures are cool, and the crowds are thin.
The Grand Cannon National Park is located by our Wyndham Flagstaff resort.
Grand Teton National Park
Towering above Jackson Hole Valley with jagged snow-topped peaks, Wyoming’s majestic Teton Mountains are in high relief at Grand Teton National Park. From the 13,770-foot Grand Teton to the glittering Jenny and Jackson lakes, which reflect the mountains in their depths, you’re sure to find the perfect photo spot! During the summer months the trails are favorites to hikers of all abilities and reveal gems like hidden waterfalls and breathtaking views of the Tetons. During the hike you might come across a range of wildlife, including black bears, grizzlies, moose, antelope and bison, and for autumn visitors, the park lights up with golden aspens.
After a hike you can check out Snake River! Snake River is perfect for kayakers, rafters and those who want to just float on the water! If you’re a history buff, you can also check out Menors Ferry and Mormon Row, which is dated back to the Western Frontier 19th-century.
The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park is from mid-May to late September when all the visitor centers, hiking trails and other park activities, including kayaking and fishing, are open and accessible. Winter usually hits the park in October, shutting down most of its facilities and roads. But if you love cross-country skiing and snowshoeing winter is a prime for that!
Zion National Park
Located in Utah, Zion National Park was named for the Hebrew word “refuge,” and use to act as a sanctuary.
The apricot-colored Zion Canyon, which can be viewed by wading through the Virgin River or ascending Angels Landing, and with each bend in the river or turn in the trail give an even more breathtaking view. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive cuts through its main section, leading to forest trails along the Virgin River. The river flows to the Emerald Pools, which have waterfalls and a hanging garden. Also, along the river, partly through deep chasms, is Zion Narrows wading hike.
The best time to visit Zion National Park is between the months of May and November when the park’s free shuttles are running, and the weather is good enough to enjoy the attractions. December through April is the park’s low season, but although there will be fewer crowds, some attractions, such as the Narrows and Angels Landing, might be too cold to fully enjoy. The park is open to the public 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Zion National Park is located by our Canyon Villas at Coral Ridge resort.
Arches National Park
They say that visiting Arches National Park in Utah is like visiting another planet. Arches Park has thousands of natural sandstone arches, red rocks and land forms in amazing configurations, with lighting that seems to change every moment. Photographers love the way the arches give unique shadows and capturing its enchanting vistas at dawn and dusk. The park also has a 26 miles of scenic road that is perfect for hikes for every hiker! If you have time you should also stop at the Colorado Plateau. The Plateau is home to some of the darkest skies in the United States and gives an amazing view of the Milky Way.
The best time to visit Arches National Park is April through May and September through October, when daytime temperatures average about 60 to 80 degrees. In the summer, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees, which can make exploring the park’s trails very uncomfortable.
Arches National Park is located by our Goldenwoods Condominiums At Powderhorn Resort.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rising 12,183 feet into the Colorado sky, the Rocky Mountain National Park is filled with majestic mountains, wildflowers, and wildlife! The 350-plus miles of trails are definitely the main attraction to the park! The trails wind through the pine and spruce forests, glittering alpine lakes, swaths of wildflowers and if you’re lucky, some wildlife. From flat, easy hikes around a mountain lake to challenging multi-day backpack trips and climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers trails for hikers of every level!
The best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park is from June to September when the snow is (mostly) melted and the hiking trails and attractions are accessible. Whether snow or sunshine, the park is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, though some parts may be inaccessible.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park was actually named after a Scottish immigrant, Ebenezer Bryce, who settled in the region with his family in 1875, the Bryce Canyon National Park is composed of a dozen amphitheaters, or horseshoe-shaped canyons, on an eroded escarpment of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Created by erosion and rain, the limestone rock is definitely a sight to see for visitors who love to explore the slot canyons, windows, fins and, most notably, the tall, skinny spires called hoodoos. The most famous of these is the Bryce Amphitheater, which is filled with irregularly eroded spires of rocks called hoodoos.
The best time to visit Bryce National Park, Utah, is May through September. Not only does this timeframe offer the warmest weather of the year, it also yields plenty of ranger activities. October through April offers its own charms, too. There are fewer people, cooler temperatures and the fall foliage and wildflowers can be stunning. In the winter, the park is transformed by snow and visitors can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Bryce Canyon National Park is located by our Copper Chase Condominiums resort.
Olympic National Park
Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, the Olympic National Park offers something for every kind of nature lover, from hikers to stargazers to boaters to photographers. Taking up nearly a million acres, the park protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.
The park’s beginnings date back to 1897, when growing concerns about the area’s disappearing forests led President Grover Cleveland to designate it as the Olympic Forest Reserve. Further protections were enacted in 1909, when President Theodore Roosevelt designated part of the reserve as the Mount Olympus National Monument in response to a declining Roosevelt Elk population. It didn’t officially receive its national park title until 1938, thanks to President Franklin Roosevelt. Today, the park is both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
The best time to visit Olympic National Park is July through August, when temperatures are usually warm, most roads and facilities are open, and a full range of programs are available. You can find an updated list of seasonal activities in the Olympic Bugler, the park’s digital newsletter.