If you’ve ever been to a national park during the summer, you probably noticed the endless sea of cars entering and exiting the park during peak travel season. While there really isn’t a bad time to visit one of America’s awe-inspiring natural parks, choosing to do so in the winter delivers its share of benefits. Some of these benefits include lower travel costs, smaller crowds, and the breathtaking views during wintertime. Consider one of these national parks to visit this winter and you won’t be disappointed!
Yellowstone National Park
Whether you spend time in Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho, Yellowstone is an iconic American national park and the winter snow that normally blankets the area acts as the perfect backdrop for viewing animals, geysers, and stunning natural features that come to life when the temperature plummets.
Acadia National Park
Head East to Maine and visit this incredible park that features a scenic loop drive around the perimeter. You can cross-country ski or snowshoe throughout the area. For the adventurous hikers, you can embark on an early-morning trek up Cadillac Mountain to be the first in the country to catch the sunrise in the morning.
Denali National Park
A visit to Alaska simply isn’t complete without a trip to Denali. The wintertime is perfect for dogsledding, snowshoeing, skiing, and more in this massive natural preserve. Catch the aurora borealis during certain times of the year, and revel in the tranquility and solitude of this snowy natural destination. Just be prepared for the cold – it can reach 40-below zero!
Grand Teton National Park
Winters are long here, so you’ll find plenty of time to enjoy the snow-tinged vistas and breathtaking natural formations in Grand Teton National Park. Abundant wildlife, perfect cross-country skiing, and the Tetons in the background add up to one amazing destination in gorgeous Wyoming.
Joshua Tree National Park
Normally known for extreme heat and the kind of views that make you want to don a cowboy hat and spurs, Joshua Tree takes on a different personality in the wintertime. It is quiet, peaceful, and comfortable, especially considering that temperatures can reach into the mid-60s during the day. But the best time to witness the real attraction of the park is at night, as the deep black sky is crystal clear and ideal for stargazing.
Zion National Park
There is something dramatic about iron-hued cliffs blanketed in snow, particularly when they sparkle in the sunlight during the day. Zion is breathtaking, and its location in Southern Utah affords higher temperatures in the wintertime than you’d expect. The red rock canyons are an absolute must-see in winter!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Just a 90-minute drive from Denver International Airport, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the more convenient park destinations to explore. Winter delivers some of the most stunning natural experiences anywhere in the Lower 48. Hike the Bear Lake Trail, and stop in Estes Park on the way to the park for a taste of the Colorado High Country.
Grand Canyon National Park
After the typical morning fog burns off, you’ll find that the Grand Canyon is delightful in winter. The contrast between the burnt sienna canyon walls and the shimmering snow belts provide the perfect photographic opportunities for camera bugs. The lower temperatures in the wintertime also eliminate concerns about the normal high temperatures in the area.
Yosemite National Park
There isn’t a bad view in the park anywhere, and winter brings a new look and feel to this iconic natural area. Cascading mountain slopes, snow-ringed peaks, and icy streams beckon visitors to explore all of the open trails around the park. Adventurous skiers or snowboarders can also use Yosemite as an access point to the Badger Pass ski area.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Ever seen a hoodoo covered in snow? Once you visit Bryce Canyon in the winter, you’ll learn two things. First, a hoodoo is a limestone spire, and Bryce is full of these awe-inspiring natural features. Second, the way the snow caps each of these orange-red rock formations is simply incredible.
Winter is the ideal time to visit one or more of our treasured national parks. So, leave the summertime to the spring breakers, school kids, and caravans of SUVs and minivans. Pack your camera and heavy coat for a trip to one of these fascinating destinations this winter.