I have to be honest with you: although I travel the whole world, I still come back to the United States all the time. There is nothing better for me to get a nice rental car, an open road and some of the most beautiful national parks to check out! This way I visited quite many of all the US National Parks and found all of them extremely fascinating! If you’re into hiking and travel photography, these places will give you a perfect time to relax in the nature. Because of this, I always wanted to put together my personal Top 10 List of the most beautiful national parks in the United States which you can find below. Of course this is just my personal opinion – feel free to comment and let me know your favorites for photographers!
National Park List – My Favorites!
Rank 10: Badlands
Badlands National Park in South Dakota is not as easy to reach, so it might not be on your typical itinerary. I still wanted to include it here because of its awesome scenery! Nestled in the grassy prairie of the Midwest, the Badlands are made up of rugged terrain and colorful rock formations that look like something on another planet. The erosion of water and wind has shaped this beautiful place in millions of years, which makes it my personal number ten of the most beautiful national parks of the US!
Badlands Reading Recommendation:
National Parks Exploration Series Badlands
Rank 9: Everglades
Everglades National Park is a completely contrast to Badlands: The “largest subtropical wilderness” of the United States lies in the south of the state of Florida. It is the home of a multitude of rare and endangered animals and plants, and offers the perfect spot for wildlife activities like wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking and kayaking. The huge mangrove forests and cypress trees are also a great setting for travel photographers!
Everglades Reading Recommendation:
A Photographer’s Guide to the Everglades
Rank 8: Joshua Tree
Although not as famous as many of its neighbours, Joshua Tree National Park is a real gem in southern California and definitely one of my personal most beautiful national parks of the US! It is named after the famous “Joshua Tree”, a yucca palm. These are found all over the park which create an awesome desert scenario just nearby Los Angeles. Its 800.000 acres of park area cover parts of the Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert. Especially in the early morning or during sunset, Joshua Tree National Park offers awesome sceneries for photographs – which is why I’ve included it in this list of the most beautiful national parks in the US!
Joshua Tree Reading Recommendation:
Joshua Tree National Park – the Complete Guide!
Rank 7: Death Valley
Death Valley is one of the most extreme places in the United States. It lies between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin and is made up of salt flats, dunes and big deserts. Located way below sea level it is not only the lowest point of the US, but also the hottest one! It is a quite unique experience in the United States and should be included in all lists of the most beautiful national parks.
Death Valley Reading Recommendation:
The Explorer’s Guide to Death Valley
Rank 6: Arches National Park
Arches National Park offers more than 2.000 natural arches that have been built by nature over the years. It is located near Moab in Utah and should be on the list of all road trips in the United States. I did a road trip like this and took these Arches National Park Photos in 2012. Especially Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch are worth a visit, but you should be hiking several paths while you’re there!
Arches NP Reading Recommendation:
A great Arches National Park Hiking Guide
Rank 5: Zion National Park
Located in Southern Utah, Zion National Park is one of the greatest places on earth for hiking! Awesome waterfalls, rock formations, wildlife and other great nature spots are found in this valley. Angel’s Landing is one of the most famous sights in the US, but you should also check out places like the Emerald Pools!
Zion NP Reading Recommendation:
Guide to Zion National Park
Rank 4: Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is an awesome amphitheatre of beautiful red, yellow and orange rock formations that are found nowhere else in the world! Located close to Zion National Park it offers breathtaking views from outlook points like Yovimpa Point or Inspiration Point. These are perfect for photographers. You should not only drive through the park, but do some great hikes as well! I visited this park twice and was able to take these great Bryce Canyon Photos!
Bryce Canyon Reading Recommendation:
Bryce Canyon Lonely Planet Guide
Rank 3: Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park offers a very unique setting of geysirs, mineral sources, hot pools and amazing wildlife! If you want to take travel photographs of bears or moose, this is the place to be. As it is located in the Northwest of the United States, it needs quite a long drive to get there. I did that drive and took these Yellowstone Photos back in 2013. Believe me though – this place needs to be included in every list that covers the most beautiful national parks in the US!
Yellowstone Reading Recommendation:
A Ranger’s Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes
Rank 2: Yosemite
Yosemite National Park is another highlight for photographers! Located in Northern California close to San Francisco, it is one of the best places for all wildlife and photography activities you can think of! This huge valley is made up of awesome granite cliffs, river streams, forests and waterfalls that keep you busy for days.
Yosemite Reading Recommendation:
Yosemite: The Complete Guide
Rank 1: Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon is one of the greatest sights on earth and my definite number one of the most beautiful national parks in the US! This enormous valley offers perfect views for all travel photographers that want to take some of the most breathtaking photos in the world. Get to the South Rim and make sure to cover all viewpoints, as well as hike a bit along the rim. See my Grand Canyon Travel Photos to get some inspiration for your own trip!
Grand Canyon Reading Recommendation:
Lonely Planet Guide Grand Canyon