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The Top 10 National Parks To Visit This Winter

Winter can be the best time to visit some of America’s national parks since it typically means no crowds, fewer bugs, expansive views, and seeing the parks in a whole new light.

Here are 10 of the best national parks to visit during the winter season.

10. Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah

Winter landscape at Bryce Canyon. Photo by Pedro Lastra via GoodFreePhotos

Snow covered hoodoos is definitely a sight to see, making Bryce Canyon National Park a unique winter destination. Keep in mind that the rim at Bryce Canyon varies between 8,000 – 9,000 feet, so bundle up.

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9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee & North Carolina

Winter in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo by Doug Kerr/Flickr
Winter in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo by Doug Kerr/Flickr

Winter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park doesn’t always mean snow-covered vistas. Southern winters can be mild and fallen foliage means more panoramic mountain views.

8. Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado

national parks
Winter in the Rocky Mountains. Photo by Scott McLeod/Flickr

Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect playground for snowsport enthusiasts. The park has extensive snowshoeing & cross-country trails, and ice climbing routes. Families can also go sledding on the bunny hill of the former Hidden Valley Ski Area.

7. Death Valley National Park – California

national parks
Sand dunes in Death Valley. Photo by Brocken Inaglory/Wikipedia
Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Record 100+ degree summer heat makes winter the best time to visit Death Valley National Park. Despite the park being the land of extremes, there is much diversity that lives within it from towering peaks, fields of wildflowers, dark night skies, and endless playas.

6. Biscayne National Park – Florida

Biscayne National Park. Photo via GoodFreePhotos
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to escape winter, Biscayne National Park is the park to visit. Surround yourself with aquamarine ocean water, palm tree covered islands and white sandy beaches.

5. Joshua Tree National Park – California

Snow in Joshua Tree National Park. Photo by Rob Malouf/Wikipedia

Consider yourself lucky if you’re able to see this national park and its namesake Joshua trees covered in snow during a winter visit. The winter months at the park can be chilly, but snow is rare. Instead, you’ll escape the crowdedness that the summer months bring and perhaps find solitude.

4. Congaree National Park – South Carolina

Congaree National Park elevated boardwalk trail. Photo by Miguel Vieira/Flickr

Explore the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern U.S. at Congaree National Park. Winter in the southeast means no humidity and no bugs, making it an ideal season to paddle, hike, or fish at the park.

3. Apostle Island National Park – Wisconsin

Apostle Islands sea caves. Photo by Justin Meissen/Flickr

A visit to Apostle Island National Park is a must if you’re up for a winter adventure. The rightly renowned ice caves are located on the shore of Lake Superior. To reach them means a 2-mile roundtrip hike across the frozen lake.

2. Saguaro National Park – Arizona

national parks winter
Saguaro National Park. Photo by bobistraveling/Flickr

Nothing screams winter to an RVer more than a desert landscape filled with cacti and beautiful sunsets. Saguaro National Park is named after the nation’s largest cacti, which can only be found in a small portion of the U.S. Add the park to your route on this road trip across the southern U.S.

1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park – New Mexico

national parks
Carlsbad Caverns. Photo by J.J./Flickr

Take a trip down under where there are more than 119 known caves below the surface at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The show cave at the park is Carlsbad Cavern that includes a large limestone cave chamber for visitors to tour. The cave climate averages about 56 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

Have you been to any of these national parks before? Where are some of your favorite places to visit during the winter?

See also: The National Park-To-Park Highway Loop