Travel

Map Shows the Ultimate U.S. National Park Road Trip

Randy Olson/Google Maps

If exploring the breathtaking beauty of our National Park System in one road trip is something on your bucket list, this may be the perfect map for you.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, blogger Randy Olson devised an optimal route to see the most epic national parks across the nation.

The U.S. National Park System technically consists of 59 parks, but 12 of them are in Alaska, Hawaii and other U.S. territories. This road trip is focused solely on those you can reach by car in one trip within the Continental 48.

Even with the reduction of the parks outside the Lower 48, Olson included 47 others along his route that stop in 23 different states. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Joshua Tree or any of the other great National Parks, this may be the best way to see them in one shot.

Those determined to finish the trip can do so in approximately two months. The route covers 14,498 miles. Olson starts his trip at the Grand Canyon, but he designed the route as a loop, so you could begin anywhere on the map and travel in whichever direction you’d like.

Here’s the full list of national parks in order and a visual of route:

us-national-parks-optimal-road-trip
Randy Olson/Google Maps

The Stops

  1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  2. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  3. Saguaro National Park, Arizona
  4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  5. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  6. Big Bend National Park, Texas
  7. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
  8. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  10. Everglades National Park, Florida
  11. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
  12. Biscayne National Park, Florida
  13. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
  14. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  15. Acadia National Park, Maine
  16. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
  17. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
  18. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
  19. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
  20. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  21. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
  22. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  23. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
  24. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
  25. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  26. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  27. Arches National Park, Utah
  28. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
  29. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  30. Zion National Park, Utah
  31. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
  32. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  33. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  34. Glacier National Park, Montana
  35. North Cascades National Park, Washington
  36. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  37. Olympic National Park, Washington
  38. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  39. Redwood National and State Parks, California
  40. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
  41. Yosemite National Park, California
  42. Kings Canyon National Park, California
  43. Sequoia National Park, California
  44. Pinnacles National Park, California
  45. Channel Islands National Park, California
  46. Joshua Tree National Park, California
  47. Death Valley National Park, California

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Map Shows the Ultimate U.S. National Park Road Trip