Oldest National Parks in the USA

  • Grand Prismatic Spring

    Yellowstone National Park - 1872

    On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone as the first national park in the United States and the world. Today, the park is home to the world's largest collection of geyser's including the iconic Old Faithful.

    Photo courtesy of Domenico Salvagnin

  • General Sherman redwood tree in Sequoia National Park

    Sequoia National Park - 1890

    Several years after the creation of Yellowstone, logging operations in the Giant Forest came to an abrupt halt when the area was designed as Sequoia National Park. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, this Land of Giants is the place to go to see the world's largest trees.

    Photo courtesy of Linda Tanner

  • Yosemite Tunnel View

    Yosemite National Park - 1890

    What is now Yosemite National Park was first placed under federal protection by the Yosemite Grant, signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864, but it wouldn't earn status as a national park until 1890. Nearly four million people visit the park each year, and most of them never leave the 7 square mile Yosemite Valley.

    Photo courtesy of Vincent Lock

  • Mount Rainier wildflowers

    Mount Rainier National Park - 1899

    Mount Rainier National Park, the most glaciated part in the lower 48 states, was established in 1899 by President William McKinley. It remains one of the country's most accessible parks, with two major cities – Seattle and Portland – both located within a 200-mile radius.

    Photo courtesy of Mount Rainier National Park

  • South Wall of the Caldera

    Crater Lake National Park - 1902

    Surprisingly – given the state's natural beauty – Crater Lake is the only national park in Oregon, established in 1902. During the short summer season, the magnificent blue lake sparkles in the sunlight, making the park a favorite for picnickers.

    Photo courtesy of Glenn Scofield Williams

  • Flowstone inside Wind Cave

    Wind Cave National Park - 1903

    Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, Wind Cave National Park was the first cave in the world to earn national park designation. It's the world's sixth longest cave, with more than 139 miles of known passages. Above the surface, the park has one of the last intact prairies in the country.

    Photo courtesy of National Park Service

  • Ruins of Mesa Verde

    Mesa Verde National Park - 1906

    The history of Mesa Verde goes back long before it was designated as a national park by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. As early as 600 AD, it was home to the cliff-dwlling Ancestral Pueblo. The Mesa Verde National Park contains some 5,000 archeological sites – some of the best in the US.

    Photo courtesy of dbking

  • Grinnell Lake

    Glacier National Park - 1910

    Glacier National Park, a hiker's paradise with more than 700 miles of trails, joined the national park system in 1910 thanks to President William Howard Taft. Nearly 2 million visitors pass through the park entrance each year to see for themselves some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.

    Photo courtesy of Navin75

  • Mount Alice above lower Lion Lake

    Rocky Mountain National Park - 1915

    President Woodrow Wilson signed Rocky Mountain National Park into existence in 1915. Humans have been occupying the park for more than 10,000 years, and modern outdoors enthusiasts flock to the Rocky Mountains for some of the best back country camp sites.

    Photo courtesy of Steven Bratman

  • Sunrise on Haleakala Peak

    Haleakala National Park - 1916

    When modern-day Haleakala National Park was added to the national park system in 1916, it was part of the larger Hawaii National Park. In 1961, a large portion of land became Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The word "haleakala" means "house of the sun," and many visitors to the park make the early morning trek to watch the sunrise from Haleakala Peak.

    Photo courtesy of Dave Dugdale

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