BUSY PLACES: NATURAL SPACES – PART II

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the seriesFavorite Places

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

NATURAL SPACES:  This is a list of all 58 U.S. National Parks, arranged by number of visitors in a year.  It doesn’t include monuments, scenic rivers, historic locations and other designated Park Service sites.  Three eastern parks made the cut; the rest are out West.  Most convenient to a good portion of the U.S. population is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which hosted 9 million visitors last year.  It’s also on the “flyway” for snowbirds.

The next three are Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone, each with its spectacular scenery.  I am surprised that Rocky Mountain National Park is in fifth place, but we also put it very high on our list of the 46 that we’ve visited.

What could be more peaceful than parking your rig at Aspenglen Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. This was on the last day the campground was open before autumn closure, which sent us to Moraine Campground, another spectacular site.

What could be more peaceful than parking your rig at Aspenglen Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. This was on the last day the campground was open before autumn closure, which sent us to Moraine Campground, another spectacular site.

No. 6 is Olympic National Park between the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound in Washington State.  Then Zion in Utah and Grand Teton in Wyoming (not far from Yellowstone) and 11th on the list, Glacier, both in Montana.  Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park is No. 10.  And now for the full list of National Parks, sorted by number of visitors in 2012.  The * indicates that you can’t drive there in your RV.

Truly one of the greatest vistas in the United State are those in Glacier National Park in Montana. We hiked to Avalanche Lake, where we were stunned by the majestic beauty.

Truly one of the greatest vistas in the United State are those in Glacier National Park in Montana. We hiked to Avalanche Lake, where we were stunned by the majestic beauty.

  1. Great Smoky Mountain (North Carolina/Tennessee)
  2. Grand Canyon (Arizona)
  3. Yosemite (California)
  4. Yellowstone (Wyoming)
  5. Rocky Mountain (Colorado)
  6. Olympic (Washington)
  7. Zion (Utah)
  8. Grand Teton (Wyoming)
  9. Acadia (Maine)
  10. Cuyahoga Valley (Ohio)
  11. Glacier (Montana)
  12. Hot Springs (Arkansas)
  13. Joshua Tree (California)
  14. Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii)
  15. Bryce Canyon (Utah)
  16. Shenandoah (Virginia)
  17. Arches (Utah)
  18. Mount Rainer (Washington)
  19. Sequoia (California)
  20. Haleakala (Hawaii)
  21. Death Valley (California)
  22. Everglades (Florida)
  23. Badlands (South Dakota)
  24. Capitol Reef (Utah)
  25. Petrified Forest  (Arizona)
  26. Saguaro Forest (Arizona)
  27. Mesa Verde (Colorado)
  28. Kings Canyon (California)
  29. Theodore Roosevelt (North Dakota)
  30. Wind Cave (South Dakota)
  31. Mammoth Cave Kentucky
  32. Biscayne* (Florida)
  33. Canyonlands (Colorado)
  34. Virgin Islands* (Virgin Islands)
  35. Glacier Bay* (Alaska)
  36. Crater Lake (Oregon)
  37. Denali (Alaska)
  38. Redwood (California)
  39. Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico)
  40. Big Bend (Texas)
  41. Lassen Volcanic (California)
  42. Kenai Fjords (Alaska)
  43. Great San Dunes (Colorado)
  44. Channel Islands* (California)
  45. Voyageurs (Minnesota)
  46. Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado)
  47. Guadalupe Mountains (Texas)
  48. Congaree (South Carolina)
  49. Great Basin (Great Basin (Nevada)
  50. Dry Tortugas* (Florida)
  51. Wrangell-St. Elias (Alaska)
  52. Katmai (Alaska)
  53. North Cascades (Washington)
  54. Isle Royale* (Michigan)
  55. Gates of the Artic* (Alaska)
  56. Kobuk Valley* (Alaska)
  57. American Samoa (American Samoa)
  58. Lake Clark (Alaska)

*Inaccessible by roads

What a view!  Last on the list of visited National Parks is Lake Clark on the way to Homer, Alaska.  Oh, how I long to  take another "trip of a lifetime" to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

What a view! Last on the list of visited National Parks is Lake Clark on the way to Homer, Alaska. Oh, how I long to take another “trip of a lifetime” to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

I can’t end this without mentioning my own personal favorite, Bryce Canyon in Utah, No. 15 on the visited list.  Just preparing the list above (including determining which ones we’ll never visit in our travel trailer) gave me the will to go on to explore the few that we can

A scene in Theodore National Park, North Dakota, where cowboys roam among the herds of feral horses.

A scene in Theodore National Park, North Dakota, where cowboys roam among the herds of feral horses.

reach via land.  We haven’t been to Hawaii yet, but we plan to rent a small RV while there, possibly in 2015 [I find that when we plan these trips ahead a long way off, we’re eager and ready when the time comes to cover lots of distance].

We’re the “Never-Bored RVers,” and very appreciative of being able to visit so many of the world’s most scenic lands in our home on wheels.  We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

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