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These 10 U.S. National Parks Are Best Seen in June

If you’re a national park junkie like us, you’ve probably agonized over which ones are worth your precious June vacation days. Trust us, we get it—picking the perfect park is serious business.

From majestic mountains to sprawling forests, this month is a prime time for exploring.

So, for you travelers out there still debating where to park your hiking boots this June, look no further. We’ve got the insider scoop on the ten best U.S. national parks to explore in early summer.

1. Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park, Colorado 

a man sits on a sharp cliff edge in black canyon of gunnison

Prepare to have your mind blown by the Black Canyon Of The Gunnison, where the cliffs are so sheer and the walls so dark that even the sunshine needs a GPS. This Colorado gem boasts some of the steepest cliffs and oldest exposed rock formations in North America.

And if you’re into selfies with dramatic backdrops or just love thinking about geological time scales while hiking, this park is your new best friend.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina

view of great smoky mountains national park at sunset with some mist in among the green trees on the mountains

Looking for a place where misty mornings and lush greenery collide? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is calling your name.

Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, this park is a biodiversity hotspot, home to more than 19,000 documented species.

If you’re into stunning sunrises, Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest peak, offers views that will make you forget all about that time you lost your phone signal.

3. Redwood National Park, California

the tall forest on either sides of the pathway in redwood NP

If you’re looking to feel tiny and insignificant in the best way possible, Redwood National Park is your go-to. Home to the tallest trees on the planet, these towering giants can reach heights of over 350 feet. Just imagine trying to fit one of those in your camera frame!

Besides the awe-inspiring trees, the park also features stunning coastlines and a chance to see some elk.

4. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

above ground, wind cave national park is full of rolling hills with green pine trees and the occassional buffalo (not seen here)

Dive into the underground marvels of Wind Cave National Park. Known for its intricate maze of passageways and the rare boxwork formations that are nature’s version of a crisscross pattern, this park will have you feeling like a modern-day explorer.

Just don’t expect any wind therapy down below; the cave’s namesake breeze is a myth (except at the entranceway). Above ground, enjoy the rolling prairie and the roaming bison.

5. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

a landscape view of shenandoah NP overlooking the hills

Lying in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is your escape from the urban jungle. With over 200,000 acres of protected lands, including dense forests and sparkling waterfalls, it’s a hiker’s paradise.

Skyline Drive runs the length of the park, offering 105 miles of scenic viewpoints. Plus, keep an eye out for black bears; they’re the unofficial welcoming committee—albeit the kind you admire from a safe distance.

6. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

a sandy beach pathway out to the water in indiana dunes NP

Ever fancied a beach day in the Midwest? Indiana Dunes National Park is your spot. This hidden gem on the southern tip of Lake Michigan offers 15 miles of sandy beaches, perfect for pretending you’re not in Indiana.

Plus, it’s an ecological wonderland with over 1,100 flowering plant species. Throw in some hiking and bird-watching, and you’ve got yourself a surprisingly awesome day out in the Hoosier State.

7. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

stalagmites and stalactites inside calsbad caverns NP

Ready to plunge into the depths of New Mexico’s underground wonder? Carlsbad Caverns boasts over 119 caves formed by sulfuric acid dissolving limestone, which sounds like nature’s chemistry experiment gone right.

The piece de resistance is the Big Room, a colossal chamber stretching nearly 4,000 feet long. And if you’re into bat flights, stick around at dusk for a natural aerial show that’ll make you forget all about that whole rabies thing.

8. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

the grand prismatic spring seen from above with steam and the boardwalk under a rainbow

Let’s talk about the big one—Yellowstone National Park, home to Old Faithful and nearly half of the world’s geysers. Spanning Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, this park is basically a super-sized outdoor playground.

With stunning geothermal features, scenic hiking trails, and an impressive array of wildlife like bison and grizzly bears, Yellowstone is the granddaddy of national parks. Just don’t get too close to the bison; they’re not as cuddly as they look!

9. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

glacier bay NPlandscape with the rocky mountains with some remnants of snow behind the water

How about exploring a place that’s more ice than spice? Glacier Bay National Park offers a stunning landscape of tidewater glaciers, rugged mountains, and dynamic ecosystems. Covering over 3.3 million acres, it’s also a haven for humpback whales, sea otters, and bald eagles.

And here’s a cool fact: thanks to the glaciers’ rapid retreat, scientists have named it one of the fastest-changing places on Earth.

10. New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

sunset at the new river gorge bridge with the sun shinging thru the metal bars of the bridge, new river gorge national park

Get ready to embrace the wild side at New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. Boasting one of the oldest rivers on the continent, this park is a playground for adventure junkies. Whether you’re into white-water rafting, rock climbing, or hiking through the rugged ravines, this park has something to get your adrenaline pumping.

Plus, the iconic New River Gorge Bridge is a sight to behold—just try not to look down!

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