Sunrise at Monument Valley (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 27 August

7 exhilarating adventures in USA National Parks

From the wild parks of the hipster northwest to the iconic red canyons of the south, these trips will take you to the very heart of the USA’s greatest treasures – its National Parks

1: Ramble through the Canyonlands

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands (Dreamstime)

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands (Dreamstime)

Experience the awesome grandeur of the Canyonlands on this 14-day Ramblers Walking Holiday through some of America’s most iconic National Parks.

From the moment you wind your way down the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River below, you will be immersed in other-worldly landscapes, shaped by nature across the eons.

In Utah, you will walk through the alpine valleys of Zion, the sci-fi rock pillars of Bryce and the bizarre buttresses and balanced rocks of Arches National Park. Finally, after realising your inner John Wayne in Monument Valley, you’ll walk into Las Vegas, inspired, if a little footsore.

Trip: America’s Canyonlands

Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays

When: Departures throughout Sep

How long: 17 days

How much: £4,695 (inc flights)

2: Hike the Appalachian Trail

Rhododendron on the Appalachian Trail (Dreamstime)

Rhododendron on the Appalachian Trail (Dreamstime)

Leave civilisation behind and experience the vast wilderness of North Eastern USA on this hut-to-hut hike on the Appalachian Trail with Grand American Adventures.

Carrying all you need on your back, you will trek through the White Mountains National Forest, staying in huts, and experiencing what many regard as the most impressive section of this famous trail. This is true backcountry hiking and not for the faint-hearted – but the rewards for nature lovers and photographers are unparalleled.

Trip: Appalachian Trail Hut To Hut

Who: Grand American Adventures

When: Departures Aug & Sep

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,649 (exc. flights)

3: Photograph Yellowstone wildlife in winter

A bison stands in the snow in Yellowstone National Park (Dreamstime)

A bison stands in the snow in Yellowstone National Park (Dreamstime)

Join acclaimed photographer Nick Garbutt to watch and photograph wildlife in the remote corners of Yellowstone National Park on this winter photographic tour with Wildlife Worldwide.

Yellowstone in winter offers the chance to capture breathtakingly beautiful images, from herds of frost-covered bison congregating around the park's geysers to stunning frozen waterfalls. You will have the opportunity to hone general and specific photographic techniques, working with bright snow and high contrast, landscapes and panoramas, as you drive, walk, snow-shoe and possibly ski 'off the beaten track. 

Daily sessions with Nick will enable you to pose questions you've always wanted to ask in situ and hone your photography talents.

Trip: Wild West Winter Wonderland

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Departures Jan & Feb

How long: 16 days

How much: From £6,395 (exc. flights)

4: The USA’s most iconic National Parks explored

Mount Rushmore (Dreamstime)

Mount Rushmore (Dreamstime)

Explore all of the US’s most iconic National Parks on this 25-day adventure with Audley.

Starting in Denver and heading west, you’ll experience the unique geothermal landscapes and wildlife of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, meet ancestral Pueblo Indian elders in Mesa Verde National Park and encounter South Dakota's epic Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse national monuments. 

Add in the magnificent red rock mountains of Monument Valley and Zion National Park and you’ll have ticked off all of the US National Park superstars.

Trip: National Parks Explored

Who: Audley

When: Flexible dates throughout the year

How long: 25 days

How much: From £4,310 (inc. flights)

5: Explore the hipster North West

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park (Dreamstime)

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park (Dreamstime)

Combining wilderness hikes with craft brews and artisanal food of Portland and Seattle, this 15-day tour through the northwest with G Adventures is the ultimate hipster National Park adventure.

Forgoing the country’s better-known parks, you’ll discover spectacular parks that are off the mainstream grid – parks like Mount Rainier National Park, Glacier National Park and Crater Lake National Park. You’ll experience the big city buzz of Portland and Seattle, as well as quirky small towns like Wallace and Jackson, and cowboy country in Montana. 

From the Pacific Ocean to the wild, wild west, this is a National Park adventure unlike any other.

Trip: National Parks Of The Northwest US

Who: G Adventures

When: Regular departures throughout the US summer

How long: 15 days

How much: From £2,479 (exc. flights)

6: Yosemite and beyond

Yosemite National Park Valley on a cloudy autumn morning (Dreamstime)

Yosemite National Park Valley on a cloudy autumn morning (Dreamstime)

Visit some of the USA’s most iconic national parks, from Yosemite to Zion, on this 17-day adventure with Explore.

Focussing on the breathtaking national parks of the country’s west, you’ll marvel at the Grand Canyon, discover the spectacular rock formations of Bryce Canyon,and walk the stunning trails at Yosemite. You’ll also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mesa Verde, home to some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the world, and witness the rosy sunset glow over the 2000s arches and towering spires of Arches National Park. 

Trip: Western USA National Parks Explorer

Who: Explore

When: Departures Mar-May, Jul-Nov 

How long: 17 days

How much: From £2,730 (exc. flights)

7: Grand Canyon camping and Rocky Mountain trails

Grand Canyon landscape (Dreamstime)

Grand Canyon landscape (Dreamstime)

Hike western USA's most famous parks on this intense trekking holiday with World Expeditions.

All the iconic hikes are here. You will trek the Grand Canyon, hike Yellowstone and tackle the best of the high Rockies, including Lost Man Loop with its 3900m pass. A visit to Mesa Verde UNESCO World Heritage Site and Monument rounds off this exhilarating adventure.

Trip: Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain Trails

Who: World Expeditions

When: Departures Jun, Aug, Sep

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,790 (exc. flights)