Celebrate National Parks and Rec Month With the Top 5 Most Picturesque Parks in the US

Marina Poushkina / shutterstock.com
Marina Poushkina / shutterstock.com

Since 1985, July has been marked as National Parks and Recreation Month here in the US. A creation to strengthen the bond and awareness of our communities and the people across the nation, this month helps to draw people out of their homes and into their nearby parks.

Part of what gets the people to come out and enjoy reconnecting with nature is the opportunity to capture some amazing images for Instagram, as well as drink in the moment for themselves.

Here are the top 5 most picturesque parks for you to get inspired by here in the US.

  1. Petrified Forest National Park: Located in NE Arizona, this park is encapsulated in eroded badlands that date back to the Triassic Era. Most famous for fossilized logs that have been exposed after centuries of water and wind, this park is a result of the rise in the Colorado Plateau, and as such the Triassic fossils are prolific across the park. While the park can be seen in a few hours by car, getting out and exploring will create some amazing images.
  2. Redwood National Park: Protected by both the National Park System and the California State Park System, it is over 133,000 acres. Encompassed by the Redwood National Park itself as well as three adjacent state parks, this massive growth of redwoods over 25 feet in diameter and 400 feet tall is a national treasure. With only 5% of the redwoods that once soared over this great land in existence, over half of them are in these parks. As you get deeper into the forest the branches block much of the light, and you’ll need fast glass and some patience to capture the right shots.
  3. Grand Teton National Park: In NW Wyoming and just below the beloved Yellowstone National Park this is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes you’ll ever capture. With jagged peaks of the Teton mountain range dotting the horizon, these 7,000-foot cliffs soar above the landscape. With over 200 miles of trails, there is a lot to explore and more photos to capture than a team could have cataloged in a lifetime. With so much contrast, you’ll find polarizing filters quickly become your best fried.
  4. Yellowstone National Park: Based predominantly in Wyoming, this amazing park also splices into Montana and Idaho. By connecting through all three states, this park provides some amazing photo and travel opportunities. With never-ending landscapes, an abundance of wildlife roaming the prairie, and volcanic features abound, this park is what historians talk about when they describe the complex topography and zoology of the United States. Centered on the Yellowstone Caldera, this park represents North America’s biggest supervolcano and is truly one of a kind. Starting the day early is your best chance to get clean and human-free images.
  5. Yosemite National Park: Tucked into the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, this 747,956-acre park has an incredibly wide range of plants and animals. Well-known landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan are located here, and they attract nearly four million visitors per year. If you like taking a private hike and getting into the wilderness, this park can be your little slice of heaven. Going out for long-exposure images is the best use of time here. The stars in combination with the landscape make this the perfect park for astrophotography. Some of the world’s best Milky Way images were shot here too.

Getting out for National Parks and Recreation Month is something many Americans dream of, even if they aren’t aware of it. These five parks represent the best picturesque landscapes that the US can offer. For those who aren’t a fan of taking photos, there are catch-and-release fishing opportunities at these parks when the weather and time of season cooperate.

Pack the bags, grab the kids, and take some vacation time. Get out into the wilderness and capture a moment. Even if you don’t get it on your phone, make a memory that lasts a lifetime.