With 63 National Parks around the United States, planning the ideal road trip route is key to not only see the highlights but carving out time for unique experiences. When you road trip with us, we save you the accompanying headaches or fixing flat tires, planning where to stop, or travelling hundreds of miles in the wrong direction. Your job is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view of America’s top natural wonders. So buckle up and get ready to kick up some dust on the road trip of a lifetime.

1: Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon

Highlights: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Feel the buzz as you head to the Beehive State of Utah to explore Zion National Park. While it was only designated as a National Park in 1919, people have lived in and around Zion Canyon for thousands of years. Explore the world-famous Narrows, cleverly named because it’s the narrowest section of the canyon. You’ll be wowed by the massive cream, pink, and red sandstone cliffs and don’t be afraid to get your feet a little wet (which you will as you hike through the river).

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The next stop on this epic road trip is Bryce Canyon National Park to stand in awe of the largest collection of hoodoos. Yes, it’s a real word and it refers to the spire-shaped rock formations. The hiking options are plentiful here and you can get a unique view of the hoodoos on the Queen’s Garden & Navajo Loop combo. Looking for something a bit easier? Check out the Rim Trail which serves up some spectacular park views.

Lastly, cross state lines into Arizona and make your way to the Grand Canyon National Park. Bear witness to millions of years of geographical history and explore the many trails of the South Rim.

Hit the road on: Best of Utah & Arizona National Parks

2: The Anchorage Loop

Highlights: Kenai Fjords National Park, Denali National Park

If you’re looking to go a bit more remote on your next road trip, put Alaska at the top of your list. Anchorage is the largest city in the state and the perfect jumping off point for your outdoor wilderness adventure. Head south on one of the most scenic routes in the United States, the Seward Highway. It takes about two and a half hours to reach this small harbour town that gives you easy access to Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s home to the Harding Icefield Trail – a 8.2 mile (13 km) trail that opens up to a panoramic view of the Icefield. A challenging hike, the climb takes you about 1,000 ft higher in elevation so come prepared but there are easier trail options too.

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There’s so much to see and do in Kenai Fjords National Park but when you’re ready to move on, head north to Denali National Park. Denali is the highest peak in North America at 20,310 ft and one of the most majestic sights in all of Alaska. With a variety of trails to choose from, we recommend starting with Horseshoe Lake Trail. This scenic hike takes you around Horseshoe Lake which is a popular spot for full-racked bull moose so keep an eye out!

Hit the road on: Alaska Kenai & Denali Adventure

3: The Tetons and Yellowstone

Highlights: Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park

If you’re keen on natural landscapes and geothermal wonders, head to Jackson, Wyoming. A stone’s throw away from Grand Teton National Park, you can explore this exceptional part of the American West with scenic drives, iconic hikes, and a landscape rich with wildlife. There are over 300 species of birds plus, elk, moose, and bald eagles for you to find. One of the best activities to take it all in is a leisurely float along Snake River with stunning views of the Tetons.

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Right next to Grand Teton, you’ll find Yellowstone National Park. As one of the most famous national parks in the world, this is the spot to check out geothermal activity from geysers, mudpots, and hot springs. This is not a place for a dip, especially if you’re attached to your skin, so leave your bathing suit behind and just soak it in with your eyes.

As you continue to explore Yellowstone, this is your chance to experience the “Serengeti of North America” in Lamar Valley. With its incredibly high concentration of wildlife, this is your best chance to (fingers crossed!) catch sight of wolves and grizzly bears who call this area home.

Hit the road on: Iconic Wildlife of Yellowstone & Grand Teton

4: California’s National Parks

Highlights: Death Valley National Park, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park

California is not only home to the epicentre of the entertainment industry, the birthplace of leading tech companies, and some of the finest wine regions in the world, but it also boasts several iconic national parks.

For the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park, head to Death Valley. Known as the land of extremes, you can experience the stark beauty of the badlands at Zabriskie Point. For the lowest point in North America, head to Badwater Basin which sits 282 ft below sea level and is a surreal landscape of salt flats.

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From Death Valley, drive west to Sequoia National Park. It’s a sanctuary for the world’s largest trees and you can give a big ol’ hug to General Sherman, the largest tree on earth. At the north end of Giant Forest, this behemoth sits tall at about 275 ft, and believe it or not, is still growing.

Your last but not least stop on this road trip is Yosemite National Park. There are hikes, waterfalls, breathtaking views — everything you’d ever want, really. Hike the Mist Trail, get a little damp from Vernal Falls, and enjoy the postcard-worthy views of imposing granite cliffs.

Hit the road on: California National Park Discovery

5: Anchorage to Wrangell-St. Elias

Highlights: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

At a size comparable to Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the country of Switzerland combined, is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. You may need more than one trip to explore all 13 million acres so we recommend starting with a hike along the Bonanza Mine Trail. While considered a harder hike, your reward is sweeping Alaskan views, and of course, the historic site of Bonanza Mine.

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As you explore this region of Alaska, add Valdez and Glennallen to your list of stops. Valdez Glacier Lake, Thompson’s Pass viewpoint, and Gulkana River are all worth dropping a pin for too.

Hit the road on: Hike Alaska: Valdez and Wrangell St Elias

More U.S. National Park road trips

Looking for more itinerary inspiration? Check out these G Adventures routes through some of the country’s most iconic landscapes.

USA National Parks Explorer
Vegas & California – National Parks & Highway 1 Adventure
Yellowstone Camping Explorer

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