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Ask the Experts: How should I tour the USA’s National Parks?

Our Ask the Experts panellists have convened again, for a natural debate on one of the world’s most famously beautiful collectives. Can you call a group of over 400 places a collective? I don’t see why not, but if you need a second opinion, why don’t you ask one of the 275 million people who visit them each year.

What am I talking about? The U.S. National Parks, that cover 4,502,644 acres of oceans, lakes, and reservoirs, and a whopping 84,000,000 acres of land featuring towering trees, shooting geysers, winding rivers and a wonderland of mountains and meadows.

This week’s question from our community touches on these very gems, and it’s down to our Experts to meld a journey of untold adventure for Sally from Birmingham. But can they do it?
Remember, you can email our Experts a question for consideration in a future edition of the series. Sally did just that, let’s see what she’s posed to the panel:

I’m hoping to visit the USA soon, and I hear the National Parks are unmissable? Do you have any tours which visit the parks, and which one would you recommend? Sally in Birmingham

Nice! An open call for fodder on the U.S. National Parks, which could see Sally journey from the Midlands to the United States of America’s most revered natural parks.

Kim at STA Travel Dundee decided on…

After much consideration I’ve gone with ‘Natural Wonders of the Pacific Northwest‘ for you Sally — it’s 22 days of pure Calamity Jane, and wildlife adventure!

You’ll drive the Pacific Coast, hike in spectacular Yosemite and Glacier National Parks, follow the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, and marvel at geysers in Yellowstone. Big skies and bison will await you in Montana, while Salt Lake City offers panoramic mountain views.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore and you’ll never feel rushed given the leisurely pace of this particular itinerary. Jump on the January sale band wagon Sally and save 10%! Normally £1799 (or about £80 a day), you will save a whopping £179 provided you can book by the 23rd of February 2012 and travel before the 31st of December 2012.

Sarah at STA Travel Covent Garden continued…

You’re damn right; the National Park’s in America are indeed unmissable, Sally! Red sandstone and phenomenal canyons dominate the scenery and make you feel in quite another world.

Top parks to visit include the mighty Yellowstone (or Jellystone in Flintstones terms), the first National Park in America, established in 1872. The park itself is home to an abundance of stereotypical American wildlife, from grizzly bears to wolves to bison.

The Grand Canyon is — obviously — one not to be missed; it’s a world heritage site and absolutely massive! The South Rim is the most-visited part, open all year, and you can take amazing walks along the Rim Trail to really experience the immensity of the place.

The Arches and Zion National Parks, both in Utah, are other must-visits. The Arches is renowned for its 2000+ arch-shaped formations which pierce the landscape, including the ‘Delicate Arch’ – a naturally formed red-stone arch which stands singularly and dramatically against the backdrop.

#161 | Delicate Arch

Two guesses why they call this the Delicate Arch? | Photo by terrypresley

Some top trips that will give you a true National Park extravaganza are ‘Across America’ which travels the southern states of the country, roaming from LA to New York.

This trip visits a monopoly of parks including White Sands National Park, an expanse of sand dunes spanning a whopping 275 square metres! There’s also Saguaro National Park which features cacti galore and truly epitomises the great American West. Additions to the many natural wonders visited on this trip are Monument Valley, the famous setting for nearly all American Western films, and Lake Powell branching across the northern Arizona desert. If you want the great American south and western highlights this is deffo the trip to do.

Alternatively the ‘Grand Northern’ and ‘Experience America’ are action-packed trips to experience the most notable of the National Parks.

The biggies are visited here; including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. You get a few days in each place so you can really explore the rolling cliffs, waterfalls (Nevada Falls particularly) and wildlife. Also visited are the famous Mount Rushmore and Grand Teton National Park, home to the Jackson Hole — a huge valley with steep slopes, giving it the feeling of entering a hole. You can also get your rodeo on here, never a thing to forego!


Wow! Nice work, Experts. You’ve brought the region to life, with some amazing suggestions. If you’d like to find out more, visit our USA pages of our website for some great deals on flights, and group trips.

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