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  • Ah

  • The Great Outdoors

  • One of the best things about America is the great outdoors, and the best

  • places to get outside are the National Parks.

  • The National Parks have been dubbed America's best idea because they took

  • huge swaths of American wilderness,

  • protected it from development, and kept it open to the public for their enjoyment.

  • Last year the National Parks turned 100 years old,

  • and there's no better time to get out there and experience all 59 parks, but which are the best?

  • I'm Alex. I'm Marko, and you are watching Vagabrothers, your go-to guide for travel tips, vlogs, and

  • inspiration here on YouTube.

  • There're 59 parks. So in this video

  • we've narrowed it down to our 29 favorites.

  • Some of the most beautiful and diverse

  • national parks in the USA. So grab your compass, strap up your hiking boots, and get ready to get outdoors.

  • Wait....do they have wifi?

  • Probably not

  • First up:

  • Yellowstone in Wyoming. Established in 1872,

  • Yellowstone was the first natural park in the entire world and certainly one of the greatest national parks in the United States.

  • Located mostly in Wyoming, Yellowstone spans the Rocky Mountains into neighboring Idaho and Montana,

  • combining alpine lakes and rivers with wildlife such as bears,

  • bison and wolves. It also sits on top of the geothermal hot spot, making it the world's largest

  • concentration of geysirs.. geyser as

  • we say in the US , including Old Faithful.

  • Number 2: Yosemite. Not long after Yellowstone,

  • California's Yosemite Valley became a National Park, thanks to the efforts of the legendary naturalist John Muir.

  • You might recognize Yosemite's iconic Half Dome from the wallpaper of your Macintosh,

  • but it's actually a mecca for rock climbers who believe that the

  • 3,000 foot base of El Capitan

  • Is one of the most technical and challenging rock climbs in the world.

  • To learn more about the early days of rock climbing in Yosemite,

  • watch Valley Uprising on Netflix.

  • But even if you don't climb, you can still hike to the top of El Capitan.

  • You just have to apply for a permit.

  • Yosemite is beautiful, but it does get

  • crowded, so let's talk about some of the other National Parks in California

  • that don't get the crowds.

  • Just three hours from Los Angeles and located in the southern section of the

  • Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sequoia National Park is a gem.

  • It's famous for its extremely large, sequoia trees, including General Sherman, over two thousand years old,

  • 275 feet and four million pounds of hardwood, it is the largest tree on earth.

  • In the far northwestern corner of the state,

  • you have Redwood National Park.

  • The redwoods are super cool

  • It is a coastal temperate rain forest, and it has the tallest tree on earth,

  • which was only recently discovered in 2006

  • It's 379 feet tall..that's 115 metres tall.

  • There really is something magical about the redwoods and that may be why George Lucas chose it as the location

  • for The Return of the Jedi ,the forest moon of Endor.

  • So if you like Ewoks,

  • you might want to head to Redwood National Park.

  • Still in California, next let's go to Joshua Tree, a beautiful stretch of desert just east of Los Angeles,

  • named after its indigenous tree, the Joshua Tree.

  • Joshua Tree is an easy 2 hour drive from L.A., and it's super popular for camping, for rock climbing,

  • for photography or for going on a vision quest,

  • if that's what you're into.

  • A lot of people come here right after or

  • before Coachella because that takes place just down the road.

  • But it's a lot better in the winter when it's not that crowded

  • or in springtime when the Joshua tree is blooming.

  • Just make sure you avoid it in the summertime because it's just going to be way too hot.

  • Next up: the Channel Islands National Park

  • For unspoiled California coast, head to the Channel Islands National Park,

  • five wild and remote islands off the coast of Santa Barbara that only recently became a

  • National Park. These Islands are the ancestral home of the Chumash people and

  • they are best explored by either hiking or kayaking.

  • But to get there, you're going to need

  • to take a ferry, which leaves from Ventura and Santa Barbara.

  • On the other side of the U.S., you haveThe Great

  • Smoky Mountains National Park.

  • This is the most popular park in the United States.

  • And that's because it's really easily accessible by car, and it's also the

  • gateway to the Appalachian Mountains.

  • We're 95% forests, which means there's tons of places to camp, to hike.

  • If you really want to get after it,

  • you can actually hike sections of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches 2,000 miles from

  • Georgia in the South all the way up north to Maine.

  • Speaking of Maine, let's talk about Acadia National Park

  • Maine's only National Park is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi,

  • and is supposedly one of the best on the East Coast.

  • It's home to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the eastern seaboard, but it's famous for its trail system,

  • which is the oldest trail system in any national park and has recently restored historic

  • carriageways that are now great for hiking and walking.

  • Plus, it's in Maine which means there's going to be great craft beer

  • and incredible seafood. While you're out there,

  • you're going to have to eat a lobster.

  • Next up: Isle Royale

  • In the Midwest head to the Isle Royale in the Great Lakes.

  • It's one of the least visited national parks of the entire country.

  • That's because it's super isolated Island in the middle of Lake Superior,

  • essentially three to five hour ferry ride from Upper Peninsula, Michigan.

  • We have not been in this part in particular, but the Great Lakes are super beautiful

  • And if you want some unplugged time, it seems to us like the perfect option.

  • Let's heat things up a little bit and head to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

  • Let's just stop for a second and look at that word

  • Hawaii Volcanoes

  • both awesome National Park

  • amazing yes

  • Where else can you get a tan in the morning and photograph molten lava at night?

  • There are two volcanoes in the park,

  • but don't worry Kilauea Volcano is constantly erupting

  • so you're going to have lots of opportunities

  • to watch the earth literally growing an Island.

  • Do not fall in, okay?

  • While we're outside the contiguous 48 states,

  • let's not forget about Alaska, the last true frontier and pure unspoiled wilderness.

  • the Nellie National Park is most popular site in

  • Alaska, and that's for good reason: it contains Mount McKinley,

  • which is the tallest mountain in North America

  • at over 20,000 feet. That's over 6200 meters,

  • and it's also the third most isolated mountain in the entire world after Mount Everest in the Himalaya and

  • Aconcagua in the Argentinian Andes.

  • So you know the mountain has recently been renamed to Denali

  • It was named Mount McKinley by a gold prospector in the 1890s,

  • but it's been called Denali by the indigenous Coe Yukon people for a thousands of years..

  • Denali is its name now.

  • But even if you're not going to summit the peak, it's the perfect place to get off the grid and into the wild which oddly

  • enough is where Chris McCandless, the person from the book and movie Into the Wild

  • actually went into the wild and lived in that abandoned school bus until his untimely

  • death in 1992. The bus is still there for those of you who are willing to trek in.

  • Alaska's other major National Park, Glacier Bay, is on the coast. 3.3 million acres of unspoiled

  • glaciers, mountains, temperate rain forest and deep fjords.

  • Part of Alaska's inside passage is one of the last places where you can actually see a

  • tidewater glacier; that's a glacier that goes all the way down to tideline and

  • sadly in the era of global warming, they're becoming less and less common. If you're planning on visiting

  • Glacier Bay National Park, check out the nearby town of Gustavus.

  • It's a beautiful little fishing town with tons of great bed and breakfast,

  • not to mention some of the best halibut and salmon fishing in Alaska.

  • Another great spot to see glaciers is Glacier National Park in Montana.

  • It's the only national park that spans two countries.

  • It's connected to the Waterton Lakes National Park on the other side in Canada.

  • These two parks were joined together to create the

  • International Peace Park founded in honor of

  • International Peace Building. Creation of the parks is actually kind of funny because it was actually built by this railroad magnate

  • He built a hotel in the National Park ,connected the railroad and then petition for the park to become a national park.

  • And there's actually a ferry that goes to Canada because in the days of Prohibition, you couldn't drink in the U.S.

  • But you could drink in Canada, Waterton National Park.

  • Point is if you want to see glaciers,

  • you shouldn't wait because there're 25 remaining of the original 150 that there were in the 1800s,

  • and it's estimated that by 2030, all those glaciers will disappear.

  • Across the country, Florida's Everglades National Park is

  • perhaps the most geographically distinct park on our list. This 1.5 million acre

  • wetlands is made up of mangroves, and it basically consists of the entire bottom tip of the Florida Peninsula.

  • There's tons of wildlife from manatees to turtles and alligators,

  • which means you probably shouldn't go swimming, but it's perfect for an airboat tour , and

  • supposedly the fishing's not bad either.

  • Another distinctive park is the Badlands named for the unique geographical

  • formation that spans from South Dakota to Alberta and Canada. We've not been to this part,

  • but we have been it's equivalent in Alberta, and the entire area is beautiful.

  • These formations were created by erosion

  • where basically the prairies were peeled back to reveal all the different layers of history dating back

  • 75 million years to the age of the dinosaurs, which means in addition to amazing places for your Instagram photos, there are also

  • legitimate fossils from this was like the dinosaur Garden of Eden.

  • Moving to the Pacific Northwest,

  • don't miss Crater Lake National Park,

  • easily one of the most impressive national parks on this list.

  • The epicenter of the park is Crater Lake, a collapsed volcanic

  • Caldera, which forms America's

  • deepest lake with water so blue you have to see it to believe it.

  • All of the Pacific Northwest is super beautiful,

  • but in Washington state, we're narrowing it down to two really great parks:

  • Olympic and the North Cascades. But which to choose?

  • Choose Olympic National Park if you're looking for

  • geographical diversity.

  • You've got everything from the Pacific Coast where you'll see

  • big beaches full of driftwood up to snow caps alpine peaks and even a temperate rain forest..

  • all within one park. By contrast, North Cascades have some of the best backcountry backpacking in the States....

  • pure undeveloped wilderness of mountains,

  • forests and glaciers. If you're going down Mexico way in Texas, check out Big Bend National Park, which has some of the best preserved

  • Chihuahuan.

  • Wha-wha-Wha one desert in the United States. It's right up against the border with Mexico

  • It goes right along the Rio Grande River. It contains natural hot springs,

  • ancient pictographs that've now been taken over by wildlife.

  • Also in the Chihuahuan Desert in nearby New Mexico are the Carlsbad Caverns-

  • Over a hundred caves full of incredible limestone stalactite and stalagmite formations.

  • If you're closer to Kentucky, you could check out the Mammoth Caves National Park with over

  • 400 miles of caves to explore.

  • Pretty mammoth. It's pretty mammoth.

  • It's actually the world's largest cave system.

  • Generally speaking the Southwest of the United States

  • is where you're going to find some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole country,

  • especially around the Four Corners area,

  • which is the border between Utah, Colorado,

  • New Mexico, and Arizona.

  • First up: Arches National park in Utah. Arches has the world's largest

  • concentration of sandstone arches...

  • over 2,000 of them, resulting from the salt left over from a 300 million year old sea.

  • This is where a Devinsupertramp film That Crazy Rope Swing video. It's just north of Moab, Utah,

  • which is the birthplace of slick rock mountain biking and close to another great part called Canyonlands.

  • Canyonlands is all about dramatic

  • colorful landscapes carved by the Colorado River.

  • It's possible to drive, canoe,

  • bike or hike some seriously remote wilderness.

  • Next up you have Ion like a lion in Zion, National Park.

  • Famous for its canyon is pinkish red sandstone that make it one of the most picturesque

  • National Parks in the Southwest. Of course we can't forget the

  • granddaddy of National Parks: Grand Canyon,

  • which is over a mile deep. It so wide that at no point can you see its entirety. The views are incredible,

  • especially from Horseshoe Bend where you've got take that obligatory Selfie.

  • But if you really want a full experience, get up close by hiking down.

  • You could stay at Phantom Ranch at the bottom or if you're

  • really doing some cool, you could canoe or raft the Colorado River, which would be excellent.

  • A less crowded version of the Grand Canyon is the Black Canyon at Gunnison National Park,

  • which is insanely steep,

  • gorgeous and receives less than 200,000 visitors a year.

  • Also in Colorado is Rocky Mountain National Park,

  • which is within day trip distance from

  • Denver as the single best place to experience America's best mountain range.

  • Other parks on this list are also in the Rockies,

  • Glacier, among others.

  • But none are as high as Rocky Mountain National Park.

  • It's famous for its thirteeners or mountains over

  • 13,000 feet or 4,000 meters.

  • If you're ambitious, hike up to 14,000 foot longest peak, but you can also do a car

  • ride, see them from a distance, easier, better photos. Kind of probably what I would do.

  • One of the most rewarding experiences in the

  • Southwest is learning more about the native American cultures that have long called this part of the United States home, and one of the best

  • places to do that is at the Chaco Culture National Park,

  • the ancestral home of the Hopi and Pueblo people with a wide variety of historical sites.

  • It's also a dark sky park, which is perfect for

  • astrophotography and for getting

  • good glimpse of the stars behind the local legend.

  • And last but certainly not least is Mesa Verde.

  • This is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places in the entire national park system.

  • It's the ancestral homeland of the Pueblo Tribe.....

  • Basically houses they built into the cliff face over 700 years old.

  • You can take a tour of all the houses, even go into some,

  • and it's a great place to visit any time of year.

  • But when we were kids we went there in the wintertime when the snow