List of U.S. National Parks


About U.S. National Parks

The National Park Service, an agency of the United States Department of the Interior, operates 59 protected areas comprising nearly 52 million acres of land known as National Parks.

The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service. Its purpose is “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife, and to provide for the enjoyment and to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Criteria for Selection

The criteria for the selection of a national park include the following:

  • The overall natural beauty of the area
  • The unique geological features of the area
  • The existence of unusual ecosystems within the area
  • Recreational opportunities

All of these criteria are considered in the selection process, but those chosen do not necessarily need all these characteristics to qualify.

The U.S. Congress is responsible for designating protected areas as National Parks. However, the former President, Donald Trump, signed an executive order to remove some previously protected areas. The Biden administration is expected to restore the protections.

List of National Parks in the United States

There are a total of 59 national parks in 27 states. Yellow Stone was the first area to be officially designated as such.

Of course, some of the parks span multiple states, such as Yellowstone (which spans portions of three states, including Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming). Also, the Great Smoky Mountains span through portions of both North Carolina and Tennessee).

California has the most of any state. Yet, the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee tend to draw the most visitors each year.

Following is a list that is broken down by state:


  • Denali
  • Gates of the Arctic
  • Glacier Bay
  • Katmai
  • Kenai Fjords
  • Kobuk Valley
  • Lake Clark
  • Wrangell-St. Elias


  • Grand Canyon
  • Petrified Forest
  • Saguaro


  • Hot Springs


  • Channel Islands
  • Death Valley (part is located in Nevada)
  • Joshua Tree
  • Kings Canyon
  • Lassen Volcanic
  • Redwood
  • Sequoia
  • Yosemite


  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Great Sand Dunes
  • Mesa Verde
  • Rocky Mountain


  • Biscayne
  • Dry Tortugas
  • Everglades


  • Haleakala
  • Hawaii Volcanoes


  • Yellowstone (spans portions of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana)


  • Mammoth Cave


  • Acadia National – Established in 1919


  • Isle Royale


  • Voyageurs


  • Glacier
  • Yellowstone National Park  (spans portions of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana)


  • Death Valley (also located in California)
  • Great Basin

New Mexico

  • Carlsbad Caverns

North Carolina

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park  (spans portions of Tennessee and North Carolina)

North Dakota

  • Theodore Roosevelt


  • Cuyahoga Valley


  • Crater Lake


  • Great Smoky Mountains (spans portions of Tennessee and North Carolina)


  • Shenandoah

South Carolina

  • Congaree

South Dakota

  • Badlands
  • Wind Cave


  • Big Bend
  • Guadalupe Mountains


  • Arches – Established in 1971
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Canyonland
  • Capitol Reef
  • Zion


  • Mount Rainier
  • North Cascades
  • Olympic


  • Grand Teton
  • Yellowstone National Park  (spans portions of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana)

US Territories

  • American Samoa (located in American Samoa Territory)
  • Virgin Islands (located in the US Virgin Islands)

More Information

If you would like to learn more, please visit Wikipedia. And, if you like lists, view our Lists of Lists category.

Questions and Comments

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