Avoid the Crowds and Enjoy the Cool Fall Temperatures
For more than a century, the national parks have been favorite vacation spots for US travelers. Aside from their stunning natural beauty, unique land formations and historical landmarks, national parks are fantastic in the fall. Autumn leaves magnify to their attraction through panoramas of vibrant colors.
Seasonal changes also bring a different form of light, which adds to the stunning beauty of fall foliage as it bathes the landscape in rich hues. If you haven’t visited a national park in autumn, you’re missing out on a fabulous time of year. You can avoid the sweltering summer heat along with the crowds of visitors, and at the same time, take advantage of cheaper off-season rates.
Better yet, gather up a group of friends or family and charter a bus. You’ll get to view the countryside along the way and not miss a moment of the scenery.
Why Did the United States Create National Parks?
In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service as a bureau in the Department of the Interior. National parks have the purpose of conserving nature, the scenery, historical monuments and reservations along with protecting wildlife and creating enjoyment for visitors and future generations.
The park system currently has more than 400 park areas throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. Total park areas comprise more than 84 million acres.
Top National Parks to Visit
Not all travel guides agree on which are the top 10 National Parks, but there are an abundance of parks to choose from. Here are some popular choices.
Acadia National Park
To see the first point of sunrise in the continental United States, take a trip to Arcadia National park and drive up to Cadillac Mountain. The road up the mountain is open during October and November but closes in December, so be sure to plan ahead. You’ll have a beautiful view of the sunrise from 1,530 feet.
You can also hit the hiking trails and take in a vast array of wildlife or visit some of the seaside villages.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
According to National Geographic, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited US parks, drawing about 11 million visitors a year. The park spans across Tennessee and North Carolina and contains more than 800 miles of hiking trails.
From the diverse wildlife, flowers that bloom year-round to the traces of Appalachia culture in some of America’s oldest mountains, there is plenty to see and do.
Grand Canyon National Park
Photographers have tried to capture the magnificence of the Grand Canyon but nothing compares with seeing it in person. Listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona and is one of the planet’s deepest canyons. It ranges an average depth of one mile and spans an average width of 10 miles.
People come from all over the world to see the Grand Canyon with an estimated 6 million visitors per year.
Fewer crowds of people visit in the fall and the canyon takes on an extraordinary aura in the shorter days of autumn light. Unlike the heat of summer hiking, you’ll find that hiking the South Rim’s Inner Canyon trails is more pleasant during cooler fall weather.
Yosemite National Park
Over 4 million people visit Yosemite each year, and it is one of the oldest federally preserved lands in the country, founded by John Muir in 1890 before the National Park Service existed. Located in the California Sierra Nevada mountain range, the park is graced by giant sequoia trees, cascading waterfalls and huge granite cliffs.
El Capitan and Half Dome are unique rock formations and are two of the park’s most famous attractions.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Located in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses diverse ecosystems such as wetlands, 450 miles of streams, 150 lakes, pine forests and alpine tundra. Approximately 4 million people visit the park every year. There is much for visitors to see, including its enormous peaks, aspen and pine forests and abundant wildlife, including black bears, moose and big horn sheep. According to Time, Rocky Mountain National Park is a hiking paradise.
The highest mountain in the park is Longs Peak, which towers at 14,259 feet. A variety of hiking trails are available for seeing breathtaking panoramic views of Longs Peak and other areas.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park, located in Utah, is also very popular with approximately 4.5 million people visiting in 2016. For hardy and daring hikers, Zion has a huge draw with its rock towers, canyons carved out of sandstone, and steep cliffs. Some hiking areas require jaunts over boulders or repelling down rocks and even a bit of swimming to traverse the trail. In the Narrows, which earned its name for being the narrowest portion of Zion Canyon, you’ll see the classic sandstone slot canyons carved by the Virgin River.
Stunning views of waterfalls, rock formations and basin water pools are among the highlights that draw many visitors.
Yellowstone National Park
Ranked number one by US News, Yellowstone has long been one of America’s favorite national parks. The park spans 2.2 million acres and visitors come to enjoy the geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, canyons, lakes, mountains, green forests and sprawling meadows. Old Faithful is a must-see with its water shooting to a height of about 130 feet. Its name is indicative of the geyser’s predictable schedule. On most days, the geyser erupts around the same time.
Of course the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is another main attraction. The canyon stretches a mile wide and spans for approximately 20 miles.
Glacier National Park
True to the park’s name, a glacier carved the many remnants we see throughout the park today. Glacier National Park boasts more than 700 lakes and many waterfalls. The park contains two mountain ranges and is also nicknamed the “Crown of the Continent.” Located in Montana and bordering Canada, the park spans more than a million acres.
For one of the earth’s most fantastic drives, ride the Going to the Sun Road.
Grand Teton National Park
Named after the Grand Teton mountain range, where the park is located, the Grand Teton National Park has stunning typography with snow-capped mountain peaks towering 7,000 feet over Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley below. While there are many mountains in the range, the mountain called Grand Teton is truly grand, rising to 13,770 feet. More than 200 miles of trails take hikers through scenic prairies and mountainous areas.
U.S. News & World Report ranks the Grand Teton National Park as one of the 10 best national parks in the world.
Bryce Canyon National Park
For unusual rock formations, you can’t beat Bryce Canyon, located in southwestern Utah. Erosion has carved out odd shaped spires called hoodoos, and more exist in Bryce Canyon than anywhere else on the globe. You’ll see horseshoe shaped canyons, slot canyons and a dozen amphitheaters, all of which appear unworldly in their bizarre forms.
Inspiration Point provides a stunning amphitheater view but there are no trails because the cliffs are extremely dangerous with sheer drop-offs and slippery slopes. You’ll see rows of hoodoos at Silent City, which is located near Sunset Point. Sunrise Point and Bryce Point are also famous spots for viewing spectacular hoodoos.
Make Plans for Your Fall Trip to a National Park
Take a fall trip with friends and family to visit a national park. It’s a great time of the year for a group getaway.
Group travel offers a number of advantages, and by chartering a bus everyone can enjoy the ride.
US Coachways is the largest charter bus provider in the nation, and we provide service to national parks all over the country. Choose from our wide selection the perfect vehicle for your group trip.
Why rent a bus? Consider the following reasons:
- Traveling stress-free. You don’t have to figure out which route is best, struggle with navigating traffic, spend hours at the wheel, find parking places or worry about designating sober drivers. Traveling in a caravan of cars also creates other headaches, which you can avoid by chartering a bus; headaches such as waiting for those who arrive late, get lost or by mistake go a different route.
- Putting safety first. Charter buses have the lowest accident rates of any type of ground travel. Your professional driver can help you reach your destination and return home safely.
- Saving on expenses. When everyone divides up the travel costs, you’ll discover how affordable a charter bus really is. Plus, US Coachways offers a price match guarantee, or your travel is free.
Charter Your Vehicle Today
If you have questions, give us a call and one of our agents can assist you. Call our toll-free number at 1-888-340-9122 and tell us about your travel plans. We’ll help you work out the details.