If the United States is often seen as the nation of modernity where skyscrapers line up on vast commercial arteries, the country has managed to stay close to nature by conserving and enhancing its national territory to the best of its ability. This is how the concept of a national park was created, the United States having today 61 of them on its territory. Nature is preserved, tourism is controlled and the landscapes are oversized! Real American-style scenery where you can see mountains, canyons, cacti and green forests. From Alaska to California, here is our selection of the most beautiful American national parks
Monument Valley, a sacred site
Straddling Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley is a sacred site for the Navajo Indians. Loaded with mysteries, this landscape, whose colours change according to the time of day - at sunset, it's a veritable spectacle where the red of the sun blends with the orange dust of the desert - has inspired many directors who have come here to shoot films as mythical as Back to the Future III, Forrest Gump or Mission Impossible II.
Sequoia National Park, in the shadow of giants
On the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California lie the 163,000 hectares of Sequoia National Park. This park has provided protection for the giant redwoods that populate the site, especially from the devastating fires that used to ravage it. It is home to the largest trees on the planet, including the 3,000-year-old General Shermann Tree, which is 90 m high and 11 m in circumference. And don't count on climbing it, since its first branch is 40 m above the ground!
Grand Canyon National Park, mythical
Sculpted by the mighty Colorado, the Grand Canyon is gigantic: it stretches over 450 km between Lake Powell and Lake Mead in Arizona. Admiring its 1,300-meter depth is an experience in itself. In fact, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited sites in the United States. It's difficult to know its history, even if its forty layers of rock can be traced back 1.7 billion years!
Zion National Park, jewel of Utah
In southwestern Utah, Zion National Park spans three counties: Washington, Iron, and Kane. Its breathtaking scenery makes it one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. Its imposing rock formations, whose colors can vary from white to orange, were shaped by the Virgin River. Along with the various archaeological areas that have been excavated, they give the park a first-rate importance
Yellowstone National Park, a plural beauty
As big as Corsica, it is the oldest national park in the United States and in the world. The Yellowstone, in Wyoming, owes its name to the yellow colour of the cliffs of its Grand Canyon. But even more than the colour of its stones, this park is known for its intense geothermal activity (geysers, fumaroles...) and its wildlife, including wolves, pumas and bison, among others. To discover this mythical site, take the Grand Loop Road which connects all the must-see places in the park
Yosemite National Park, the incomparable valley
Yosemite is a glacial valley offering a suggestive landscape. The surrounding mountains and sequoia forests form a setting where more than 1,300 species of plants and a fauna composed of endemic species such as the puma, Virginia opossum or brown bear are embedded. Among the mythical sites of Yosemite is El Capitan, a mythical wall in the climbing world.
Death Valley National Park, Death Valley
Its rather distressing name is well known to all: the Valley of Death was named for its total aridity. All the beauties of the desert can be found there, to be discovered with a new eye depending on the time of day. The sun indeed changes perspectives and colours. Along the road, it is a real American road trip that offers itself to the travellers, from arid canyons to sand dunes. Mythical!
Everglades National Park, between land and marshland
In Florida, the Everglades are a bewitching site. Covering more than 565,000 hectares, this stretch of water that joins the sea is a concentrate of life, although there is a restful silence. Rare fauna and flora, such as the Florida panther or the American crocodile, are particularly endangered. A national park where temperate and subtropical climates meet, giving rise to a unique natural wealth
Arches National Park, a museum of erosion
The dozens of natural arches you will see in this Utah National Park were formed by water, fire, ice and wind. The red sandstone has taken on spectacular shapes that we never tire of admiring. As is often the case, the must is of course to go there at sunset when the lights want to change, a play of light and shade is set up to create a unique show
Denali National Park, land of ice
South of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, Denali National Park covers 24,500 km2. A glacial land covered with forests and lakes, this park is home to Denali - or Mount McKinley - the highest mountain in North America (6,194 m), and one of the most difficult to climb in the world because of its extreme temperatures. Only the most trained climbers will attempt to reach its summit, the others will admire its constantly snow-covered peak from afar
Mesa Verde National Park, an archaeological nugget
On the border of Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park was created in 1906 to preserve the remains of the Anasazi Indians, including their cliff-top villages. The first of these cave dwellings date back to 550 B.C. and some are still visible. A site of archaeological interest, therefore, but also of cultural interest since it is one of the rare examples of Amerindian culture still visible today
Great Sand Dunes National Park, a unique relief
In Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes National Park offers an enchanting landscape like few other national parks. Imagine driving through an absolutely deserted landscape when, suddenly, golden dunes suddenly appear in contrast to the green of the mountains in the background. We stop and take the time to climb on one of these dunes to watch the sunrise or sunset: success guaranteed!
Bryce Canyon National Park, a natural amphitheater
More than a canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park is an open-air amphitheater in Utah. Formed by erosion on the eastern part of the Paunsaugunt plateau, this natural sculpture of rocky needles is a thousand colours, from pink to white, grey, orange or blue. The Rim Trail, which passes through some of the most spectacular sites in the park, is an eye-opening experience
Grand Teton, mother nature in the heart of Wyoming
French-speaking Canadians gave this name to this 4,197-metre peak in the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. This high, snow-covered range is dotted with twelve peaks (the famous nipples) overlooking the Snake River. The slopes are marked by scree slopes, waterfalls and glaciers. There are also many lakes, the largest of which is Jackson Lake, which covers 10,300 ha. The wildlife is protected there, we see in particular beavers skillfully building their dams!
Big Bend National Park, a land to discover
Located on the Rio Grande River in Texas, on the Mexican border, Big Bend National Park is one of the least frequented national parks in the United States, which is one of its strong points! What a joy to visit, in the calm, this very well preserved park where desert (the one of Chihuahua), mountains and canyons are mixed. This diversity of landscapes was particularly favourable to the development of a varied fauna where mountain lions, pumas and roadrunner (the Californian cuckoo) reign as masters