My bucket list is heavily weighted toward visiting all the National Parks and as many National Historic sites and military parks as I can drag my husband to in our lifetime and with our RV. Not only do I want to visit them, but I want to learn about them as much as I can, too. Fun facts are a great way to do just that!
There are so many: Of the 423 national park sites, 63 are designated “National Parks.” For a list of all the National Parks, click here. All are chosen for their beauty and uniqueness.
Since President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone as our first National Park in 1872, millions of people have come to visit and love these special places in our nation.
Enjoy these nine short fun facts about our National Park’s wonders.
1. Yellowstone National Park’s supervolcano
Yellowstone is home to a supervolcano that is thousands of times more powerful than a standard, run-of-the-mill volcano. Two million years ago it pushed magma through the crust in present-day Yellowstone. The world was covered in ash. Although it may never erupt again, hot lava is still moving just below the surface and results in the 10,000 hydrothermal areas with their 500 geysers, including the beloved Old Faithful.
2. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the only one named after a president
This is the only National Park named after a president, or a person, for that matter. Roosevelt had a home in North Dakota and is known as a strong supporter of the National Park system. He designated 200 National Parks while in office. It has a beautiful otherworldly presence with massive bison casually strolling the roads.
3. North Cascades National Park has the most glaciers in the contiguous U.S.
Here’s a National Park fact I bet you didn’t know: Washington’s North Cascades has 300 glaciers and a heavy annual snowfall that helps the glaciers survive and continue to grow. It is one of the snowiest places on Earth! Might want to visit in the summer. Alaska is the only state with more glaciers.
4. Mesa Verde National Park has 5,000 archaeological sites
Colorado’s Mesa Verde has 600 cliff dwellings and is one of only 12 UNESCO-designated sites worldwide. It was home to the Ancestral Pueblo peoples in southwestern Colorado from 550 to 1300. Farming terraces, rock art, and shrines are still evident.
5. Arches National Park has more than 2,000 arches
Arches National Park has more arches than anywhere else in the world. It took about 65 million years for a plate shift, wind, and rain to erode the sandstone into the fabulous arches we see today. As they grow and widen, they collapse into columns. Each year they are a little different and in 50 years may change completely.
6. American Samoa is the least-visited National Park
The National Park of American Samoa includes four islands, rainforests, coral reefs and the endangered Flying Fox fruit bat. It is the only American National Park Service system unit south of the equator. It is exceptional for hikers and snorkelers. Samoa means “sacred earth.”
7. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited
Great Smoky Mountain National Park has more than 14 million visitors a year. It is open year-round, 24 hours a day, and has no entrance fee. It is known for its spectacular scenery, hiking, camping, and fishing.
8. Death Valley National Park is the hottest
Death Valley recorded the hottest temperature on Earth, at 134.1 degrees. An average summer day can be a balmy 115 – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The winter and spring months are beautiful, with much lower temps. Don’t forget lots of water and sunscreen—there is none in Badwater Basin!
9. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has the most active volcano in the world
Mount Kilauea is the world’s most active volcano. It has been erupting since 1983 in various degrees. This past summer there were multiple volcano eruptions with new lava flows down the mountain and into the ocean. Pele is honored as the goddess of volcanoes and fire.
Do you have any National Park facts or tidbits you can share? Please do in the comments.
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Thank you, Nanci! No, nothing to add. Thanks again!
Ditto to Neal…
According to a National Geographic article published last week, the three least visited national parks are all in Alaska–Gates of the Arctic, Lake Clark, and Kobuk Valley NPs. The fact that none are on a road network and must be visited by bush plane may have something to do with the lack of visitors.
Our National Park system is a wonderful gift to the future. And it takes $$$ to care for it
True that. 👍
Great Smokey mountains has an entrance fee if you stop for more than 15 minutes. We paid 15.00 dollars for 3 days
Unless you walk into Great Smokey Mountain Park you have parking fees.