15 U.S. National Parks You Should Follow on Instagram

With the U.S. National Park Service celebrating its centennial this year, it’s a good time to take a moment to appreciate the majestic beauty of our national parks.

Of the 59 parks, I am highlighting 15 that I believe produce the best Instagram accounts.

After all, scrolling through photos of beautiful landscapes on Instagram is the cheapest vacation for your mind!

#1 Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado

This account is populated by photos of mountain vistas and elk spotted along Trail Ridge Road, which winds up to a high point above 12,000 feet in elevation. Shots of gleaming water bodies such as Emerald Lake, Sky Pond, Odessa Lake, and Lily Lake are featured. Hikers wander across mountain trails.

@brandonexplores took this shot at sunrise, but we think it's just as great to check out at sunset. #rmnp

A post shared by Rocky Mountain National Park (@rockynps) on

 

#2 Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

Bison, grizzly bears, pelicans and wolves wander through the account of the nation’s first national park. Natural wonders make appearances, such as steaming hot springs and waterfalls. Geysers, including Old Faithful, erupt in front of crowds of tourists.

 

#3 Yosemite National Park – California

Imposing granite monolith rock formations loom over deep valleys and verdant meadows. The park is also famous for its dramatic waterfalls and giant sequoia trees. Wildflowers dot the impressive landscape. Wildlife such as the California spotted owl make appearances.

 

#4 Glacier National Park – Montana

Stunning blue lakes dot the craggy landscapes. The juxtaposition of water and mountains dominates many of the photos, with the former offering stunning mirror images of the latter. Glaciers  and mountain snow create a wintry landscape.

 

#5 Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

The textured ridges of the Grand Canyon spread out under open skies in photo after photo. The Little Colorado and larger Colorado River cut through the dramatic landscapes. This is a geologist’s dream.

 

#6 Zion National Park – Utah

The Zion Canyon offers similar landscape views as the Grand Canyon. Wildlife such as the California condor, Mexican spotted owl,nighthawk, and rattlesnakes also make appearances.

 

#7 Big Bend National Park – Texas

The mighty Rio Grande River cuts through canyons and a desert landscape. The Chisos Mountains also loom in photos. Vegetation pictured includes cactus, prickly pear, ocotillo, and lechugilla. Wildlife include the gray fox, roadrunner, and hummingbird.

 

#8 Great Smoky Mountains – North Carolina and Tennessee

America’s most visited national park posts plenty of closeup photos of flowers and black bears, sweeping southern Appalachian landscape at sunrise and sunset. Fog floating across the mountains reflects the park name.

 

#9 Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah

Orange-hued towering rock spires (or hoodoos) loom in Bryce Canyon, cutting a dramatic scene day or night. They pierce both bright blue skies and starry nights.

Amazing view of the #Hoodoos silhouetted by the cosmos. Thanks for the capture @prevailz #brycecanyonnps #discoverBryce

A post shared by Bryce Canyon National Park (@brycecanyonnps) on

 

#10 Kenai Fjords National Park – Alaska

This lesser-known park features impressive frozen ice, glaciers and orcas (killer whales) frolicking in cold Alaskan waters. The massive Harding ice field is the park’s most dominant feature. Puffins, moose, and sea otters also make appearances. This is a winter wonderland!

 

#11 Lake Clark National Park – Alaska

Mountains, granite spires, and clear blue waters spread out under the Alaskan sky. Wildlife include lynx, sockeye salmon, brown bears,  foxes, and mink.

 

#12 Olympic National Park – Washington

The park encompasses the Olympic Peninsula along the Pacific Ocean. Photos feature the diversity of verdant forest, craggy mountains, lakes, and wildlife.

 

#13 Saguaro National Park – Arizona

This Southwestern park is home to the iconic and large saguaro cactus. Many of the photos feature the saguaro as the star of the show, contrasting against the sky in full light, at sunset, or nighttime.

 

#14 Mount Rainier National Park – Washington

The iconic Mount Rainier volcano looms in the backdrop of many of the park photos. The park features mountaineers maneuvering through wintry snowscapes and hikers wandering through lush green forests.

 

#15 North Cascades National Park – Washington

Cascading waterfalls, snow-capped mountain peaks, and glaciers shine in this profile. The photos make it clear why the region is nicknamed the “American Alps.”

 

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