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The Perfect Road Trip to See Every National Park in the U.S.

Yosemite National Park, United States

Imagine seeing all the US national parks in one epic road trip.

It’s no easy task to plan the perfect itinerary… so we did the heavy-lifting for you. Well actually, Randal did. He created the most efficient cross-country route that hits all 47 national parks within the contiguous US.

Photo by Randal Olson

Randal Olson, a data scientist (and avid road tripper) based out of Portland, Oregon, computed the optimal national park road trip in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. It’s a loop around the country, making it easy for you to pick up anywhere and head in whichever direction you’d like.

Oljato-Monument Valley, United States

There’s no official start and finish for this trip, but here’s a list of the national parks included:

  1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  2. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  3. Saguaro National Park, Arizona
  4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  5. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  6. Big Bend National Park, Texas
  7. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
  8. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  10. Everglades National Park, Florida
  11. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
  12. Biscayne National Park, Florida
  13. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
  14. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  15. Acadia National Park, Maine
  16. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
  17. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
  18. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
  19. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
  20. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  21. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
  22. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  23. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
  24. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
  25. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  26. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  27. Arches National Park, Utah
  28. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
  29. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  30. Zion National Park, Utah
  31. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
  32. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  33. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  34. Glacier National Park, Montana
  35. North Cascades National Park, Washington
  36. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  37. Olympic National Park, Washington
  38. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  39. Redwood National and State Parks, California
  40. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
  41. Yosemite National Park, California
  42. Kings Canyon National Park, California
  43. Sequoia National Park, California
  44. Pinnacles National Park, California
  45. Channel Islands National Park, California
  46. Joshua Tree National Park, California
  47. Death Valley National Park, California
Jordan Pond Path, Acadia National Park, United States

Olson says if you move “at breakneck pace,” you can complete the route in about two months. This trip is perfect for seniors, vanlifers, RVers, or folks on extended vacation. For the rest of us, start racking up your vacation days! And be sure to check out Olson’s original


Mt. Rainier National Park, United States

Interested in purchasing an annual pass and saving money on entrance fees? Order one online ahead of your visit. It covers you and all passengers in your vehicle (including rental car or RV). Just a single trip nearly covers the cost of the pass. Get it now.

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Posted on

March 9, 2020

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