5 best national parks to hike

By April 1, 2016Hike

2016 marks the centennial of the United States National Park Service. Sites around the country preserve the history and natural beauty of the United States for visitors from around the world.

To honor the centennial, the National Park Service is hosting several events and opening up the parks free to the general public on select days. Here are some of the best national parks for you to make good use of your Swiftwick socks and get your fill of the outdoors!

1. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Just an hour and a half north of Nashville, Tennessee, Mammoth Cave offers the longest network of caves in North America. Join a park ranger for a guided tour, ranging from 2 miles to the 5-mile Wild Cave tour underneath Kentucky.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee

Three hours east of Nashville is the Great Smoky Mountains, filled with trails and hikes ranging from easy to difficult. Guided tours are available but do feel free to explore on your own.

3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Probably one of the most famous national parks, the Grand Canyon in Arizona provides incredible vistas and exciting hikes. Ride a mule down to the bottom of the canyon or even just walk; there is plenty to see and do!

4. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite offers stunning waterfalls and strenuous climbs for even the most experienced hikers. There are certainly trails for those looking for something a little less difficult, so do not let the multitude of mountains deter you.

5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Idaho/Montana

What list of national parks would be complete without mentioning the first national park? Yellowstone features plenty of bison, geysers and mountains for you to explore.

Because of the centennial, the National Park Service is offering more fee-free days than ever before.

  • April 16-24: National Park Week
  • August 25-28: National Park Birthday Week
  • September 24: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veteran’s Day

So slip on your Swiftwick socks and strap on your hiking shoes and enjoy what the United States has to offer!