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In general, national parks in the US have a large area and they are in total up to 423. Most of them are located in the western part of the USA, where the Rocky Mountains stretch. If you go to any park keep in mind that mostly: 

  • there is no signal 
  • the are shutter buses in the bigger parks 
  • there is a high risk of fire in some places and some tracks can be closed for a season
  • parks are huge and in most of them, there are no gas stations (think about it if you go by car)

Grand Canyon

INFO:  The height of the canyon is 1.6km. The canyon is basically divided into “South Rim” and “North Rim“, which has only about 10% of visitors to the Grand Canyon. Within the south, you can see the Grand Canyon Village and Desert View. There are several treks, you can rent a bike or go rafting. If you are near Williams, there is a train to the Grand Canyon. If you’re in the North Canyon, start at Grand Canyon Lodge patio and then go to Bright Angel Point


GOOD TO KNOW:  You can get to the Grand Canyon in two ways: from Las Vegas on the south road to the South Rim and also from Vegas, but on the north side to the North Rim. Both ways take about 4 hours by car. In the park, they will ask for an Annual pass for a vehicle that you can buy in advance or you can also pay on the spot. The park is huge, there are restaurants, hotels, motels, smaller shops and gas stations. If you are looking for accommodation, of course, there are more campsites and the prices of accommodation in motels range from $ 50 per person. If you want to trek between the North Rim and the South Rim, the distance is 34 km and it takes 4 and a half hours by car. 

Price: Annual pass
Opening hours: nonstop
Official website

Antelope Canyon 

INFO: You can get to the canyon only if you pay for the tour, going there without a guide is forbidden. It’s not just because of business, but also because there were a lot of people who destroyed the canyon. They have been organizing these tours since 1997.

GOOD TO KNOW: There are basically two canyons, the upper and the lower. The lower one is more beautiful and wider, there is also more light than in the upper one, that it is quite narrow and around 2 pm it is already dark in some parts. Also in the lower are ladders upper is less demanding. You should arrive at the place 30 minutes before the tour starts and check-in, so they know you are present and they don’t let other people go instead of you. Because if you don’t wait at least 10 minutes before the start of the tour, they will replace you with other people. You can only pay in cash, however, in the lower, they accept credit cards. 

The best time to go to the canyon is in the morning or around lunch when the sun shines directly into the canyon. We had booked a tour at 2 pm in the Upper canyon, but we came earlier and they offered us spots at 1 pm, so we took them. We wanted to go to the Lower Canyon, but about a month before all the dates were booked. To be sure, we also went to ask, as the canyons are only a few meters apart, but they told us that we could sit in line and when it happened that they had a free spot, they would call us. There were 10 other people waiting in line, and if it were our turn, it would be already dark in the canyon.

If you are planning to go to Monument Valley on the same day and show a ticket from Antelope Canyon you should have free entry. But I haven’t verified it, just a guide told us in Antelope Canyon, and since both parks belong to Navajo, it can be quite likely. Also, keep in mind that the places are two hours apart. 

The Upper Antelope canyon 

The tour takes about an hour and a 10-minute jeep ride will take you to the beginning of the canyon. You will be in a group of around ten people and a guide stops at several places in the canyon so that everyone can take photos. He will also tell you some interesting facts, as well. Tripods, drones, or selfie sticks are not allowed and you should definitely take a bottle of water. But keep in mind, that you will have to leave your backpacks in the jeep because the canyon is really narrow. You can only take a small bag with you, which will not take a lot of space. From my own experience, I can say that holding a bottle in your hand all the time and carrying a bigger camera is quite annoying. As an alternative, you can also keep the water in the jeep. 

Price: $ 60 per person, $ 75 per person at 11:30 (Beam of light)
Opening hours: 6:00 – 20:00 every day 
Fun fact: The official tour website says that it is forbidden to pour ash after the survivors in the canyon. Yes, it’s supposed to happen there. 

Lower Antelope Canyon

Here, you can choose two agencies, Ken´s tour or Dixie Ellis. The first one has better reviews. The tour lasts from an hour to an hour and a half. Unlike Upper, you don’t go there by jeep, you have to walk to the canyon for about 10 minutes. The rules are basically the same as in the Upper. The canyon is entered by stairs down, that’s why it is called lower. 

The price:  $ 50 per person
Time: 1 hour – 1 and a half
Opening hours: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm every day 

Horseshoe Bend 

INFO: It’s basically a canyon that has a shape of a horseshoe, naturally, and is crossed by the Colorado River. The view is from a cliff 300 meters high. The canyon does not belong to any of the national parks, it is only part of the Glen Canyon recreation area. 

GOOD TO KNOW: Located 4 miles from the town of Page, just off the main road, where there is a turn to the parking lot. There is no charge for parking or entry, so you can go there at any time. However, they have written on the official website that they plan to start collecting an entrance fee in the future. It is only a 10 to 15 minutes walk from the parking lot to the canyon. 

Fun fact: The sand and stones heat up during the day so much that if you put on your sandals, they can melt along the way. 

Price: free 
Time: 30 min – 1 hour
Opening hours: nonstop

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park 

INFO: Located on the border of Utah and Arizona. This park is part of the Navajo Nation territory in the United States. This means that it does not fall under the United States National Parks system but under the Navajo Indian tribe. Therefore, the Annual Pass to this park is not valid, and if you want to cross the park by car, you have to pay a fee. The sandstone rocks themselves have a height of 400 – 1,000 ft. They were formed over millions of years by the action of water and wind. 

GOOD TO KNOW: The park can also be crossed in a classic car, preferably a 4×4, it is not good if it has a low chassis. If you do not dare to own a car, resp. borrowed, you can always pay for an hour’s tour. The park has a total of about 27 views, but one of the most beautiful is John Ford’s Point. If you want to go by car, the best thing to do is not to arrive too late, the road is 17 miles long and you have to drive slowly, so leave at least 3 hours to cross the whole park. You can also buy tickets online and you don’t have to wait in line. If you don’t have enough time, if you come to the parking lot, you will run to the end of it and you have a beautiful view of the whole valley. It is forbidden to climb rocks and shoot a drone in the park.


  • $ 20 / car for up to 4 people and $ 6 for each additional person
  • $ 10 to enter on foot, bike, or motorbike
  • another option is to book a guided tour, where you cross the valley by jeep with a guide, prices range from about $ 80.

Time: 30 min – 3 h
Opening hours: 6:00 – 20:00 every day 

Forrest Gump point

If you have time and want to walk along the road where Tom Hanks ran in Forrest Gump movie, it’s exactly half an hour by car from Monument Valley in the opposite direction. 

Bryce Canyon 

INFO: Bryce canyon is actually not a real canyon, because it was not formed from soil erosion, but it is mostly like a natural amphitheater. It is located in the state of Utah and also falls under a national park. It is one of the less-visited canyons due to its remote location. 

GOOD TO KNOW: The shutter busses run free of charge around the park from 8 am to 8 pm and it takes them about an hour to make a circuit. So if you don’t have much time to spend in the park, it’s better to go by car. There are two campsites in the park. Bryce Canyon has 12 point views and it takes at least 3 hours to visit them all. It is definitely worth stopping at Inspiration Point, which is also quite close to the entrance. In addition, there are many treks in the park, but sometimes they are closed due to fires. Always check it on the official website before arrival.

Price: Annual Pass 
Time: 2 hours – several days
Opening hours: nonstop

Official website

Zion National Park

INFO: Zion is considered the first national park in the state of Utah. It has 590 km2 and the road leads on some parts through a 1-mile-long tunnel, which has windows with a view. In Zion, you can admire not only the mountains but also slot canyons, natural monoliths, and arches, which are some of the largest in the world. There were even cave wall murals. The canyon is also a paradise for experienced climbers. 

GOOD TO KNOW: In addition to the visitor center, there is also a Human History Museum in the park. It is best to go by car, although you must be lucky to find a parking space. If you don’t want to walk long routes, then it’s definitely worth going to the Canyon Overlook Trail. You can get there by going straight along the main road behind the visitor center, and parking in the parking lot behind the tunnel. Don’t miss the sign, we found it only the second time when we accidentally left the park and asked for the direction. From this parking lot, you just hit a smaller path and in about an hour you will see a beautiful view of a valley. The most famous trail is definitely Angels Landing, it is a bit longer, about 4 hours, and after the visitor center, you need to turn left. By the way, this trial is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. But a view from a cliff of 453 m above the river is worth risking.

Again, try to follow the alerts and current conditions, a  few years ago this trail was closed in the summer. Information on all treks, their duration, or difficulty levels can be found on this link.

Price: Annual Pass 
Time: 2 hours – several days
Opening hours: nonstop

Sequoia National Park 

INFO: This national park is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains and its area is 1,635 km². The park is characterized by huge redwoods and is known for the largest tree in the world, General Sherman. Get ready for a lot of black bears in the park. Better don’t leave the food in a visible place, when the bear sees the food, it can be quite aggressive, in 2010 they had to kill four bears. The park has about 200 caves in which unique animals have been found that do not live anywhere else in the world. If you wanted to cross the whole park on the main road from the northern entrance to the southern one without a break, it would take about two hours.

GOOD TO KNOW: Overall, it may be harder to navigate around, all the parks are huge and moreover when you want to see a lot of things within only one day. Therefore, I recommend looking in advance at the route to catch at least the main things. If you take a bus, there is a museum at the Giant forest stop, where you will find everything about sequoias, and the next stop is the Moro Rock Trail, where you will have a beautiful view. You can get there by car if you turn right behind the museum to the only side road. A popular fallen tree with a carved hole across the path is called Tunnel Log. The road to the park itself from the visitor center is quite long and mostly twisting. It takes about half an hour. If you want to see General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, you’ll probably need to stand in a line. The only cave that is open to the public is Crystal Cave. It takes about an hour to walk through it, it is a little further from the main road and you pay for entry.

Fun fact: In the park, they regularly start fires in redwood groves. Despite trying to protect the trees, they have found that contact with fire helps them reproduce. 

Not a fun fact: Sequoia Park has the worst air quality of any national park. High ozone levels reach “unhealthy” levels at some hilltops and can affect the respiratory system. 

Price: Annual Pass 
Time: 3 hours – several days
Opening hours: nonstop

Official website

Yosemite National Park 

INFO: It is one of the most iconic and largest national parks in America. The park is typical for its granite rock formations and waterfalls and was founded in the 19th century. In addition, you can also find huge redwoods, and meadows surrounded by mountains, lakes, or hidden canyons. 

GOOD TO KNOW: The park is open all year round and has several campsites. There are also shutter buses, as in most American parks. If you plan to stay for only one day, be sure to check the information to see if any treks are closed or specific waterfalls are dry (because that happens). You can easily get to the park by car, the parking lots are quite crowded during the high season. Water and winter sports and volunteering are available in the park. 

Fun fact: For example, if you want to climb the Half Dome, you must have a license from a lottery and pay $20 if you get a license. 

Price: Annual Pass 
Time: 3 hours – several days
Opening hours: nonstop

Official web

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