Best time for
As the temperatures start to warm up, many people begin to plan their national park visits for the upcoming year. But, when is the best time to visit? Depending on the park and your interests, some months may be better than others. Here are some things to consider when deciding which months to visit national parks.
- Crowds: If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (May-June and September-October). The parks are less crowded, the weather is still mild, and you can enjoy the scenery without fighting for a spot.
- Weather: If you want to avoid extreme weather conditions, avoid visiting in the winter months, when many parks are closed due to heavy snowfall. Summer months can also be incredibly hot, especially in desert parks like Joshua Tree and Death Valley.
- Wildlife: If you're hoping to see wildlife, consider visiting during the fall months, when animals are most active. In Yellowstone National Park, for example, the elk rut (mating season) takes place in September and October.
- Scenery: If you're interested in seeing the parks at their most beautiful, visit during the spring months when wildflowers are in bloom or during the fall months when the leaves change color. However, keep in mind that popular parks like Yosemite and Zion can be incredibly crowded during these times.
- Activities: If you're interested in hiking and outdoor activities, summer months may be the best time to visit. The weather is typically temperate, and many parks have trails and activities open during these months.
- Accessibility: If you're traveling with young children or have mobility issues, summer months are typically the most accessible. Many parks have shuttle services and air-conditioned visitor centers, making it easier to explore with young children or those with disabilities.
Ultimately, the best time to visit national parks will depend on your interests and priorities. Do some research, consider your options, and plan accordingly. With over 400 national parks to choose from, there's a park and a time of year that's perfect for everyone.