I recently read an article on the top ten national parks. I think they hit some of them just right, but I’m not sure about the rankings. I’ve been to some and will visit some this summer on the Ultimate Tour to the lower 48 states. But, hey… let’s look at them anyway.
At number ten they have Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. While I think the mountain is spectacular, that’s what you have. One mountain. Roads into are not great, especially for bikes. I can’t see ranking this one here.
Number nine is Arches National Park. I’m surprised this is so low on the list. I’ll visit it for the first time in June, but this has been the subject of so many trips. The vistas are spectacular and the rock formations rare. I think it should be on the list, but maybe a little higher in rankings.
Number eight is a surprise and definitely a bike trip. Sequoia National Park is often confused with the redwoods of northern California. This park has some incredible riding and views you’ll never forget. It’s like a lost secret and I’m glad to see it on this list.
Bryce Canyon National Park came in at number seven. This is another I’ll be visiting in June, but I have heard nothing but spectacular things about it. There’s a great road for bikes to pass through this park. Utah is famous for the big five: Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. I’ll be sure to hit all five.
In sixth place they put the Grand Canyon National Park. Really? Sixth? This is one of the most awesome sights you can visit with so many different views and perspectives. I think a higher ranking is in order. It’s a good bike ride, too. You can round the east end to get to Utah and the five I mentioned above.
Glacier National Park hits number five on their list and again, I think this should be higher. The Road to the Sun crosses multiple terrains as it winds from lakeside views to alpine forests. I’ll be riding this in early June for the first time. This should be a bucket list ride for every rider.
Zion made the list at number four. This is a spectacular park with many different views. It’s a great ride. I’ve been through it once, but we really didn’t have time to enjoy it. This year we go through it twice and camp there! I’m looking forward to having more time to look at this beautiful area. This is another bucket list must for riders.
Grand Teton National Park is number three according to this article. I disagree. Yes, it is a beautiful extension of Yellowstone National Park and the mountains are majestic, but I wouldn’t even have it on my top ten. You can ride some of it, but the roads are that great except for Teton Pass from Jackson, WY to Victor, ID. I’m not buying this one.
Number two is Yellowstone National Park. This is easily my number one choice because of the multiple terrains, biker-friendly roads, incredible views, geysers, and the east entry after riding Beartooth Pass. Yellowstone should be on everyone’s bucket list, even if you don’t ride motorcycle. There’s just nothing like it any where.
Yosemite National Park came in as their number one and I can’t argue that is is one of the top two. It has great roads, spectacular views from both the top and the bottom, waterfalls, lots of wildlife and just puts you in awe of where we live.
So, what are my top ten?
10 – Smokey Mountains National Park – Incredible riding and fantastic views.
9 – Shenandoah National Park – more great views and riding roads. An abundance of wildlife, too.
8 – Sequoia National Park – great riding and beautiful scenery while riding through forests that contain trees over 3,000 years old.
7 – Crater Lake National Park – while only a loop around the crater to get you excited, you will be excited. Absolutely beautiful landscape and history.
6 – The Utah Belt – even though I mention two of these parks below, you can’t ignore the fact that in a long weekend ride you can do The Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and have the most incredible ride of your life. Rent a bike in Phoenix and return it in Salt Lake City after visiting six (SIX!) National Parks will leave you with photographs and memories of a lifetime.
5- Glacier National Park – alpine and glacial areas have something special that just makes it hard to challenge them. The Road to the Sun sets this park high on the list as you pass through extreme altitude changes and have vistas that make you feel incredibly small.
4 – The Grand Canyon National Park – the shear dimensions of this gigantic hole humbles us. The colors of the rocks are amazing. The fact that you walk 30 feet from one view and are amazed at the new perspective is mind boggling.
3 – Zion National Park – tunnels, rivers, vistas and formations that are just amazing, it will make you wonder how it was so elegantly carved out of the rocks.
2 – Yosemite National Park – a diverse set of environments with waterfalls and incredible vistas. The size will amaze you as you ride through here.
1 – Yellowstone National Park – it simply has more to offer than any other in diversity and opportunities to experience. It should be required riding, even for cagers.
Honorable mentions have to go to roads that travel some of our National Forests. The Blue Ridge Parkway is an amazing ride with tunnels, curves and vistas. The Rocky Mountain National Park presents you with US 34 from Loveland to Grand Lake with amazing roads and vistas. Put it on your list of rides. Poudre Canyon (CO 14) is just north of US34 and has more for you to ride and see. Big Horn National Forest is an amazing ride with a view at the west end that will make you drop your jaw. After that you just go a little north to US 212 to ride Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone. Beartooth is so close to heaven! The Ozarks have roads that will encourage everyone to ride every day and they seem to go on forever.
Our country has so much to ride and see. I do rides like this every year and I just marvel at the beauty we have here to enjoy. If you’re a biker, the experiences are unmatchable. If you a cager, you still should get out there and see America.
Note: The top ten mentioned are from this article.