8 Best National Parks To Visit in Winter

National Parks | Road Trip


National parks are a sight to behold during the winter season. Whether you want to explore snow-covered peaks in Colorado, the Cascade Range in North America, or the indescribable phenomenon known as the Grand Canyon, our country boasts some of the most spectacular geographical locations for a winter visit. Once temperatures drop and crowds diminish, the experience becomes a new ball game. 

If you have ever wanted to experience the presence of snow-covered landscapes, then you’re in luck! This guide will cover some of the best national parks to visit in the winter you should consider for your next adventure. 

Top 8 National Parks To Visit in the Winter

If you are in the mood to see how our nation’s landscapes transform during the winter season, look no further than these exotic national parks:

  1. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Spanning 236,380 acres, Mount Rainier National Park personifies the beauty of the Northwest. The park has old-growth forests, several hiking trails, mesmerizing waterfalls, and scenic lakes. It’s also home to the 14,417-foot mountain Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the Cascade Range. 

In the winter, visitors can engage in several recreational activities, including skiing, sledding, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. 

  1. Denali National Park, Alaska

Home to the highest peak in North America: Mount McKinley (20,310 feet), Denali National Park is a remote phenomenon suited for those who wish to experience a true winter expedition. Covering more than six million acres, this Alaskan jewel is home to several glaciers, snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, and the all-famous aurora borealis. 

Here is another interesting fact about this park: Denali is the only national park with a kennel of sled dogs.

  1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

As one of the most beloved destinations on this list, Grand Canyon National Park sees no shortage of visitors. However, if you are drawn to small crowds, snow-covered ridges, and occasional sunny skies, then visiting in the winter is the best option. Luckily, the South Rim of the park remains open for those brave enough to withstand frigid conditions.

Some campgrounds remain open during this season on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re planning to hike, we recommend bringing ice cleats.

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park receives the most visitors out of all the parks in Colorado, and for good reason too. Spanning 415 square miles across the Front Range, visitors have access to high-elevation peaks, alpine lakes, and forests as far as the eye can see. If you are planning for a winter visit, you are in for a treat! 

Because of its high-elevation status, the winter season usually starts in late September and ends in early May. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding are some of the most common winter recreational activities here.  

  1. Olympic National Park, Washington

Rain forests, coastal beaches, and glacier-capped mountains all make Olympic National Park one of the best national parks for winter visitation. Summer brings raging waterfalls and blooming wildflowers. In the winter, the park becomes a paradise for visitors who wish to experience snow-blanketed regions. Hurricane Ridge is a popular destination for downhill skiing and snowboarding. 

Alternatively, you can walk alongside snow-free beaches. Remember that winter storms are common in this area. 

  1. Zion National Park, Utah 

Similarly to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park captivates visitors with its canyons that sparkle in the snow. Unlike other national parks, however, winters at Zion are relatively pleasant during the day. The average daily temperatures range from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Almost half of the annual precipitation occurs between winter and early spring. 

As far as winter activities, you can hike open trails within Zion Canyon, go cross-country skiing, or catch large animals across the park. 

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee 

Spanning across the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its ancient mountain ranges, the history of the southern Appalachian mountain culture, and its abundant wildlife. The winter season is a great opportunity to experience some solitude and snow-covered trails.

The trees become fortresses of ice and snow, providing viewers with a mesmerizing sight. 

  1. Everglades National Park, Florida

Located on the southern tip of Florida, Everglades National Park is much more of a tropical paradise than a winter wonderland. Its subtropical climate makes it an ideal getaway for visitors hoping to get away from snow-filled winters. Want more reasons to visit in the winter? The season is dry, humidity is basically non-existent, and water levels are low.

Explore the Country With Cruise America

When it comes to the best national parks to visit in the winter, the options are abundant! If you’ve decided to experience first-hand what these parks have to offer, Cruise America can help you reach your destination. Our RV rentals allow you and your family to embrace the comforts of a modern home during your long journey. Don’t settle for mediocre transportation. Contact us today to see what we have to offer!