Despite our differences, everyone in the world can agree on the importance of preserving and conserving Earth's most unique areas. That's the impetus by which the U.S. National Parks Service was created. It was started in 1916, but people had recognized our unique lands before long before that. In 1832, an area in Arkansas was singled out for preservation, the first time that had happened in the country. In 1872, the U.S. Congress and the president designated Yellowstone as a "public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." It was the first national park in the country and is considered the first national park in the world.
By 1948, the International Union for Conservation of Nature was created, and since then, the organization has designated more than 6,500 national parks in the world. The U.S. National Parks Service lists 61 national parks in the United States, including the first (Yellowstone) and some of the most famous (Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains). Furthermore, U.S. parks feature unique climates, geology and land forms. There is no ecosystem like the Everglades anywhere on Earth. There is no area like the Canyonlands anywhere else on Earth. How well do you know these national treasures? Put your skills to the test and see if you can name at least 10 of these national parks.
What national park is home to this 277-mile long gorge in Arizona?
Arizona's Grand Canyon is one of the top three most visited national parks in the U.S. and one of the world's most popular. It was carved by the Colorado River and is listed as one of the top attractions everyone should see once in their life.
Do you know what national park is regularly considered the first national park in the world?
Yellowstone spans Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It was designated a national park in 1872. It's the oldest national park in the U.S. and is most famous for being home to Old Faithful, a geyser that has erupted at least once every two hours since 2000.
In what park will you find some of America's tallest waterfalls and most vertical cliffs?
Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in all of North America but it is three separate cascading falls, not a single waterfall. You'll also find soaring cliffs and giant sequoia trees in this park that has been a designated a World Heritage site since 1984.
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Can you name this park that consists of 26 glaciers and more than 100 lakes?
Glacier National Park covers 1 million acres on the Montana/Canada border and is one of the best parks in the country for wildlife viewing. Its symbol is the mountain goat. The park is home to hundreds of species of animals like the peregrine falcon, which is the world's fastest bird, and the wolverine, which is rarely seen in America.
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You might find the biggest tree in the world if you visit this park in California. What is it?
California is home to the tallest and oldest trees on Earth, but neither of those can be found in Sequoia National Park. You will, however, find General Sherman, the largest tree in the world by volume. It's 275 feet tall with a 25-foot diameter.
Where will you find more than 2,000 of these natural sandstone formations?
Arches National Park formed hundreds of millions of years ago when an ocean evaporated, sandstone filled the empty space, and wind eroded the rock to create thousands of natural land formations that function as a geological playground for thrill-seekers.
Do you know this area of the U.S. that is regularly covered in a blue haze?
This park is part of the mountain range that runs along the Tennessee/North Carolina border and is the most visited national park in the country. It's known for some of the most comfortable weather in the nation and a dense black bear population which totals about two bears every square mile.
What's the name of this national park that is home to the 150-room Cliff Palace?
This park in Colorado is the largest archaeological site in the U.S. and is home to about 600 cliff dwellings, including Cliff Palace, which is the biggest known cliff dwelling in all of North America. Human occupation of the area dates back to about 7500 BC.
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Where is the longest cave system in the world?
The longest cave system in the world sits in central Kentucky, and part of it makes up this national park. The caves run for more than 400 miles and have dozens of notable rooms like the Rotunda Room and the Bottomless Pit.
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Can you name this "river of grass" that is the only tropical wilderness in the lower 48 states?
The Everglades is one of the unique ecosystems on Earth and is home to a wide array of animals like the panther, crocodile and manatee. The area covers more than 1.5 million acres in southern Florida and is one of the top three largest parks in the USA.
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Where can you find these Arizona cacti that can live for 200 years?
The Saguaro cactus can live for 200 years, and it may grow just a few inches tall after dozens of years, which is why it is a crime to chop down the plant in Arizona, even if it is on your property.
Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Moment / Getty Images
Do you know the newest national park in America?
Pinnacles National Park is full of eroded rock formations that stem from a volcano in central California. The formations were designated as a national monument in the early 1900s, and the area was re-designated a national park in 2012.
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Can you name this archipelago off the coast of California that is home to more than 100 unique animals?
This park covers five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of California, and more than half of the park's 250,00 acres are located underwater. It's an awesome park for water activities like kayaking through sea caves, scuba diving and spearfishing.
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What's the name of this national park in Washington that claims to be the "snowiest place on Earth"?
A world-record 1,122 inches of snow fell in Mount Rainier National Park in the winter of 1971. The area also holds the record for most snow on the ground, 367 inches in 1956. Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in the Cascade Mountains, and it is home to the largest glacier in the lower 48 states.
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Do you know this park in Maine that has some of the nicest coastline on the East Coast?
California's Big Sur coast is known for offering a beautiful coastal drive, but if you're on the East Coast, you can visit Maine's Acadia National Park to enjoy a similar experience. The park encompasses about half of Mount Desert Island, which is the largest island off the coast of Maine.
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Drivers and hikers have their choice of the Skyline Drive or Appalachian Trail in what U.S. national park?
If you love hiking, you have to put Shenandoah National Park on your bucket list because more than 100 miles of Appalachian Trail runs through the area. The park is also known for offering one of the most scenic drives in the country, the 105-mile Skyline Drive.
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Can you name this national park that is home to Jackson Hole?
The Teton Mountains is part of the Rocky Mountains and spans a few dozen miles north to south in Wyoming. The park encompasses the tallest parts of the mountain range and is one of the best in the country for mountain and winter sports.
What's the name of this park off the coast of Florida that is only accessible by plane or boat?
It's not easy to get to this uninhabited island, but once you do, you'll be greeted with secluded beaches and miles of thriving coral reef. Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon named the island in 1513 when he arrived and saw a bunch of turtles on the land. Tortugas is the Spanish word for turtles.
Where can you find the tallest sand dunes in North America?
The tallest dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado soar almost 800 feet high, and they cover about 30 square miles of area. There are more than 5 billion cubic meters of sand in the park, and it's a perfect place for four-wheel riding or sandboarding.
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Do you know this park in South Dakota that is home to land formations ranging from grass prairies to stone spires?
If you're looking for a place in America to view fossils, look no further than Badlands in South Dakota. The park features hundreds of square miles of eroded rock formations, and visitors can find fossils from lizards, rabbits, bison and more.
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What's the name of this area in Alaska that consists of a lake surrounded by four active volcanoes?
This park south of Anchorage is one of the least visited parks in the country, and you'll need to travel there by seaplane if you plane to visit. It is home to many of Alaska's big animals, like brown bear, and the streams are packed with salmon.
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You'll find two of the world's most significant volcanoes at what national park?
This is the place to visit in the U.S. if you're looking to see a volcanic explosion. The park is home to two volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Kilauea is the most active of the Hawaiian volcanoes and one of the most active in the world. Mauna Loa is the largest shield volcano in the world.
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This national park covering the Colorado and Mojave Deserts shares a name with a plant abundant to the area. Do you know it?
The point where the Mojave and Colorado deserts converge creates unique desert flora not found elsewhere, and the dominant plant in the area is the yucca brevifolia (aka the Joshua tree). The park is east of Los Angeles and larger than Rhode Island.
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Can you name the national park that is home to the country's largest mountain range?
The continent's largest mountain range is home to one of the country's most popular national parks. This area in Colorado is split into five regions and offers hiking trails for people of every ability. You'll also find dozens of species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds.
What is this national park in Utah that is dominated by red rocks that rise 2,000 feet high?
Zion National Park features towering red rock formations that were carved by rivers millions of years ago. The most notable formation in the park is the Grand Staircase, but other formations like the Three Patriarchs and Kolob Canyons are also well known.
One of the most unique areas on Earth is this maze of eroded land formations in Utah. Do you know it?
Canyonlands in Utah is split into four areas, and the most popular are probably the Island in the Sky region and the Needles region. The Island in the Sky is a giant tabletop land formation, and the Needles area is full of arches, pinnacles and other formations.
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Do you know this national park that is made up of a series of natural amphitheaters?
Bryce Canyon is a natural amphitheater full of thin, tall spires created from erosion. The rocks are often colored in red, orange and white, and the entire park covers about 35,000 acres in southwest Utah.
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In what national park will you find hundreds of glaciers and a turquoise lake known as Diablo Lake?
You'll find half a million acres of rugged terrain, scenic hiking, glaciers, turquoise waters, gorges, waterfalls and more in this park in Washington. Its most striking feature might be the bright turquoise water of Diablo Lake.
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At what U.S. national park will you find more than 1,000 glaciers?
Of the more than 1,000 glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska, there are seven main tidewater glaciers, including the Grand Pacific Glacier that spans more than 25 miles long and crosses into British Columbia. There are no roads that lead to the park, so it isn't one of the most visited in the country.
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Do you know where the deepest lake in the U.S. is located?
At 1,949 feet deep, Crater Lake is one of the top 10 deepest lakes in the world. The crater was formed when a volcano collapsed thousands of years ago. Water filled the void to form the lake. The lake itself is known for its piercing blue water and crystal clarity.
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Almost half a million bats live in more than 119 caves in this park. What is it called?
These caverns are located in southern New Mexico and offer some of the best cave chambers in the country. There are several notable cave rooms in the park, including the Big Room, which is bigger than 10 NFL football fields and 255 feet high.
Do you know this park that holds the highest peak in North America?
If you view the five main animals in Denali National Park in a single trip (moose, grizzly bear, caribou, wolf and Dall sheep), you will have accomplished what many call the "Denali Slam." Mount Denali is the highest peak in North America. It rises more than 20,000 feet.
What's the name of this area in Arkansas that was the first land ever designated for preservation?
The U.S. Congress specified this area for preservation in 1832, long before the National Park Service was formed in 1916. It became a national park in 1921 and was the smallest park in the country until the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, went from monument to park designation in 2018.
skeeze / Pixabay
Can you name this park that is the northernmost national park in America?
It's in the northernmost part of North America, it sits entirely in the Arctic Circle, and there are no roads at all in the park. So it's not surprising that Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the least visited national park in the U.S. It is, however, the second largest park in America.
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This area in California is home to the tallest trees on Earth. What's its name?
Sequoia National Park is home to General Sherman, the largest tree in the world in terms of volume. Redwood National Park, however, is home to Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world. It is 380 feet tall.
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Do you know what U.S. national park holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth?
The hottest temperature in the world was believed to have been 136 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in 1922 in Libya. But in 2012, that temperature was debunked, and the second hottest temp ever recorded, 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913 in Death Valley, took over the No. 1 spot.
This 12-mile stretch in Colorado features some of America's steepest cliffs. Do you know it?
The Black Canyon gets its name from the fact that parts of it are so sheer and deep, they only receive minutes of sunlight each day. Gunnison National Park isn't one of the most popular parks, but in addition to the unique Black Canyon, it also offers plenty of scenic drives and hiking trails.
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What's the name of this park in South Carolina that is often mistaken for swampland?
The National Register of Big Trees is a list of the tallest living trees in America. Trees on the list are called National Champion Trees, and according to that register, Congaree National Park has one of the world's largest populations of Champion Trees.
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You'll find the highest point in Texas at this national park. What is it called?
This park sits within the Guadalupe Mountains and includes the state's highest point, Guadalupe Peak. The Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico are part of the same mountain range. The land ranges from salt flat to grassland among mountains and streams.
by Mike Lyvers / Moment / Getty Images
Do you know this Alaskan park that is the perfect place for brown bears to catch salmon?
If you've ever watched bears stand on the edge of a river and catch salmon as they flop upstream, you've probably seen Katmai National Park. The world's largest concentration of brown bears live in the park, and they flock to Brooks Falls for a never-ending supply of salmon.
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