Old Faithful in Yellowstone NP never disappoints. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Explore Your National Parks

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There are 63 national parks under the care of the U.S. National Park Service. The majority, a stunning 57%, are located in the western region of the country, while two are in U.S. Territories. Regardless of location, each park beckons visitors to revel in unique and breathtaking scenery, explore historically and geologically significant sites, and above all, find peace and serenity while wandering through unspoiled landscapes.

Use the information below to conveniently find and explore parks in each of the regions where you would like to take a motorcycle sport touring ride.  These insights, together with details in the article Riding the National Parks in 2024, will help you plan with confidence.

US region map
Top three most visited national parks in each region of the country. Tap to enlarge. Image © American Sport Touring.

For more information about planning a ride in the national parks
please see the article Riding the National Parks in 2024.

This article presents a complete list of national parks organized by region.  Each park is listed with its overall visitor ranking, average number of annual visitors, and the percentage who visit between May and September.  The data are from the National Park Service and reflect visits in 2022 and 2023, the most recent data available.  For added convenience, each park directly links to the corresponding page on the National Park Service website.

Western National Parks

Crescent Beach in Redwood NP
Crescent Beach overlook in Redwood National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

The western United States boasts an array of breathtaking national parks, each with its own distinct allure and natural wonders. From the towering peaks of Rocky Mountain NP to the otherworldly landscapes of Death Valley NP, these protected areas offer unparalleled beauty and adventure. Yet amidst their grandeur lie fascinating hidden gems. For example, Yellowstone is home to the largest supervolcano on the continent. And Bryce Canyon features the largest collection of hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock) in the world.

National ParkVisitor
Zion NP, Utah34,657,82855%
Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado44,208,13171%
Yellowstone NP, Idaho, Montana & Wyoming63,895,81287%
Yosemite NP, California73,782,31063%
Joshua Tree NP, California83,164,34928%
Grand Teton NP, Wyoming93,111,66582%
Glacier NP, Montana102,921,03791%
Olympic NP, Washington132,690,23868%
Bryce Canyon NP, Utah152,407,96568%
Mount Rainier NP, Washington181,648,34583%
Hawaii Volcanoes NP, Hawaii191,600,62844%
Arches NP, Utah211,471,34956%
Capitol Reef NP, Utah221,248,23561%
Death Valley NP, California & Nevada231,114,24733%
Sequoia NP, California241,066,88366%
Haleakala NP, Hawaii28939,45443%
Canyonlands NP, Utah29789,73555%
Kings Canyon NP, California33642,02673%
Glacier Bay NP & PRES, Alaska35624,70987%
Crater Lake NP, Oregon37543,61880%
Great Sand Dunes NP & PRES, Colorado40502,82476%
Mesa Verde NP, Colorado41502,49274%
Denali NP & PRES, Alaska42463,14296%
Redwood NP, California43433,75361%
Lassen Volcanic NP, California44432,63579%
Kenai Fjords NP, Alaska46388,73498%
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Colorado47327,16369%
Channel Islands NP, California48325,99650%
Pinnacles NP, California49308,12241%
Great Basin NP, Nevada54142,69074%
Wrangell-St. Elias NP & PRES, Alaska5671,77198%
North Cascades NP, Washington5735,25392%
Katmai NP & PRES, Alaska5833,83699%
Lake Clark NP & PRES, Alaska6017,45899%
Kobuk Valley NP, Alaska6117,27148%
Gates of the Arctic NP & PRES, Alaska6210,251100%

Midwest National Parks

Dassler cabin in Isle Royale NP
Dassler cabin and guest house in Isle Royale National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

The Midwest region of the United States features a diverse array of national parks rich with distinct and captivating experience.  From the serene woodlands of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio to the rugged beauty of Badlands National Park in South Dakota, these parks showcase the natural wonders and cultural heritage of the heartland.

Little-known facts about Midwest national parks include the subterranean marvels of Wind Cave National Park, the ancient geologic formations of Indiana Dunes National Park, and the remote wilderness of Voyageurs National Park, where visitors can explore a vast network of interconnected waterways.  And if exploring shipwrecks at Isle Royale NP in Lake Superior sounds interesting, make plans to sail or fly in – you can’t ride there.

National ParkVisitor
Cuyahoga Valley NP, Ohio112,886,68660%
Indiana Dunes NP, Indiana122,800,03671%
Gateway Arch NP, Missouri162,020,80561%
Badlands NP, South Dakota251,026,60584%
Theodore Roosevelt NP, North Dakota31707,77188%
Wind Cave NP, South Dakota36599,93978%
Voyageurs NP, Minnesota53221,13087%
Isle Royale NP, Michigan5927,21099%

Northeast & Southeast National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains NP
Sunset in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

National parks in the Northeast and Southeast offer a stunning array of natural beauty and unique landscapes. From the rugged coastlines of Acadia National Park in Maine to the mysterious depths of Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, these parks boast their own distinct character.

The serene beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains straddling North Carolina and Tennessee contrasts with the vibrant ecosystems of Florida’s Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas National Parks. Meanwhile, the historical significance of Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, the breathtaking vistas of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the dense forests of Congaree National Park in South Carolina, and the wild rapids of New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in West Virginia offer diverse experiences for nature lovers and adventurers alike.  And like Isle Royale on the Midwest, Dry Tortugas NP is only accessible by boat or seaplane.

National ParkVisitor
Great Smoky Mountains NP, North Carolina & Tennessee113,117,64053%
Acadia NP, Maine53,925,07580%
Hot Springs NP, Arkansas142,574,55043%
New River Gorge NP & PRES, West Virginia171,650,37366%
Shenandoah NP, Virginia201,512,65454%
Everglades NP, Florida26982,69134%
Mammoth Cave NP, Kentucky32658,79957%
Biscayne NP, Florida34636,13343%
Congaree NP, South Carolina51227,31840%
Dry Tortugas NP, Florida5581,38745%

Southwest National Parks

Cacti in Saguaro NP
Saguaro cacti in Saguaro National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

The Southwest region, rideable pretty much year-round, has a collection of national parks that are as diverse as they are awe-inspiring. From the vast, majestic expanse of the Grand Canyon in Arizona to the surreal landscapes of White Sands in New Mexico, these parks encapsulate the rugged beauty and stark contrasts of the Southwest.

Visitors can explore the towering cacti of Saguaro National Park, which can be as many as 200 years old, ancient petrified forests in Arizona with the largest concentration of petrified wood in the world, the remote wilderness of Big Bend in Texas, the underground marvels of Carlsbad Caverns, and the mountainous terrain of the Guadalupe Mountains.  All presenting distinct ecosystems, geological features, and opportunities for adventure, making the Southwest a premier destination for sport touring riders.

National ParkVisitor
Grand Canyon NP, Arizona24,732,90353%
Saguaro NP, Arizona27959,55024%
White Sands NP, New Mexico30717,11240%
Petrified Forest NP, Arizona38512,85050%
Big Bend NP, Texas39511,61823%
Carlsbad Caverns NP, New Mexico45392,52745%
Guadalupe Mountains NP, Texas52223,66429%

National Parks in US Territories

Cinnamon Bay in Virgin Islands NP
Cinnamon Bay looking west to Jumbie Beach in Virgin Islands National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

And finally, we close with the two little know national parks found in territories of the United States.  These parks may be a stretch for sport touring enthusiasts, nevertheless we listed them for completeness.

The Virgin Islands and American Samoa each host a national park offering visitors a glimpse into the rich biodiversity and cultural heritage of these scenic regions.  Virgin Islands National Park, nestled in the serene Caribbean and covering 60% of the island of St. John, promises lush landscapes and historical insights, while the National Park of American Samoa, a haven in the South Pacific, offers a rare opportunity to experience untouched tropical ecosystems and Samoan culture.

These parks are not just natural wonders but also guardians of the islands’ histories and traditions. 

National ParkVisitor
Virgin Islands NP, Virgin Islands50270,21932%
National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa637,01132%

Additional Resources

The article Riding the National Parks in 2024 offers additional useful information to help plan a ride in and around any of the national parks.  It’s a great resource to get started. 

The National Park Service also offers a wealth of information about each national park, as well as the many national monuments, historic sites, and preserves.  Use the links in the region tables above to jump directly to a specific park in the National Park Service website where you will find current updates on weather, road conditions, and any scheduled special events that might impact your travel plans.  

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