In 2016 the National Park Service celebrated its 100 anniversary. Most people are aware of the iconic parks of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. These are just three of the 59 National Parks found throughout the country. Our next journey, beginning in March 2017, our travels took us to 27 of the U.S. National Parks, over a 4 1/2 month period. The goal in visiting the national parks, similar to our other journeys, was to focus on the cultural and natural significance of what we see. So we visited many of the more obscure and lesser known parks. For example, the number of yearly visitors to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan (where we stopped in June) is less than the number that visits Yellowstone in ONE day.

Also true to our travels, we hiked over 400 miles while visiting the parks and took several overnight backpacking trips. Our mode of transportation was our Toyota 4Runner 4×4 SUV. We outfitted the back of our vehicle with a platform that provided storage space underneath a mattress where we slept those nights when we were not backpacking.

Click on a marker above to learn more about a park on the map.

Watch a short overview of our adventure:

Read more about our journey below:

  • Tuesday Quiz: Match the National Park to its Picture (Part II) At the beginning of our NPS Journey, we published a quiz that tested your knowledge in naming a U.S. National Park from its picture. Here is part two of this quiz: you have another six minutes to correctly identify 20 parks.
  • A Majestic Island in an Inland Sea: Isle Royale National Park  Lake Superior is the northernmost of the five Great Lakes. The largest freshwater lake in the world by area, it seems more like an ocean or an inland sea, measuring 350 miles wide and 160 miles long. In its northwest corner lies Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior. It is part of Michigan, ...
  • Tuesday Quiz: U.S. Flags This week’s quiz is all about flags. For each state in the ten-question quiz, you will have four flag design options to choose from to find the correct one.
  • 50 Hours by Foot and Paddle: Voyageurs National Park Voyageurs National ParkIn the 18th century, French Canadian adventurers, known as voyageurs, traveled by canoe on today’s boundary waters between the United States and Canada. They were primarily fur traders transporting beaver pelts, known as “soft gold,” between the northwestern portion of Canada and Montreal. From there, the pelts were shipped to Europe, where beaver hats were ...
  • Tuesday Quiz: Westernmost U.S. Cities We recently had a Tuesday Quiz about northernmost U.S. cities. Now that we are traveling on the west coast of the United States, try your skill in naming the westernmost U.S. cities in this week’s quiz.
  • Hiking Under the Sea: Badlands National Park Seventy five million years ago a shallow sea covered today’s Great Plains area. It spanned north to south from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and east to west from western Iowa to western Wyoming. Sea creatures that died sank to the bottom of the sea and became fossils, as well as a gray-black layer ...
  • Tuesday Quiz: Can You Recall All 59 National Parks?  Our last Tuesday Quiz is a tough one – you have eight minutes to recall all 59 national parks. How many can you input in the time allowed?
  • National Park Panoramic Photos – Series 4 Here are some panoramic photos that we took of the national parks that we visited, from Acadia to Badlands, as well as some other places on the road. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view. Enjoy!
  • Of Boxwork and Bison: Wind Cave National Park Wind Cave National ParkWind Cave, in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, was created as America’s eighth national park in 1903 and was the first to protect a cave. During the three days that we visited, we took two tours in the cave, unique in its abundant boxwork formations, which are found virtually nowhere else in the ...
  • The Man and His Legacy: Theodore Roosevelt National Park Theodore Roosevelt in North Dakota is the only one of America’s 59 national parks to be named after a person. Created as a national memorial park in 1947, it honored Roosevelt’s legacy in preservation and his love for the badlands area where he lived. While in the park, we spent time in all three units, ...
  • Cascade Mountain High: Mount Rainier National Park Mount Rainier National ParkThe Cascade Mountains run from south British Columbia to Northern California. Located on the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, all the contiguous United States volcanic eruptions over the past 200 years have taken place in this range. The highest peak in the Cascades is Mount Rainier. At 14,410 feet, it is the fifth tallest mountain ...
  • California Crags and Caves: Pinnacles National Park Pinnacles National ParkAmerica’s newest national park is Pinnacles, established in 2013, and located about 80 miles southeast of San Jose, California. After arriving there on an extremely hot afternoon, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees F, our first impressions were of nothing special – just many large oak trees and chaparral covered hills. But when we started hiking ...
  • A Coastal Finale: Channel Islands National Park Channel Islands National ParkOff the coast of California, between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, lie the Channel Islands. There are eight islands in the 160 mile archipelago, and five of those comprise Channel Islands National Park. Our visit to the 27th and final park on our Trekking the Planet NPS journey was an overnight adventure. After a ferry ...
  • National Park Panoramic Photos – Series 5 Here is the final installment of the panoramic photos that we took of the national parks that we visited, from Wind Cave to Channel Islands, as well as some other places on the road. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view. Enjoy!