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The Perfect Road Trip to See Every National Park in the U.S.

Yosemite National Park, United States

Imagine seeing all the US national parks in one epic road trip.

It's no easy task to plan the perfect itinerary... so we did the heavy-lifting for you. Well actually, Randal did. He created the most efficient cross-country route that hits all 47 national parks within the contiguous US.

Photo by Randal Olson

Randal Olson, a data scientist (and avid road tripper) based out of Portland, Oregon, computed the optimal national park road trip in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. It's a loop around the country, making it easy for you to pick up anywhere and head in whichever direction you'd like.

Oljato-Monument Valley, United States

There's no official start and finish for this trip, but here's a list of the national parks included:

1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

2. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

3. Saguaro National Park, Arizona

4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

5. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

6. Big Bend National Park, Texas

7. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

8. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

10. Everglades National Park, Florida

11. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

12. Biscayne National Park, Florida

13. Congaree National Park, South Carolina

14. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

15. Acadia National Park, Maine

16. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

17. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

18. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

19. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

20. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

21. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

22. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

23. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado

24. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

25. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

26. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

27. Arches National Park, Utah

28. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

29. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

30. Zion National Park, Utah

31. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

32. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

33. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

34. Glacier National Park, Montana

35. North Cascades National Park, Washington

36. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

37. Olympic National Park, Washington

38. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

39. Redwood National and State Parks, California

40. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

41. Yosemite National Park, California

42. Kings Canyon National Park, California

43. Sequoia National Park, California

44. Pinnacles National Park, California

45. Channel Islands National Park, California

46. Joshua Tree National Park, California

47. Death Valley National Park, California

Jordan Pond Path, Acadia National Park, United States

Olson says if you move “at breakneck pace,” you can complete the route in about two months. This trip is perfect for seniors, vanlifers, RVers, or folks on extended vacation. For the rest of us, start racking up your vacation days! And be sure to check out Olson's original blog post.

Mt. Rainier National Park, United States

Interested in purchasing an annual pass and saving money on entrance fees? Order one online ahead of your visit. It covers you and all passengers in your vehicle (including rental car or RV). Just a single trip nearly covers the cost of the pass. Get it now.

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This is not an official U.S. Government website. US Park Pass is an authorized reseller of the America the Beautiful - the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass. The National Park Service as part of United States Department of the Interior is the authorizing agency.