As the National Park Service gears up for its centennial in 2016, it's re-branding to attract a broader audience. So far, the only major change has been to the logo, which trades the busy nature scene sketch for a single white arrowhead. Park Service representative Kathy Kupper said more changes will come, but they'll mostly take place in 2015 and won't affect the parks themselves.
"Baby boomers grew up with parks, but 50 years ago or so, distractions like Disneyland and theme parks began to pop up," Kupper said. "Now, with the internet age, we began to worry that they could be forgotten. So we're revamping a little."
While a new look is welcome, longtime park patrons known that what makes parks significant isn't the packaging, but what's inside their borders. Still, the more popular parks get crowded – Yellowstone gets an average of 26,500 visitors every day in July – so it's wise to seek out new territory. In that spirit, we rounded up 23 of the most scenic national parks and their best attractions, from the quiet lighthouses at Michigan's Isle Royale to glaciers only viewed by seaplane in Wrangell-St. Elias.
Utah’s oldest national park, Zion is known for is one of the most photographed parks in the country, with steep sandstone walls, canyons, and varied wildlife. Unlike the Grand Canyon, which is usually viewed from the rim down, Zion Canyon is best viewed from the bottom up. There are more than 90 miles of trails and 37 backpacking sites for campers to use as benchmarks on their trip, but be aware that most of which require wilderness permits for overnight stays.
Don't Miss: East Rim Trail is a spectacular path for runners – especially for those in for the long haul. The 48 miles west to east from the La Verkin Creek trailhead in Lee Pass to Echo Canyon can be completed in a day at a fast, consistent pace. The more sane visitors tend to backpack it in about five days. A less strenuous option is to start at Echo Canyon and hike the 11 miles of slickrock formations to the Grotto Trailhead in Zion Canyon.
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