Buddy Bison Student Ambassador Bryan has been busy the last two years! This month, Bryan has made a list of his top 10 national parks and what he loves about them. 

“Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to 49 of our 50 states and 44 of our 60 National Parks. I’m going to give you the top ten countdown of National Parks, the best times to visit, and family-friendly hikes for your trip in 2019. (Note: While there are 60 National Park Service units labeled as “national parks,” there are a total of 418 park service units, which includes historic sites, battlefields, etc.)

#10 Zion National Park

Bryan in the Narrows at Zion National Park

Bryan in the Narrows at Zion National Park

Zion was an amazing park. I got to hike the Narrows, which was cool. It’s also great for kids because they can play in the water. The best time to go is October because there are no flash floods and the fall colors are beautiful and the water isn’t too cold. The summer gets really hot, so be prepared for the heat. Make sure to bring your gear. And look for bighorn sheep and lots of mule deer.

#9 Acadia National Park

Acadia was a mixture of green mountains and beautiful beaches.  I enjoyed hiking the Coastal Trail which is right next to the water and lead right to the beach. I would visit Acadia in summer so you can experience the beaches.

#8 North Cascades National Park

North Cascades is one of the least visited national parks, so it is very quit.  It also has amazing emerald green water caused by the minerals that come from the mountains. The best trail is the Bored Walk at Diablo Lake. You should go in spring or summer because in winter the visitor center is closed and in fall there aren’t too many fall colors.  

#7 Theodore Roosevelt National Park

All the way out in North Dakota is a park dedicated to President Teddy Roosevelt. This park reminded me a lot like Yellowstone, but it is much less crowded. There are bison, prairie dogs, elk, wild horse, and coyotes howling. Take the Prairie Dog Town Trail and you will see hundreds of little prairie dogs running around and if you are lucky I saw a badger there! I think the winters would be harsh, so come during any other time of the year.

Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

#6 Biscayne National Park

Biscayne is a place for swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and so much more. The best trail is the visitor center trial which gives you beach access and great views of downtown Miami; bring your bathing suit. Also make sure to check out the mangroves because you could see manatees. The best time to visit is any time because the weather and water is always perfect.

#5 Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park

Bryan in Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone is a park that if you want to see animals that’s the park to go. You can see anything from a grizzly to bison, to a pika. I liked the Geyser Basin Trail which you get to see Old Faithful.  The best time to go is fall because of the colors and the wildlife encounters. Lamar Valley is a great place to view the wildlife and Mammoth Hot Springs VC there is always elk! You can plan this trip with Grand Teton.

Grand Teton was stunning. I did the Jenny Lake Trail which gave you stunning views of mountains and lakes. The best time to go is fall because they have beautiful fall colors and it’s the best time to see bears.

#4 Haleakala National Park

Haleakala was one of my favorites because I got to feel the clouds and see the silver sword plant which is an indigenous plant only found in Haleakala. The best trail is the Northern Visitor Center Trial because you get a viewing of the sun rise; make sure to make your reservations in advance for parking. The best time is anytime because it’s Hawaii! Take the road to Hana after your trip to this National Park.

#3 Mount Rainier National Park

The Shadow Lake Trail was awesome it lead you right to a water fall and behind the water fall was Mount Rainier. The best time to go is summer through fall because of the nice weather and fall colors. Winter might be too cold.

Bryan and his family at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

#2 Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rockies are indescribable; it’s so beautiful. I would do the Bear lake and Sprague Lake Trail which in winter you can walk over the frozen lake. The best time to go is any time of the year, but I like winter because you can snowshoe, sled, backcountry ski, and so much more.

# 1 Glacier National Park

The Crown of the continent is my favorite park because of the mountains, the emerald green lakes, the animals and scenery. You should do the Many Glacier Trail because of the lakes, the bears, and the glaciers; bring your bear spray. The best time to go is before winter because of the stunning colors, the best weather, and the biggest chance of seeing animals. Also, you want to visit before they close the Going-to-the-Sun Road, so check out the website before you make plans.

Bryan and his family on Many Glacier Hike in Glacier National Park