In a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks, Washington’s three national parks all fall in the top 20.
To come up with the ranking, The Active Times website, oriented to the outdoors and adventure, used three criteria: biodiversity, range of visitor activities and the opinions of an expert panel.
The panel of experts included 17 writers, landscape photographers and travel professionals who write about and study national parks and spend much more time there than the average person. Among those who helped out were Kurt Repanshek, editor of National Parks Traveler, Michael Joseph Oswald, author of “Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 58 National Parks,“ and nature photographer QT Luoung, who’s captured every park on his large format camera and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Recently departed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also weighed in.
Here’s the top 20 in the ranking:
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
2. Yosemite National Park, California
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
4. Glacier National Park, Montana
5. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
6. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
7. Zion National Park, Utah
8. Olympic National Park, Washington
9. Sequoia National Park, California
10. Denali National Park, Alaska
11. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada
12. Everglades National Park, Florida
13. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
14. North Cascades National Park, Washington
15. Redwood National Park, California
16. Kings Canyon National Park, California
17. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee
18. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
19. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
20. Big Bend National Park, Texas
Find the full report, including the complete ranking of all parks, here.