When you start visiting the U.S national parks the list of 63 national parks can be daunting. There are a lot of national parks and they are spread out across 29 states and 2 US territories. The best way to keep track of your process thru the United States National Parks is with a United States National Park Checklist. Get your FREE downloadable copy of this list of National Parks by state HERE.
This printable list of national parks was updated on December 2020, to included the elevation of New River Gorge National River to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
If you have already signed up for our weekly newsletter, you do not need up to sign up again. Head over to your email box and search for our previous newsletters.
If you are looking for something to hang on your wall, click here to find the perfect National Park Wall Map for your home.
- How many National Parks are there in United States?
- Why more than one National Park Checklist?
- Map of 63 National Parks
- Alphabetical National Park Checklist
- List of All 63 National Parks By State
- List of National Park by Creation Date
- Final Thoughts on this National Parks List
- Pin it to Share: United States National Park Checklist (Updated with all 63 National Park)
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! Read the full disclosure policy here
How many National Parks are there in United States?
If you are talking about places with “National Park” in their name, there are 63 National Parks in the United States. If you are talking about sites managed by the National Park Service (NPS) there are 424 National Park Service Units. The National Parks Service Units have titles like National Monuments, National Historical Parks, National Memorials, National Battlefields, and about a half dozen other titles.
What is the difference between a National Park and National Parks Service Unit? The short story is nothing other than a name and how it was created. According to NPS, all units managed by them are the same and they consider there to be 422 national parks under their control.
The long story is that a unit’s title comes down to how it is created. The Antiquities Act of 1906, gives the United States President enormous powers for “… the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.” They have the right to declare by proclamation any land owned or controlled by the federal government a National Monument. But this act doesn’t give the President the power to created National Parks or any other designation. The other designations such as National Park take an act of Congress.
Take for example White Sands National Park, in 1933 President Herbert Hoover created White Sands National Monument. In 2019, it was elevated to a National Park via the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
Every unit within the National Parks Service system is a gem in its own right and well worth a visit. That being said, the National Parks are the massive central gemstones of collections (with a few exceptions, I’m looking at you Gateway Arch).
I personally consider there to be 63 National Parks and 424 national parks. When I am talking about those parks with the designation National Park, I capitalize the words National Park. When I am talking to the system as a whole, I use national parks. This is my personal opinion and my personal choice.
Why more than one National Park Checklist?
There are currently 63 National Parks according to the National Park Service, but the 60th is rather controversial. The 60th National Park is Gateway Arch National Park in Saint Louis, Missouri. This park is a 90-acre park in the middle of a city that is mostly made of concrete. Due to politics, this hunk of concrete has the same status as Denali, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. For this reason, I, Jennifer the founder of National Park Obsessed, refuse to consider Gateway Arch a real national park. It does belong in the National Park system but as a National Memorial.
Since I and many others don’t consider this a park, we are offering printable list of the national parks without Gateway Arch National Park. One checklist included Gateway Arch National Park and one does not. When you sign up for our monthly newsletter, you will be emailed a link to both of these checklists. You are welcome to download and print as many copies as you would like.
Here at National Park Obsessed, we are offering newsletter subscribers several checklists US National Park Checklists. The National Parks Checklists PDF’s will be delivered to your email box.
- 63 National Parks Checklist
- 62 National Parks Checklist
- 61 National Parks Checklist (with Indiana Dunes but without Gateway Arch)
- 60 National Parks Checklist
Map of 63 National Parks
Alphabetical National Park Checklist
List of All 63 National Parks By State
North Carolina / Tennessee
List of National Park by Creation Date
- Yellowstone – March 1, 1872
- Sequoia – September 25, 1890
- Yosemite – October 1, 1890
- Mount Rainier – March 2, 1899
- Crater Lake – May 22, 1902
- Wind Cave – January 9, 1903
- Mesa Verde – June 29, 1906
- Glacier – May 11, 1910
- Rocky Mountain – January 26, 1915
- Hawaii Volcanoes – August 1, 1916
- Lassen Volcanic – August 9, 1916
- Denali – February 26, 1917
- Acadia – February 26, 1919
- Grand Canyon – February 26, 1919
- Zion – November 19, 1919
- Hot Springs – March 4, 1921
- Bryce Canyon – February 25, 1928
- Grand Teton – February 26, 1929
- Carlsbad Caverns – May 14, 1930
- Everglades – May 30, 1934
- Great Smoky Mountains – June 15, 1934
- Shenandoah – December 26, 1935
- Olympic – June 29, 1938
- Kings Canyon – March 4, 1940
- Isle Royale – April 3, 1940
- Mammoth Cave – July 1, 1941
- Big Bend – June 12, 1944
- Virgin Islands – August 2, 1956
- Haleakala – July 1, 1961
- Petrified Forest – December 9 , 1962
- Canyonlands – September 12, 1964
- Guadalupe Mountains – October 15, 1966
- North Cascades – October 2, 1968
- Redwoods – October 2, 1968
- Arches – November 12, 1971
- Capitol Reef – December 18, 1971
- Voyageurs – April 8, 1975
- Badlands – November 10, 1978
- Theodore Roosevelt – November 10, 1978
- Channel Islands – March 5, 1980
- Biscayne – June 28, 1980
- Gates of the Arctic – December 2, 1980
- Glacier Bay – December 2, 1980
- Katmai – December 2, 1980
- Kenai Fjords – December 2, 1980
- Kobuk Valley – December 2, 1980
- Lake Clark – December 2, 1980
- Wrangell – St. Elias – December 2, 1980
- Great Basin – October 27, 1986
- American Samoa – October 31, 1988
- Dry Tortugas – October 26, 1992
- Saguaro – October 14, 1994
- Death Valley – October 31, 1994
- Joshua Tree – October 31, 1994
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison – October 21, 1999
- Cuyahoga Valley – October 11, 2000
- Congaree – November 10, 2003
- Great Sand Dunes – September 13, 2004
- Pinnacles – January 15, 2013
- Gateway Arch – February 22, 2018
- Indiana Dunes – February 15, 2019
- White Sands – December 20, 2019
- New River Gorge – December 27, 2020
Final Thoughts on this National Parks List
Visiting all 63 National Parks is a wonderful journey and a worthy adventure but don’t get so obsessed with marking parks off your National park Checklist that your forget to stop and enjoy the view.
If you are in need of any gear suggestions check out our gear guides below.
If you are looking for advice on other types of outdoor gear specific guides:
Here are some other National Park gear you might like:
- 29 Phenomenal National Park Gifts for Park Lovers
- 19+ Junior Ranger Gift Ideas
- Epic US National Park Wall Maps to help you keep track of your travels