National Parks Checklist

Posted this list originally in 2009 here and then updated it later that year here. But this version is better. Several of these parks were visited as part of my 2009 48-state road trip.

Visited: 42 of 58*.

It isn’t really a list on which I need to check off everything. OTOH, it is a list.


Visited on the ’09 48-state road trip.

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American Samoa NP

Not visited.


Visited in ’95, ’96, and ’21 (I swear I have photos somewhere).


Visited as part of the April 2017 South Dakota Spring.


Big Bend

Visited on the ’09 road trip (Big Bend River Zone, Desert Zone) .

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Not visited.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

2016 during the 6-state road trip.


Bryce Canyon

Thrice: once in ’02, again in ’10, then again in ’19.

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Visited during Lehi days (’04) and with the ex and others in ’21.

Canyonlands - Chesler ParkCanyonlands - Druid ArchRecovered_Tiff_219Canyonlands

Capitol Reef

Visited on the road trip in 2009.

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Carlsbad Caverns

Twice. Once on the 48-stater in ’09, again on the nephew trip in ’14.

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Channel Islands

Not visited.


Visited on the ’09 48-state trip.

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Crater Lake

Visited on the road trip in ’09.

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Visited, technically, on the ’09 road trip.

Death Valley

Visited in ’08.

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Not visited.

Dry Tortugas

Not visited.


Visited in June 2023. Photos forthcoming maybe.

Gates of the Arctic

Not visited.


Visited on the ’09 road trip (here, here, here-ish, and here).

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Glacier Bay

Not visited.

Grand Canyon

Twice: once in ’95, once later in ’98.

Grand Teton

Three times (’96, ’09 road trip, ’14). But not a favorite.

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Great Basin

Great Sand Dunes

Visited on the nephew trip in ’14.

Great-Sand-Dunes-RiverGreat-Sand-Dunes-HikeSand Dunes Waterfall

Great Smoky Mountains

Visited on the ’09 road trip.

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Guadalupe Mountains

Visited on the road trip in ’09.



Visited in ’10.

haleakala sunrisehorseback riding at haleakalaHaleakala Crater Ledge

Hawaii Volcanoes                              

Not visited.

Hot Springs

Visited on the 2009 road trip; ate lunch.

Isle Royale

Not visited.

Joshua Tree

Twice: once in ’01, again in ’02.

Joshua Tree NPJoshua Tree


Not visited.

Kenai Fjords

Not visited.

Kings Canyon

Visited in ’09 as road trip preparation.

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Kobuk Valley

Not visited.

Lake Clark

Not visited.

Lassen Volcanic

Visited on the ’09 road trip (Bumpass Hell, Mt. Lassen Summit).

IMG_1276Bumpass HellIMG_1377Mt. Lassen - view from summit

Mammoth Cave

Visited on the ’09 road trip (here and here).

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Mesa Verde

Visited twice: once in ’96, once on the move from Oklahoma to NoUT in ’17.


Mt. Rainier

Most recently visited in ’07, on the road trip in ’09, and in ’10. (Also, apparently, ’73.)

image0-086IMG_0556IMG_0576IMG_0590IMG_0662IMG_0522IMG_0546Mt. Rainier from Crystal PeakIMG_1844 (1)IMG_1852 (1)

North Cascades

Visited in ’86.


Several times. As an adult and in memory: ’95, ’09 road trip (here and here), ’10, ’16, ’21, and ’22.

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Petrified Forest

Visited on the 6-state road trip in 2016.

Stump, log sections.Still desert.


Visited in ’09 as part of the road trip cool-down and in ’22 on the way from Seattle back to the UT.

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Rocky Mountain

Visited in ’14.

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Visited Christmas 2016.


Visited on the ’09 road trip warmup.

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Visited on the road trip in ’09. Not great.

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Theodore Roosevelt

Visited on the road trip in ’09.

DSC_3708 DSC_3722 DSC_3754 Theodore Roosevelt NP Horses

Virgin Islands NP

Not visited.


Not visited.

Wind Cave

Visited on the road trip.

Wrangell-St. Elias

Not visited.


Four times: ’73, [80’s?], the ’09 road trip, and sitting in traffic in ’14. They’re JUST BUFFALO.



Visited on the ’09 road trip (herehere, and here).

DSC_2190 IMG_1059 Vernal Falls in Yosemite Nevada Falls in Yosemite Half Dome Cable Section


Five times for some reason: ’05, ’06, the six-state road trip in 2016, and the Narrows in 2017 and 2018.

147_4763146_4675One of the last semi-deep spots before the end of the line.Recovered_JPEG Digital Camera_3295Weeping Rock - Immediately Below

But then narrower again.

* = 58 as of 2010. For parks designated after 2010… look, Cuyahoga is already on this list and it’s not exactly Yellowstone. Congaree is nice, but calling it an NP is a stretch. In other words, I don’t think we’re really killing it here in the 21st century. Thus, I feel like I have the right to determine which newly designated parks I personally recognize as Actual National Parks. Pinnacles? Bah.