Uncover lesser-known secrets about these iconic landscapes.
Plenty of people still think the National Park system is, as writer Wallace Stegner put it, “America’s best idea.” Over the last year alone, its 84 million acres were visited over 331 million times. But this vast network still has plenty of secrets left to explore. Here are some surprising facts about each of the 59 parks.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Acadia is the oldest park east of the Mississippi River and the first instance where the land was donated to the federal government.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
There are more than 2,000 documented arches in the national park, some spanning up to 300 feet.
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK
The Badlands are home to the largest known cluster of late Eocene and Oligocene mammal fossils.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
Historically, people traveled to the Hot Springs Historic District in Big Bend to heal their ailments. Today, visitors can soak in the 105-degree water that gushes from the old foundation of a bathhouse.