New research by Audley Travel: Great Smoky Mountains National Park crowned top-rated park in the USA

Audley Travel has identified the best-loved national parks in the USA, and Great Smoky Mountains has come out on top.

LONDON, June 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Travel experts at Audley Travel have analysed data from Google Reviews to find the public’s top-rated national parks across the USA. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, tops the ratings, followed by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Audley’s USA specialists explain why these parks are so popular and how travellers can explore them on their next trip to the States.

Why is Great Smoky Mountains National Park the most popular?

Wreathed in a blanket of fog each morning, the Great Smoky Mountains form part of the storied Appalachian Mountains range. “There’s something beautifully eerie about them,” says Audley USA specialist Shannon Cooney. “The Smokies have some of the best hikes and viewing points in the region, particularly in autumn time, when the forest canopy fans out in an array of reds, oranges, and greens.”

The park is vast, so Shannon suggests exploring with a guide: “You could head out on an open-top 4×4 tour, which will take you to some of the park’s best waterfalls and vantage points.”

Why did Bryce Canyon National Park come in second place?

A complete contrast to the Smokies, Bryce Canyon National Park is covered in towering red-rock columns, called ‘hoodoos’, with smatterings of green foliage. “It’s otherworldly,” says Audley USA specialist Madiha Hussain. “The Southwest is known for its burnt orange landscapes, but Bryce’s hoodoos add another level of intrigue. It looks as if they were formed by supernatural forces.”

Why did Rocky Mountain National Park come in third place?

“If you want to see America’s quintessential wildlife, come to Rocky Mountain National Park,” says Audley USA specialist Karl Elliott. “Here, just 90 minutes’ drive from Denver, you can spot bighorn sheep resting upon alpine slopes, elk grazing in lush meadows, moose cooling off in glassy lakes, and golden eagles circling their prey high above the treetops.

“There are plenty of hiking trails in the park,” Karl explains. “We can arrange for you to go with a private guide or as part of a small group. Either way, your guide will point out wildlife as you stroll through open meadows, past freshwater lakes, and into dense forests, all against the backdrop of snow-capped mountain scenery.”

Top 5 list of USA national parks:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park
  4. Grand Teton National Park
  5. Acadia National Park


For more information

Nicole Barnard

tmwi, acting on behalf of Audley Travel

01789 404180

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Audley Travel is an expert in individually designed travel, creating meaningful experiences in more than 80 destinations across all seven continents. Its dedicated destination specialists use their firsthand knowledge to plan your trip down to the finest detail, choosing experiences that speak to your passions and pairing you with local guides who are top of their field.

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