The National Park System

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
Source: Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

The National Park System of the United States is run by the National Park Service, a bureau of the Department of the Interior. Yellowstone, which was opened in 1872, was the first national park in the world. The system includes not only the most extraordinary and spectacular scenic exhibits in the United States, but also a large number of sites distinguished either for their historic importance, prehistoric importance, or scientific interest, or for their superior recreational assets. The National Park System is made up of 376 areas covering more than 83 million acres in every state except Delaware. It also includes areas in the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Here is a list of some of the National Park System's sites. See also the excellent Web site of the Park Service:

Note: n.a. means “not available.”


Name, location, and year authorized Acreage Outstanding characteristics
Acadia (Maine), 1919 46,998.43Rugged seashore on Mt. Desert Island and adjacent mainland
Arches (Utah), 1971 73,378.98 Unusual stone arches, windows, pedestals caused by erosion
Badlands (S.D.), 1978 242,755.94 Arid land of fossils, prairie, bison, deer, bighorn, antelope
Big Bend (Tex.), 1935 801,163.21 Mountains and desert bordering the Rio Grande
Biscayne (Fla.), 1980 172,924.07 Aquatic and coral reef park south of Miami; was a national monument, 1968–1980
Bryce Canyon (Utah), 1924 35,835.08 Area of grotesque, brilliantly colored eroded rocks
Canyonlands (Utah), 1964 337,570.43 Colorful wilderness with impressive red-rock canyons, spires, arches
Capitol Reef (Utah), 1971 241,904.26 Highly colored sedimentary rock formations in high, narrow gorges
Carlsbad Caverns (N.M.), 1930 46,766.45 The world's largest known caves
Channel Islands (Calif.), 1980 249,353.77 Area is rich in marine mammals, sea birds, endangered species, and archeology
Crater Lake (Ore.), 1902 183,224.05Deep blue lake in heart of inactive volcano
Death Valley (Calif.-Nev.), 1994 3,367,627.68 Largest desert, surrounded by high mountains, containing the lowest point in the Western hemisphere
Denali (Alaska), 1917 4,741,800.00 Mt. McKinley National Park was renamed and enlarged by Act of Dec. 2, 1980. Contains Mt. McKinley, N. America's highest mountain (20,320 ft.)
Dry Tortugas (Fla.), 1992 64,700.00 Formerly Ft. Jefferson National Monument. Located 70 miles off Key West. Features an underwater nature trail
Everglades (Fla.), 1934 1,507,850.00 Subtropical area with abundant bird and animal life
Gates of the Arctic (Alaska), 1980 7,523,898.00 Diverse north central wilderness contains part of Brooks Range
Glacier (Mont.), 1910 1,013,572.42 Rocky Mountain scenery with many glaciers and lakes
Glacier Bay (Alaska), 1980 3,224,794.00 Park was a national monument 1925–1980; popular for wildlife, whale-watching, glacier-calving, and scenery
Grand Canyon (Ariz.), 1919 1,217,158.32 Mile-deep gorge, 4 to 18 miles wide, 217 miles long
Grand Teton (Wyo.), 1929 309,994.72Picturesque range of high mountain peaks
Great Basin (Nev.), 1986 77,180.00 Exceptional scenic, biologic, and geologic attractions
Great Smoky Mts. (N.C.-Tenn), 1926 521,621.00Highest mountain range east of Black Hills; luxuriant plant life
Guadalupe Mountains (Tex.), 1966 86,415.97 Contains highest point in Texas: Guadalupe Peak (8,751 ft.)
Haleakala (Hawaii), 1960 28,091.14World-famous 10,023-ft. Haleakala volcano (dormant)
Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii), 1916 209,695.38Spectacular volcanic area; luxuriant vegetation at lower levels
Hot Springs (Ark.), 1921 5,549.4647 mineral hot springs said to have therapeutic value
Isle Royale (Mich.), 1931 571,790.11 Largest wilderness island in Lake Superior; moose, wolves, lakes
Joshua Tree (Calif.), 1936 792,749.87Desert region featuring Joshua trees and a great variety of plants and animals.
Katmai (Alaska), 1980 3,674,540.87 Expansion may assist in brown bear's preservation. Park was national monument 1918–1980; is known for fishing, 1912 volcano eruption, bears
Kenai Fjords (Alaska), 1980 670,642.79Mountain goats, marine mammals, birdlife are features at this seacoast park near Seward
Kings Canyon (Calif.), 1940 461,901.20 Huge canyons; high mountains; giant sequoias
Kobuk Valley (Alaska), 1980 1,750,736.86 Native culture and anthropology center around the broad Kobuk River in northwest Alaska
Lake Clark (Alaska), 1980 2,636,839.00 Park provides scenic and wilderness recreation across Cook Inlet from Anchorage
Lassen Volcanic (Calif.), 1916 106,372.36 Exhibits of impressive volcanic phenomena
Mammoth Cave (Ky.), 1926 52,830.19Vast limestone labyrinth with underground river
Mesa Verde (Colo.), 1906 52,121.93 Best-preserved prehistoric cliff dwellings in United States
Mount Rainier (Wash.), 1899 235,612.50 Single-peak glacial system; dense forests, flowered meadows
National Park of American Samoa, (American Samoa) 19889,000.00 Two rain forest preserves and a coral reef on the island of Ofu are home to unique tropical animals. The park also includes several thousand acres on the islands of Tutuila and Ta'u
North Cascades (Wash.), 1968 504,780.94 Roadless Alpine landscape; jagged peaks; mountain lakes; glaciers
Olympic (Wash.), 1938 922,651.01 Finest Pacific Northwest temperate rain forest; scenic mountain park
Petrified Forest (Ariz.), 1962 93,532.57 Extensive natural exhibit of petrified wood
Redwood (Calif.), 1968 110,232.40 Coastal redwood forests; contains world's tallest known tree (369.2 ft.)
Rocky Mountain (Colo.), 1915 265,727.15 Section of the Rocky Mountains; 107 named peaks over 10,000 ft.
Saguaro (Ariz.), 1994 91,452.95Giant saguaro cacti, unique to the Sonoran Desert, sometimes reach a height of 50 ft. in this cactus forest
Sequoia (Calif.), 1890 402,482.38 Giant sequoias; magnificent High Sierra scenery, including Mt. Whitney
Shenandoah (Va.), 1926 197,388.98Tree-covered mountains; scenic Skyline Drive
Theodore Roosevelt (N.D.), 1978 70,446.89 Scenic valley of Little Missouri River; T.R. Ranch; wildlife
Virgin Islands (U.S. V.I.), 1956 14,688.87 Beaches; lush hills; prehistoric Carib Indian relics
Voyageurs (Minn.), 1971 218,035.33 Wildlife, canoeing, fishing, and hiking
Wind Cave (S.D.), 1903 28,295.03 Limestone caverns in Black Hills; buffalo herd
Wrangell-St. Elias (Alaska), 1980 8,323,617.68 Largest Park System area has abundant wildlife, second highest peak in U.S. (Mt. St. Elias); adjoins Canadian park
Yellowstone (Wyo.-Mont.-Idaho), 1872 2,219,790.71 World's greatest geyser area; abundant falls, wildlife, and canyons
Yosemite (Calif.), 1890 761,236.20 Mountains; inspiring gorges and waterfalls; giant sequoias
Zion (Utah), 1919 146,597.61Multicolored gorge in heart of southern Utah desert

National Monuments

Name and location Total acreage
Agate Fossil Beds (Neb.) 3,055.22
Alibates Flint Quarries (Tex.) 1,370.97
Aniakchak (Alaska) 137,176.00
Aztec Ruins (N.M.) 319.73
Bandelier (N.M.) 32,737.20
Black Canyon (Colo.) 20,766.14
Booker T. Washington (Va.) 223.92
Buck Island Reef (U.S. V.I.) 880.00
Cabrillo (Calif.) 137.06
Canyon de Chelly (Ariz.) 83,840.00
Cape Krusenstern (Alaska) 659,807.00
Capulin Volcano (N.M.) 792.84
Casa Grande (Ariz.) 472.50
Castillo de San Marcos (Fla.) 20.51
Castle Clinton (N.Y.) 1.00
Cedar Breaks (Utah) 6,154.60
Chiricahua (Ariz.) 11,984.73
Colorado (Colo.) 20,453.93
Congaree Swamp (S.C.) 22,200.00
Craters of the Moon (Idaho) 53,440.05
Devils Postpile (Calif.) 798.46
Devils Tower (Wyo.) 1,346.91
Dinosaur (Utah-Colo.) 210,844.02
Effigy Mounds (Iowa) 1,481.39
El Malpais (N.M.) 114,275.95
El Morro (N.M.) 1,278.72
Florissant Fossil Beds (Colo.) 5,998.09
Fort Frederica (Ga.) 241.42
Fort Matanzas (Fla.) 227.76
Fort McHenry (Md.) 43.26
Fort Pulaski (Ga.) 5,623.10
Fort Stanwix (N.Y.) 15.52
Fort Sumter (S.C.) 194.60
Fort Union (N.M.) 720.60
Fossil Butte (Wyo.) 8,198.00
George Washington Birthplace (Va.) 553.23
George Washington Carver (Mo.) 210.00
Gila Cliff Dwellings (N.M.) 533.13
Grand Portage (Minn.) 709.97
Great Sand Dunes (Colo.) 38,662.18
Hagerman Fossil Beds (Idaho) 4,345.59
Hohokam Pima (Ariz.) 1,690.00
Homestead (Neb.) 195.11
Hovenweep (Utah-Colo.) 784.93
Jewel Cave (S.D.) 1,273.51
John Day Fossil Beds (Ore.) 14,014.58
Lava Beds (Calif.) 46,559.87
Little Big Horn Battlefield (Mont.) 765.34
Montezuma Castle (Ariz.) 857.69
Muir Woods (Calif.) 553.55
Natural Bridges (Utah) 7,636.49
Navajo (Ariz.) 360.00
Ocmulgee (Ga.) 701.54
Oregon Caves (Ore.) 487.98
Organ Pipe Cactus (Ariz.) 330,688.86
Petroglyph (N.M.) 7,240.33
Pinnacles (Calif.) 16,265.44
Pipe Spring (Ariz.) 40.00
Pipestone (Minn.) 281.78
Poverty Point (La.) 910.85
Rainbow Bridge (Utah) 160.00
Russell Cave (Ala.) 310.45
Salinas (N.M.) 1,071.42
Scotts Bluff (Neb.) 3,003.03
Statue of Liberty (N.Y.-N.J.) 58.38
Sunset Crater (Ariz.) 3,040.00
Timpanogos Cave (Utah) 250.00
Tonto (Ariz.) 1,120.00
Tuzigoot (Ariz.) 800.62
Walnut Canyon (Ariz.) 3,541.46
White Sands (N.M.) 143,732.92
Wupatki (Ariz.) 35,442.13
Yucca House (Colo.) 33.87

National Scenic Trails

Name and location Total acreage
Appalachian (Maine-N.H.-Vt.-Mass.-Conn.-N.Y.-N.J.- Pa.-Md.-W.Va.-Va.-N.C.-Tenn., Ga.) 172,109.93
Natchez Trace (Ga.-Ala.-Tenn.) 10,995.00
Potomac Heritage (D.C.-Md.-Va.-Pa.) n.a.

National Cemeteries1

Name and location Total acreage
Andersonville (Ga.) 494.61
Andrew Johnson (Tenn.) 16.68
Antietam (Md.) 11.36
Battleground (D.C.) 1.03
Fort Donelson (Tenn.) 15.30
Fredericksburg (Va.)12.00
Gettysburg (Pa.) 20.58
Little Big Horn (Mont.) 765.34
Poplar Grove (Va.) 8.72
Shiloh (Tenn.) 10.05
Stones River (Tenn.) 719.81
Vicksburg (Miss.) 116.28
Yorktown (Va.) 2.91
1. The National Cemeteries are not independent areas of the National Park System; each is part of a military park, battlefield, etc., except Battleground. Their acreage is kept separately. Arlington National Cemetery is under the Department of the Army.
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