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The Most Photogenic National Parks

When you can only see one or two parks, and you're looking for the most picturesque and photogenic park, you need to know which of them is the very best.
08/24/2015 06:00pm ET | Updated August 25, 2016
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America's best idea--our national parks--are probably best known for the outdoor activities they afford us. From hiking to fly fishing and everything in between, these well-maintained and preserved public lands open up a whole world of outdoor activities.

The active resources are easy enough to recall, but what about the less obvious resource these parks have in store--their natural beauty? The parks set all over the U.S. are about as diverse as the different regions themselves and each has something spectacular to offer. But when you can only see one or two parks, and you're looking for the most picturesque and photogenic park, you need to know which of them is the very best.

With some expert opinions from national park photographers Quan-Tuan Luong and Mike Oswald we put together our list of the most photogenic national parks in America.

Glacier National Park, Mont.
The tenth most visited national park in the country is also a favorite of photographers from all over. One photographer in particular, Quan-Tuan Luong, has captured all of the national parks with a large format camera and said that Glacier National Park is home to “maybe the most beautiful alpine scenery in the country and certainly the most intact ecosystem.” Lakes, waterfalls and wildflower meadows are made more beautiful by the mountainous backdrop and at times it seems as though everything is perfectly preserved as it once was. Photographers who want to capture this park first-hand should do so sooner rather than later, as climate change is taking its toll on the park. Photo Credit: ShutterstockClick Here to See The 13 Most Photogenic National Parks
Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
Set just 10 miles south of Yellowstone,Grand Teton National Park has some major competition, but still manages to draw in nearly 2.8 million visitors a year—many of which visit to capture breathtaking images. The park provides ample opportunity for shooting large wildlife and dramatic landscapes, which are often most intense at sunrise or dusk. Named for the young mountains that shoot out from the ground and soar into the sky, Grand Teton National Park is perhaps most famous for the iconic barn photo, taken in Mormon Row, but there are no shortage of incredible vantage points throughout the park. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Arches National Park, Utah
“Nature never ceases in her capacity to surprise,” said photographer and guide author Mike Oswald of Arches National Park. Home to the largest concentration of natural stone arches on the planet, the red rock formations are popular subjects themselves, but also serve as natural frames for shots of the greater landscape. Photographers hoping to capture stunning images of a dark night sky will have a tough time finding a more perfect venue and time lapse photography is also an extremely popular option at Arches National Park. Photo Credit: ShutterstockClick Here to See The 13 Most Photogenic National Parks
Yosemite National Park, Calif.
With an abundance of breathtaking landmarks, like Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Valley—to name a few, it’s no surprise that Yosemite would make the list of most photogenic parks. What is surprising though, is that many visitors and photographers spend all their time capturing the infamous Yosemite Valley when there’s so much more to explore. “The valley is only 5% of Yosemite and the rest of the backcountry is also full of gems,” said Luong. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Zion National Park, Utah
The stunning natural beauty of Zion National Park is enough to prompt a visit, but getting the truly breathtaking shots here will require some work. Two of the most photographed formations in the park—the Narrows and Angels Landing—will take some trekking and possibly wading through some water. Check the conditions at the park before you go to ensure you can access these areas and so you’ll know what to bring. Click Here to See The 13 Most Photogenic National ParksPhoto Credit: Shutterstock


- Diana Gerstacker, The Active Times

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