Anyone up for a road trip? This one travels through 47 of the national parks in the U.S. and will take you two months to complete. But hey, if you’ve got plenty of vacation time saved up — why not?
The route is just under 14,500 miles, according to The Washington Post. The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip map was designed to commemorate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, which was in August of 2016, and it hit all of the national parks (at that time) in the contiguous 48 states — so it doesn’t include parks in Hawaii and Alaska, for example.
The map was created by Randal Olson, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He had a little help from the Traveling Salesman Problem, which calculates the shortest route you can take to hit up a number of different cities before ending up back where you started.
National Park Service properties are constantly in flux, so it’s no surprise that some new parks have been added since Olson first put this road trip together. But you could easily add some of the new parks to the route: For example, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which was designated a national park in 2021, isn’t far off the route to Shenandoah National Park.
So, if you’re looking for a road trip and want to hit most of the national parks (again, excluding those in Alaska, Hawaii and other U.S. territories), then this would be the shortest, fastest way to do it. Olson recommends setting two months aside to take in all the sights.
Olson designed a circular route so that you can hop on at any point and still stay on track. To learn how the trip was calculated or to create your own trip, check out his blog.
Here’s a list of all the national parks the route covers, in order:
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
- Saguaro National Park, Arizona
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
- Everglades National Park, Florida
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
- Biscayne National Park, Florida
- Congaree National Park, South Carolina
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
- Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
- Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
- Badlands National Park, South Dakota
- Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
- Canyonlands National Park, Utah
- Arches National Park, Utah
- Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Zion National Park, Utah
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- North Cascades National Park, Washington
- Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
- Redwood National and State Parks, California
- Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Kings Canyon National Park, California
- Sequoia National Park, California
- Pinnacles National Park, California
- Channel Islands National Park, California
- Joshua Tree National Park, California
- Death Valley National Park, California
Now, time to set your sights on the open road!
This article originally appeared on Simplemost and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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