Best National Parks to Visit in June

The U.S. is blessed with a huge number of amazing national parks. From the glaciers of Alaska to the swamps of Florida, it’s true that there’s a national park for every type of habitat and landscape. A significant part of getting the most out of any visit to a national park is by visiting the park at the best time. A visit at the right time can be the difference between seeing certain flowers or animals and getting soaked or bathed in sunshine. 

In this article, we’ll look at which of the national parks in the U.S. are best to visit during the month of June.

Top 10 National Parks to Visit in June

Many of America’s national parks experience their best conditions during the warm summer months. So it’s not been an easy choice, but the top 10 national parks to visit in June are:

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  2. Glacier National Park, Montana
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  4. Yosemite National Park, California
  5. Olympic National Park, Washington
  6. Sequoia National Park, California
  7. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  8. Channel Islands National Park, California
  9. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  10. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

1. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is home to some incredible scenery. Spanning the Continental Divide, the park is home to 77 peaks that exceed 12,000 feet. The largest of these mountains is Long’s Peak, with an elevation of 14,259 feet. The park also features alpine tundra, forests, and crystal clear lakes, making it more diverse than it’s often given credit for. The mountains dominate, though, and given the mountainous terrain, it’s no surprise the park is popular with hikers and climbers. It’s also a popular place to go for wild camping and fishing.

June is a great month to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. In June, the winter snow has melted below the mountain peaks, ensuring the trails and best sights are accessible. The weather is also largely warm and dry, perfect for hiking, climbing, and camping. 

Rocky Mountain National Park
There's more than just mountains to discover in the diverse Rocky Mountain National Park.

2. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in Montana’s Rocky Mountains is one of the finest parks in the U.S. Spanning the Continental Divide and buffered up against the Canadian border, this is a rugged and mountainous park. It’s one of the best places to view glaciers outside of Alaska, with the park home to 25 active glaciers. The park is also home to many wildlife species, including grizzly bears, brown bears, wolves, elk, and deer. It’s a popular destination for climbing, hiking, camping, rafting, and cycling. Adventurous cyclists and motorists enjoy taking the Going to the Sun Road, which stretches 50 miles across the park. The road features numerous twists, turns, and spectacular views before passing through Logan Pass, the road’s highest point.

A visit to Glacier National Park in June is hugely rewarding. The month marks a transitory weather month, meaning visitor numbers are much lower than during the peak months of July and August. The Going to the Sun Road is also closed to vehicles for the first half of June, making it an ideal time to hike or cycle this spectacular route. Daytime temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, making it more comfortable than the peak of summer. 

Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park in Montana is home to 25 active glaciers.

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee is renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life and beautiful scenery. Named after the morning mist that covers the mountain tops, the park covers over half a million acres. The park has numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and spectacular sights.  Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, and Abrams Falls are popular waterfall hikes, while the hike to Clingman’s Dome along the elevated forest walkway is spectacular. The park is a popular destination for hiking during both the summer and winter. Other popular activities in the park include rafting and tubing on the river, horse riding, and wildlife viewing. You can expect to see black bears, elk, and fireflies in the park.

A June visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ensures you enjoy warm weather with minimal rain. While visitor numbers are close to their peak at this time of year, the park is large enough to remain uncrowded. This helps to preserve the solitude and wilderness that makes the park such an attraction.   

Great Smoky National Park
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is named after it's smoke-like morning mist.

4. Yosemite National Park, California

Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is one of the best-known parks in the US. It’s also the fifth most visited national park in the whole U.S. The main draw for visitors is the park’s enormous sequoia trees, hiking trails, wildlife, and the iconic Tunnel View. The park is also a popular location for fishing and horse riding, it’s truly an outdoor paradise. Hiking in the park is hugely rewarding, with incredible views and vistas. The Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls are particularly spectacular, while the rock formation known as El Capitan is a huge draw for climbers. 

June is a good month to visit Yosemite National Park. During this time, campsites, trails, and roads are back open after the winter closure. The weather is also fine during this time, providing the perfect weather conditions for the perfect hiking location.

Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View is iconic vista in Yosemite National Park.

5. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park is located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The park is a popular destination due to its variety of ecosystems, ranging from the Olympic Mountains to its spectacular Pacific coastline, old-growth forest, and temperate rainforest. The park covers a huge 922,000 acres, and there are very few roads into the park and none through it. This makes the park an incredible wilderness destination and a wonderful place to escape to. In the park, you’ll find lakes to swim in, hiking trails, waterfalls, beaches, and a huge range of plants. Highlights include Rialto and Ruby beaches, the Hoh Rainforest, and the Enchanted Valley. 

The best time to visit Olympic National Park is during the month of June. The intense winter and early spring rain has subsided, with the warmer weather bringing about an explosion of green in the park. At this time of year, there are typically only 4 rainy days per month, and temperatures sit comfortably in the 60s.

Olympic National park temperate rainforest
Olympic National Park is home to the largest area of temperate rainforest in the U.S.

6. Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park is situated in Central California, and the big draw is the enormous Sequoia trees that give the park its name. These gigantic trees grow up to 9 meters in diameter and 76 meters tall. The largest Sequoia tree in the park is known as General Sherman and is 83 meters tall with a diameter of 11 meters. This makes General Sherman the largest living tree in the world. It’s not too shabby for a tree that’s believed to be around 2,500 years old.

Elsewhere in the park, the Crystal Cave and Moro Rock are well worth seeing. The same administrative team runs the adjacent Kings Canyon National Park, and many visitors visit these two parks in tandem. Kings Canyon National Park is renowned for its Sequoia trees, granite canyons, and spectacular waterfalls.

The summer months of June, July, and August are the best time to visit. Weather during this time is warm, dry, and predictable, unlike other times of the year. While it’s possible to visit the park all year round, it can be challenging to access it during heavy rain or snowfall.

A forest of giant sequoia trees
The giant Sequoia Tree's are the largest species of tree in the world.

7. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is famous for its unique spire-shaped rock formations. These bizarre formations, known as Hoodoos, are caused by wind and rain over a period of many years, and Bryce Canyon is home to the largest collection of Hoodoos in the world. There are various viewpoints to see this spectacular sight within the Bryce Amphitheatre, and both sunrise and sunset are excellent times to take in the view. Bryce Canyon National Park is relatively small at 35,835 acres, but there’s plenty to see. There are some great hiking routes, plus horse riding and cycling opportunities throughout the park.  

June is a fine time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park. The days are long, dry, and clear, ensuring a perfect view of hoodoos and the surrounding areas. Winter sees snowfall and freezing temperatures, while both spring and fall can see cool weather.    

Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre
Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre is home to the largest collection of Hoodoos in the world.

8. Channel Islands National Park, California

The Channel Islands National Park in California is the only marine-based park on our list. The park is home to 5 small islands and almost 250,000 acres of pristine ocean. A further 3 islands, including Catalina Island, lie outside of the national park. Activities in the national park are split between the largely uninhabited islands and the ocean. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, and there’s plenty of opportunity for kayaking and paddle boarding. Other water-based activities include whale, seal, and dolphin watching. On land, there’s plenty of good hiking, and the islands also offer some unique plants and animal life. As the islands were created by tectonic activity and were never part of the mainland, they have some flora and fauna that are not found anywhere else in the world. The Channel Islands are a mini-version of the famous Galapagos Islands.

Visiting the Channels Islands National Park in June means you’ll have warm, sunny days and calm waters to explore the park. Visits outside of the summer months can often see much rougher seas and much cooler ocean temperatures. 

A seal at Channel Islands national park
The Channel Islands National park is home to a rich marine ecosystem.

9. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park is located in southwest Colorado. The park is famous for its Puebloan cliff dwellings, built by native Americans up to 1500 years ago. In total, the park is home to over 4,000 known archaeological sites, making it the most prolific area in the whole U.S. This richness of history has earned the park UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s possible to take tours of the dwellings, and there are also several viewpoints and short treks that you can undertake within the park. 

The park is open and accessible throughout the year. June is one of the better months to visit, particularly during the first half of the month. At this time the weather is fine, and it’s outside of the main tourist season, which runs from mid-June to mid-August. During the peak season, the park and the access roads can get very busy.

Mesa Verde national Park
Mesa Verde National Parks rich history is recognised by its UNESCO World Heritage status.

10. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

The Gates of the Arctic National Park is one of the more intrepid parks on the list. The park is located in northern Alaska and is only accessible during the warmer summer months. There are no official trails in the park, making this park an option only for experienced national park visitors. Most visitors come to hike in the area and raft the 6 designated wild rivers in the park. The wild landscape can be challenging so hiking can be relatively slow and arduous. The other reason to visit the park is to see the plentiful wildlife with bears, foxes, wolves, and herds of caribou roaming around. 

June is one of only a few months where visiting the Gates of the Arctic National Park is practical. Weather during this time is generally dry, with temperatures in the 60’s, making hiking in the daytime a comfortable experience.   

gates of the Arctic National park
With no roads or trails, hiking or flying is the only way to access this wild park.

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Best National Parks to Visit in February
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