The snowy solitude of winter creates a serene landscape in National Parks all over America and the cold ensures fewer people jostling to take in the views. In fact, you may just have the entire park to yourself. At the other end of the spectrum are the warmer climate parks, offering a welcome reprieve from the chill. Whether you're wishing for a winter wonderland, or a winter escape, check out our picks for the 10 best national parks to visit this winter.
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ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
For wintertime mountain majesty, Rocky Mountain National Park wins with more than 60 snow-capped peaks above 12,000 feet. The park is a haven for cold-weather fanatics who come for the world-class ice climbing, winter mountaineering, snowshoeing, and skiing. The Moraine Park, Longs Peak, and Timber Creek campgrounds are open all year, and Rocky is one of the few national parks that allows backcountry camping in the winter.
Insider Tip: The Colorado snowpack is naturally avalanche-prone. Get a free backcountry permit for camping overnight, and check with rangers for area closures before heading out.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Rocky Mountain National Park Guide
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BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
The otherworldly rock formations of Bryce Canyon draw more than 1 million visitors a year, most of whom come in droves every season except winter. However, the hoodoos-iconic red rock spires-look the most dramatic when topped by a heap of snow. Expect a chill, though the park's daytime temperature rarely drops below freezing thanks to its desert location.
Insider Tip: Winter's crisp, dry air makes stargazing particularly vivid. Bryce Canyon offers free ranger-guided full moon snowshoe hikes and winter astronomy sessions.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Bryce Canyon National Park Guide
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EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
Most popular during the winter thanks to mild temperatures, less humidity, and far fewer mosquitos, the Everglades is a great winter escape. Plus, water levels drop in the dry winter season, drawing animals like the gray fox and the white-tailed deer out to the remaining watering holes for optimal wildlife viewing. The Florida panther is still a long shot to spot, but crocodiles and alligators abound.
Insider Tip: Already a birding hotspot, Everglades is best in winter as migratory birds settle in for the season. Walk Anhinga Trail at any time of day for ample sightings of wading birds and more.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Everglades National Park Guide