Four Best National Parks to Visit Solo

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As someone who enjoys going to the National Parks by themselves at times (picture of me up top hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer) it’s often difficult to find places that are safe to go by yourself.  I wanted to share four National Parks that are easy for the solo traveler/hiker to go to alone and feel like they aren’t stranded or putting themselves in danger.  I’m also including specific areas and times of the year that while being solo will hardly mean you are by yourself!

4. Crater Lake National Park.  The deepest and clearest lake in the United States is one of my favorite National Parks around.  It’s also a great place for a solo trip especially if you can stay overnight by snagging a camping spot or a stay at the Crater Lake lodge.  Crater Lake has one road that goes around the entire lake.  It has tons of side hikes but there’s one road and pretty much any hike takes you up a different vantage point of the lake itself.  Therefore you can always see the lake and know where you are in conjunction to the park/your car/your bike.
Whether you are coming in for just a few hours or if you want to spend a few days it’s an easy to navigate solo traveler destination.  I loved the non technical hikes up Mt Scott and the peak that has a trailhead basically connected to the Crater Lake lodge.  No visit is complete without a strut down to the lake itself or a complete drive around the scenic lake.  See how many panorama shots you can fit on your iPhone!  Crater Lake is a lake due to the massive amounts of snow that it receives every year.  This is a June through September or October destination only if you are doing a solo travel and want to be around another human being.  It gets a little remote in the winter!



3. Death Valley National Park.  This park is just a two hour drive from Las Vegas.  With Las Vegas being one of the most popular places for business travelers odds are you might find yourself with an extra day at the beginning or end of a work trip.  As with a lot of work travel you might also find yourself to be alone.  Hop on over to Death Valley for a quick day and you will treat yourself to the best business travel you have ever experienced!  When I did this I stayed in Pahrump Nevada (halfway between Las Vegas and Death Valley) and did about 15 miles of hiking and wandering in this amazing National Park…almost all of which I could see my car during!
The thing about Death Valley is you are day hiking along flat salt basins, huge sand dunes, and trails that run parallel to parking lots as opposed to extending straight out into the woods.  
There are also little to no trees in the park so even if you are two miles out in the sand dunes you can spot the restrooms and the parking lot.
Death Valley solo is best performed from October to April when the crowds are more plentiful and dehydration is less likely.
The areas I did not go to include all of the long dirt road paths that you have a chance of blowing a flat tire on.  I would recommend staying on the main areas if traveling by yourself and to make sure you bring along plenty of water.  


2. Yosemite National Park.  Another great solo park because you will hardly be by yourself.  This park is a few hour drive from San Fran and the Bay Area and once you hit the valley floor you will actually be hoping for a bit more peace and quiet.  You can do a ten mile run on the Yosemite Valley Floor and always be within shouting distance of help or support.  Driving up and getting out to the Glacier Point area (DAY HIKE TIP: Go to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome for some awesome hikes as opposed to just the Glacer Point lookout point.)  Mariposa Grove (when it reopens) is also easy to navigate and a beautiful place to get surrounded by mammoth trees by yourself.  Another great activity to do in Yosemite is visiting the Ansel Adams exhibits or to simply watch the Camp Four rock climbers do their work up El Capitan. The bottom line is Yosemite is jaw dropping…both in the stunning landscapes, incredible activity opportunities, and the amounts of people.  If the spouse or kids want to stay at home but also know you will be near somebody when making a visit Yosemite anytime outside of winter will have you surrounded.
If you have your bear spray and are an experienced hiker and backpacker the Tioga Lake region has some jaw dropping views and day hikes.  But it’s definitely way more off the beaten path and is entrenched in bear country.  Use caution.  A walk around Tioga Lake will blow your mind but keep you within safe distance of another human being.


1. Grand Canyon National Park.  My wife rarely has her mind blown when it comes to nature landscapes and beauty.  Her first view of the Grand Canyon is an exception.  She had her mouth wide open and eyes in pure awe of this special place.  Grand Canyon is one of those places you HAVE to visit if you live in the United States.  If you don’t live in the states it would honestly also be my top place to visit.  San Fran, New York City, or Yellowstone being the next places for an individual visiting from a foreign land for the first time.  The Grand Canyon is number one because you can hike along the rim for days…literally…and always be within shouting distance of someone.  It’s also number one on my list because if no one is willing to go there with you…you get to go anyway…it’s that incredible and worth it!  The other reason it marks number one on my list is there are group tours that take you inside the canyon for days at a time.  It’s a perfect way to have a solo adventure of a lifetime within the confines of group travel.  You get the solitude with the safety.  And the final reason is there is just something absolutely special and one of a kind in witnessing a sunrise or a sunset by yourself over the rim of the Grand Canyon.  It will remind you how special all of the people are in your life are and how truly incredible this one special life…and planet are.  Do yourself a favor and get to the Grand Canyon ASAP if you have never been and get back there ASAP if you already have!  It’s that solid of a place.


That’s my list of the four best National Parks to hit on a solo adventure.  Keeping in mind important pieces like safety and experiences.  

What do you think about this list?  What’s your favorite National Park to visit solo? 
We’d love to hear your comments!

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