Approximately 237 million people visited American national parks in 2020, representing a 28% year-over-year decrease attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Many parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus, but that’s not the whole story—when the parks were open, many of them saw record crowds as throngs of people desperate to safely enjoy nature descended onto parks when they reopened.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 signed the act creating the National Park Service to leave natural and historic phenomenons “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since then, our national parks have welcomed visitors from around the world to experience some of the best the country has to offer and showcase the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Today, the country’s 63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, more than 75,000 archaeological sites, and 18,000 miles of trails.

Stacker compiled a list of the closest national parks to Grand Junction. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Grand Junction, CO Metro Area, and each national park. Estimated driving times are from Here and are only available within the lower 48 states. All featured distances and driving times are estimated using representative locations from the center of each metro and national park—for some places within the metro area, the actual distance may be slightly shorter or longer to reach the closest entryway to a park.

Be sure to check with individual parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

#1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 51 miles
– Driving time: 1.6 hours
– Date founded: October 21, 1999
– 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 30,779.83 acres

#2. Arches National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 64 miles
– Driving time: 2.3 hours
– Date founded: November 12, 1971
– 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 76,678.98 acres

#3. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 98 miles
– Driving time: 8.0 hours
– Date founded: September 12, 1964
– 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 337,597.83 acres

#4. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 127 miles
– Driving time: 4.7 hours
– Date founded: June 29, 1906
– 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 52,485.17 acres

#5. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 157 miles
– Driving time: 3.9 hours
– Date founded: December 18, 1971
– 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 241,904.50 acres

#6. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 181 miles
– Driving time: 5.4 hours
– Date founded: January 26, 1915
– 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 265,807.25 acres

#7. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 183 miles
– Driving time: 4.9 hours
– Date founded: September 24, 2004
– 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 107,341.87 acres

#8. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 226 miles
– Driving time: 5.9 hours
– Date founded: February 25, 1928
– 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 35,835.08 acres

#9. Zion National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 277 miles
– Driving time: 6.4 hours
– Date founded: November 19, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 147,242.66 acres

#10. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 282 miles
– Driving time: 7.1 hours
– Date founded: December 9, 1962
– 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 221,390.21 acres

#11. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 287 miles
– Driving time: 7.7 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres

#12. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

– Distance: 314 miles
– Driving time: 6.4 hours
– Date founded: October 27, 1986
– 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 77,180.00 acres

#13. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

– Distance: 347 miles
– Driving time: 9.0 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1929
– 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 310,044.36 acres

#14. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

– Distance: 399 miles
– Driving time: 10.2 hours
– Date founded: March 1, 1872
– 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres

#15. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

– Distance: 407 miles
– Driving time: 8.9 hours
– Date founded: January 9, 1903
– 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 33,970.84 acres

#16. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 449 miles
– Driving time: 10.4 hours
– Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
– 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 146,344.31 acres

#17. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

– Distance: 450 miles
– Driving time: 10.2 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 1978
– 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 242,755.94 acres

#18. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 481 miles
– Driving time: 12.2 hours
– Date founded: October 14, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 92,867.42 acres

#19. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

– Distance: 497 miles
– Driving time: 9.6 hours
– Date founded: October 31, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres

#20. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 524 miles
– Driving time: 11.8 hours
– Date founded: May 14, 1930
– 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 46,766.45 acres

#21. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 530 miles
– Driving time: 12.8 hours
– Date founded: October 15, 1966
– 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 86,367.10 acres

#22. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

– Distance: 549 miles
– Driving time: 11.8 hours
– Date founded: October 31, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 795,155.85 acres

#23. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

– Distance: 572 miles
– Driving time: 17.5 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1940
– 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 461,901.20 acres

#24. Sequoia National Park (California)

– Distance: 587 miles
– Driving time: 16.2 hours
– Date founded: September 25, 1890
– 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 404,062.63 acres

#25. Yosemite National Park (California)

– Distance: 604 miles
– Driving time: 16.4 hours
– Date founded: October 1, 1890
– 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 761,747.50 acres

#26. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

– Distance: 604 miles
– Driving time: 13.6 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 1978
– 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 70,446.89 acres

#27. Channel Islands National Park (California)

– Distance: 700 miles
– Date founded: March 5, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 249,561.00 acres

#28. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

– Distance: 702 miles
– Driving time: 14.4 hours
– Date founded: August 9, 1916
– 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 106,589.02 acres

#29. Pinnacles National Park (California)

– Distance: 716 miles
– Driving time: 14.9 hours
– Date founded: January 10, 2013
– 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 26,685.73 acres

#30. Glacier National Park (Montana)

– Distance: 729 miles
– Date founded: May 11, 1910
– 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres

#31. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 736 miles
– Driving time: 17.1 hours
– Date founded: June 12, 1944
– 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 801,163.21 acres

#32. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

– Distance: 762 miles
– Driving time: 16.0 hours
– Date founded: May 22, 1902
– 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 183,224.05 acres

#33. Redwood National Park (California)

– Distance: 836 miles
– Driving time: 19.4 hours
– Date founded: October 2, 1968
– 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 138,999.37 acres

#34. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

– Distance: 862 miles
– Driving time: 16.4 hours
– Date founded: March 2, 1899
– 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 236,381.64 acres

#35. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

– Distance: 908 miles
– Driving time: 17.8 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1921
– 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 5,554.15 acres

#36. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

– Distance: 920 miles
– Driving time: 18.8 hours
– Date founded: October 2, 1968
– 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 504,780.94 acres

#37. Olympic National Park (Washington)

– Distance: 973 miles
– Driving time: 19.5 hours
– Date founded: June 29, 1938
– 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 922,649.41 acres

#38. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

– Distance: 985 miles
– Driving time: 15.7 hours
– Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
– 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 192.83 acres

#39. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

– Distance: 1,014 miles
– Driving time: 21.0 hours
– Date founded: April 8, 1975
– 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 218,222.35 acres

#40. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

– Distance: 1,142 miles
– Driving time: 19.1 hours
– Date founded: February 15, 2019
– 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 15,349.08 acres

#41. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

– Distance: 1,175 miles
– Driving time: 23.9 hours
– Date founded: April 3, 1940
– 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 571,790.30 acres

#42. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

– Distance: 1,222 miles
– Driving time: 20.7 hours
– Date founded: July 1, 1941
– 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 54,011.91 acres

#43. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)

– Distance: 1,387 miles
– Driving time: 24.0 hours
– Date founded: June 15, 1934
– 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 522,426.88 acres

#44. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

– Distance: 1,428 miles
– Driving time: 23.7 hours
– Date founded: October 11, 2000
– 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 32,571.88 acres

#45. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

– Distance: 1,479 miles
– Driving time: 24.4 hours
– Date founded: December 27, 2020
– 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 7,021 acres

#46. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

– Distance: 1,578 miles
– Driving time: 27.8 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 2003
– 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 26,476.47 acres

#47. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

– Distance: 1,619 miles
– Driving time: 27.9 hours
– Date founded: December 26, 1935
– 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 199,223.77 acres

#48. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

– Distance: 1,792 miles
– Driving time: 38.2 hours
– Date founded: October 26, 1992
– 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 64,701.22 acres

#49. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 1,847 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 5,748 (#60 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,223,383.43 acres

#50. Everglades National Park (Florida)

– Distance: 1,858 miles
– Driving time: 35.9 hours
– Date founded: May 30, 1934
– 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres

#51. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

– Distance: 1,887 miles
– Driving time: 34.9 hours
– Date founded: June 28, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 172,971.11 acres

#52. Wrangell–St. Elias National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,087 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 16,655 (#57 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 8,323,146.48 acres

#53. Acadia National Park (Maine)

– Distance: 2,093 miles
– Driving time: 38.1 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 49,076.63 acres

#54. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,290 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 115,882 (#52 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 669,650.05 acres

#55. Denali National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,406 miles
– Date founded: February 26, 1917
– 2020 visitors: 54,850 (#53 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 4,740,911.16 acres

#56. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,436 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres

#57. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,445 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 51,511 (#54 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,674,529.33 acres

#58. Gates of the Arctic National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,610 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres

#59. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,749 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 11,185 (#58 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,750,716.16 acres

#60. Virgin Islands National Park (U.S. Virgin Islands)

– Distance: 2,976 miles
– Date founded: August 2, 1956
– 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 15,052.53 acres

#61. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

– Distance: 3,087 miles
– Date founded: July 1, 1961
– 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 33,264.62 acres

#62. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

– Distance: 3,089 miles
– Date founded: August 1, 1916
– 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 325,605.28 acres

#63. National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa)

– Distance: 5,431 miles
– Date founded: October 31, 1988
– 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 8,256.67 acres