Discover the 10 Best National Parks to Visit in October

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: April 10, 2022
© EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Are you looking to get away from your daily routines? To travel and explore national parks in the United States? There’s no better month for you to travel than October. This is when all the parks are filled with the beautiful colors of nature. The green leaves turn into bright yellow, deep red, and orange. The temperatures are also suitable for all outdoor activities.

So, if you are looking for a place to explore nature, photograph beautiful scenery, watch birds and wild animals, and enjoy water sports or other outdoor activities in the fall, then this article has all you need.

Let’s look at the 10 best national parks to visit in October, why you should visit these parks, and what to expect while you are there.

1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Everett Covered Bridge
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in Ohio.

©Krickproductions/Shutterstock.com

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

StateOhio
Size32,572 Acres
Animal to seeWoodchucks
Attraction to seeBrandywine falls

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is very beautiful in October. The days are warm and sunny, while the nights are cool.

The Oak Hill Trail in Cuyahoga County is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the area, with magnificent blooming wildflowers. Enjoy nature and hike the remarkable geological Ritchie Ledges through the 1.8 miles of Ledge Trail to see the exceptional rock formations up close.

Make sure to visit the breathtaking Brandywine Falls, surrounded by beautiful fall foliage, and the Blue Hen Falls, one of the quietest places in the park. Catch a glimpse of water snakes, woodchucks, sparrows, orioles, wrens, nesting waterfowls, and the occasional otter at the Beaver Marsh. 

2. Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park has many outdoor activities including hiking, scenic drives, photography, and wildlife viewing.

©Vladimir Grablev/Shutterstock.com

Shenandoah National Park

StateVirginia
Size199,173 Acres
Animals to SeeBlack Bear
Attraction to SeeDark Hollow Falls

The deeply forested areas of Shenandoah National Park have breath-taking hues all around them in October. There are many outdoor activities to explore at the park, including hiking, scenic drives, photography, and wildlife viewing.

The numerous waterfalls will provide you with endless delights as you explore them safely. Be on the lookout for black bears, bobcats, and white-tailed deer early in the morning and late in the evening. Experience the solitude of the Shenandoah Valley Park sunrise or sunset from the overlooks.

3. Mount Rainier National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in October - Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is located in Washington.

©Vidpen/Shutterstock.com

Mount Rainier National Park

StateWashington
Size236,381 Acres
Animal to seeMountain Goat
Attraction to seeMount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park is among the best places to go hiking. Temperatures are more pleasant in October, making it an ideal month to visit the park. Taking a scenic drive around the park will let you see the park and its unique geological formations in all their glory.

Hike on the Cartel Falls Trails and get a closer look at the beautiful scenes of the glacial rivers. Make sure you visit Narada Falls, the most breathtaking falls in the park, and get a chance to see a rainbow in the fall on a sunny day.

Fall is the best season to spot cougars, chipmunks, and mountain goats on Mount Rainier. Black-tailed deer can be seen in the diverse forested areas of the park.

4. Zion National Park

Zion National Park - Hidden Canyon Trail
Zion National Park provides a habitat for more than 68 species of mammals.

©VIKVAD/Shutterstock.com

Zion National Park

StateUtah
Size146,597 Acres
Animal to SeeCougar
Attraction to SeeCanyons

Paying a visit to Zion National Park in October is one of the best decisions one could ever make. Temperatures range from highs of 66℉ to lows of 39℉. The place has spectacular fall foliage. 

Hiking can either be self-guided or ranger-guided; either way, this park is a hiking paradise with more than one trail. You can also enjoy backpacking and camping in this beautiful park.

The park also provides a habitat for more than 68 species of mammals. These animals include cougar, California condors, eastern collared lizards, northern Pacific rattlesnakes, and kangaroo rats.

5. Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park - Kayaking
Everglades National Park, you can Kayak on group tours through the manatees and mangrove tunnels to improve aerobic fitness and flexibility.]

©Maridav/Shutterstock.com

Everglades National Park

StateFlorida
Size1,508,976 Acres
Animal to seeAmerican Alligators
Attraction to seeShark Valley

The Everglades National Park is another great park to visit in October. Tour the park to explore, unwind, and interact with nature. Hike through Shark Valley and enjoy the view of pine Flatwoods and sawgrass marshes.

It has all types of animals, such as the American alligator, Florida panther, the American crocodile, coral snake, fox, peacock, and alligator gar, among many other species. Alligators are regarded as the keystone species in the Everglades.

Kayak on group tours through the manatees and mangrove tunnels to improve aerobic fitness and flexibility. Large parts of the park are accessible by boat. So, you can join the groups led by rangers on boat tours to get a chance to view the aquatic life.

6. Haleakala National Park

Haleakala volcano
Haleakala National Park is home to native species of birds, such as the Hawaiian goose and Hawaiian petrel.

©Pierre Leclerc/Shutterstock.com

Haleakala National Park

StateHawaii
Size33,265 Acres
Animal to seeSeal
Attraction to seeWaimoku Falls

October is one of the best months to visit Haleakalā National Park. The weather is favorable for outdoor activities, such as hiking along the Pipiwai Trail. One can take a helicopter tour to get amazing views of the entire park.

Be sure to see Haleakala’s native mammals like seals, turtles, and bats spread throughout the park. The park is also home to native species of birds, such as the Hawaiian goose and Hawaiian petrel.

Camping and backpacking are available in designated places at the park, like the Kipahulu Campground, where you will peacefully enjoy watching the stars.

7. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Laurel Falls
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in Tennessee.

©Weidman Photography/Shutterstock.com

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

StateTennessee
Size522,419 Acres
Animal to SeeBack bear
Attraction to seeCades Cove

Situated in eastern Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is another great place to visit in October, especially if you’re in search of autumn foliage. The park is best known for its beautiful ancient mountains and diverse ecosystem.

Hike on park trails such as the Ramsey Cascades and get a close view of the park’s old forest, footbridges, and cascades on Clingman’s Dome Loop. You can also hike the Grotto Falls trail for a fantastic view of the falls.

Take a scenic drive through the Newfound Gap to the best scenic attractions in the park. Drive through an 11- mile loop of the Cascades Valley to view white-tailed deer, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and black bears. Make sure you visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to see the marine wildlife.

Ride the Great Smoky Mountains’ railroad and later camp in one of the best campgrounds in this park, be it the Cosby campground or the Deep Creek Campground.

8. Arches National Park

Arches National Park - Turret Arch
Arches National Park provides habitat for several nocturnal animals, including bobcats, skunks, desert rodents, mountain lions, and foxes.

©anthony heflin/Shutterstock.com

Arches National Park

StateUtah
Size76,679 Acres
Animal to seeDesert Bighorn Sheep
Attraction to seeDelicate Arch

Temperatures range between 60 and 80 degrees at Arches National Park in October, making it ideal for visiting the park. Take a hike to see the wonderful red rock landscape within park boundaries.

Arches provide habitat for several nocturnal animals, including bobcats, skunks, desert rodents, mountain lions, foxes, etc. You may spot the desert bighorn sheep along Highway 191 south of the visitor center.

9. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is famous for its incredible waterfalls, fantastic granite cliffs, mountains, glaciers, lakes, and clear streams.

©iStock.com/agaliza

Yosemite National Park

StateCalifornia
Size759,620 Acres
Animal to seeStellar’s Jay
Attraction to seeGlacier Point

Yosemite National Park is among the most incredible places to visit in October. There are fewer crowds and favorable temperatures. Most of the days are warm and dry for outdoor activities.

Yosemite is famous for its incredible waterfalls, fantastic granite cliffs, mountains, glaciers, lakes, and clear streams. Enjoy bird watching in the Sierra Nevada. You may spot the great gray owl, steller’s jay, American dipper, and western tanager.

Explore El Capitan, a granite monolith that rises nine hundred and ten meters above Yosemite Valley. It’s one of the most difficult climbs in the world, but it’s worth a try.

10. Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Lake Clark National Park in Fall
Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is full of amazing scenery of mountains, glaciers, rivers, and waterfalls.

©Jesse Hasup/Shutterstock.com

Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

StateAlaska
Size4,030,015 Acres
Animal to seeMulchatna Caribou
Attraction to seeMount Redoubt

Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is one of America’s finest parks to visit in October. It’s full of amazing scenery of mountains, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, and one of the largest lakes in Alaska.

Enjoy guided tours to view bears as the park is densely populated with brown and black bears. You may also catch sight of moose, herds of Mulchatna caribou, and other varieties of subarctic wildlife throughout the park.

Hike through the Telaquana Route, which ends at Telaquana Lake, where you will be able to explore the facial rivers and boreal forests.


The Featured Image

Zion National Park - Canyon
© EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on real estate, nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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