Awe-Inspiring Photos of National Parks in Winter

Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park
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Dazzling in Any Weather

Contrary to popular belief, national parks don't shut down in winter. While there may be limited services and road closures, there's often still plenty to do. At the top of the list? Taking in the stunning landscapes without a crowd of people to spoil the view. If you don't feel like bundling up, don't worry: We've rounded up stunning images of these American treasures that you can appreciate from your cozy home.

Related: Stunning Photos of Every National Park in America

Northern Lights
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Denali National Park | Alaska

Savage Cabin, seen here against a backdrop of the northern lights, was built in the 1920s. It's used for history presentations during the summer, and as a shelter for patrols during the winter. Though most of its main road shuts down, Denali remains open in the colder months and welcomes visitors for skiing, snowshoeing, and winter biking. 

Related: Best Vacation Rentals for Seeing the Northern Lights

Yellowstone National Park
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Acadia National Park
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Bryce Canyon National Park
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Rocky Mountain National Park Dream Lake
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Rocky Mountain National Park | Colorado

Dream Lake is one of Rocky Mountain National Park's most scenic spots, no matter the season, but we're guessing visitors will find the popular trail that leads there a lot less packed during the winter. The view at the end is all the more stunning because Hallett Peak's 12,713-foot summit looms in the background. 

Related: Epic Hiking Trails Around the World

Under The Stars
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Voyageurs National Park | Minnesota

Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park may be best known for its endless lakes and hardwood forests, but the near-absence of artificial light also makes its dark skies a must for stargazers. The park is a destination for ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing in the winter. It even has two ice roads open to cars and trucks, depending on conditions. 

Related: Under-the-Radar National Parks to Visit

Joshua Tree National Park
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Joshua Tree National Park | California

Because summer temperatures can soar past 100 degrees, far more visitors flock here during winter. Pleasantly cool temperatures top out around 60 degrees, with frigid nights. And while a thick blanket of snow obviously isn't unheard of, it's a rare sight. 

Related: Most Beautiful Places to Camp Across America

Great Smoky Mountains
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Smoky Mountains National Park | Tennessee

The white stuff is a lot more elusive in the Smokies than most may realize — lower elevations often only receive a dusting, and even that doesn't stick around long. As the park service notes, the park's peaks receive a lot more snow than the lowlands, and it's not uncommon for winter temperatures to hit the 60s.

Related: Bucket List RV Trips for 2021 

Arches National Park
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Arches National Park | Utah

Delicate Arch, the largest free-standing arch in Arches National Park, is even more stunning against a backdrop of snowy ridges. As long as conditions permit, the strenuous hike to the landmark is stunning in winter, with a little more solitude and manageable temperatures.

Related: Stunning Photos of Iconic Landscapes in the American West

Sequoia National Park
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Sequoia National Park | California

Sequoia's massive namesake trees are used to a little winter precipitation. The park regularly sees sudden storms and substantial snow, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed through some of its most famous groves. There are also designated snow-play areas in the park. 

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Great Sand Dunes National Park
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Great Sand Dunes National Park | Colorado

Snow on the sand may seem like an odd sight, but flakes hit the dunes roughly once a week during winter. Still, would-be sledders don't actually have to wait for snow; sandboarding and sand sledding using special equipment are one of the park's most popular activities all year round.

Related: Money-Saving Tips for Visiting National Parks

Grand Teton National Park
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Grand Teton National Park | Wyoming

Winter might be one of the most dazzling times of year to see the dramatic Tetons, not least of which because the crowds disappear. The snow is deep and frequent, with the park averaging a whopping 172 inches a year. Fortunately, long-legged moose are able to forage just fine when snow is on the ground.

Zion National Park
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Zion National Park | Utah

One of Zion's most popular hikes, the Emerald Pools trail is even more lovely with icicles hanging from the red rocks. Moderate temperatures with average highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s make winter a good time to explore, especially since summer temperatures can easily soar past 100. 

Yosemite National Park
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Pueblan Granary Canyonlands National Park
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Glacier National Park
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Glacier National Park | Montana

Most of Glacier's roads close down during winter, making cold-weather visits short and sweet except for the most intrepid skiers and snowshoers. The park's famed Going-to-the-Sun Road is typically open only from late June into October, and snow can linger at higher elevations well into summer. 

Related: Free Adventures at National Parks

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
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Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Ohio

Just a short drive from Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley is one of the country's most accessible national parks. Its crown jewel, 60-foot Brandywine Falls, turns into a frozen wonderland during the winter, and visitors have their pick of winter sports thanks to frequent lake-effect snow from nearby Lake Erie.

Related: Where to Find Waterfalls in All 50 States

North Rim from Yaki Point, Grand Canyon
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Badwater Basin in Death Valley
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Olympic National Park
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Olympic National Park | Washington

A damp, wintry fog shrouds Ruby Beach, leaving one of the most-visited spots in Olympic National Park relatively silent. Visitors will find abundant bird life, teeming tidepools, rock formations, weathered logs, and tall pines any time of year.

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Badlands National Park
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Badlands National Park | South Dakota

Winters are frigid in the Badlands, with average high temperatures in the 30s, lows in the teens, and plenty of wind to make it feel even colder. The park's bison don't seem to mind, though — they stay put thanks to a robust built-in winter coat, and plow through the snow with their massive heads.

Crater Lake National Park
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