The eight newest National Parks in the United States. Most of these parks were upgraded from National Monuments. Interestingly, three of three of the newest National Parks are located east of the Mississippi River. The vast majority of the National Parks in the United States are located west of the Mississippi River.
These are the newest National Parks in the United States. All of these places were made into National Parks within the last 20 years. The oldest National Park in the United States is Yellowstone, which was created in 1872 as the first National Park in the world. I've personally been to six of the eight newest parks, and would like to visit all of them.
Newest National Parks in the United States
1. Great Sand Dunes- September 13, 2004
Great Sand Dunes National Park is the newest National Park in the United States, having been created on September 13, 2004. Great Sand Dunes was a National Monument since March 17, 1932. The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America that reach heights of 750 feet. I've been to Great Sand Dunes National Park and it's a great place to visit. Like walking into a different world.
2. Congaree- November 10, 2003
Congaree National Park was created on November 10, 2003 to protect old growth hardwood forests located along the Congaree River in central South Carolina. Congaree was a National Monument since 1976.
3. Cuyahoga Valley- October 11, 2000
Cuyahoga Valley National Park was created by Congress on October 11, 2000 to preserve and protect the land around the Cuyahoga River in northeast Ohio between the cities of Cleveland and Akron. The third newest National Park in the United States is full of waterfalls and caves around the Cuyahoga River, and is popular with hikers, bikers and joggers.
4. Black Canyon of the Gunnison- October 21, 1999
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison was made into a National Park on October 21, 1999, after being a National Monument since March 2, 1933. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located in western Colorado and protects the the long deep narrow canyon created by the Gunnison River. The canyon is so narrow and deep it is often dark with shadows, hence the name.
5. Saguaro- October 14, 1994
Image Sourceby Saguaro Pictures
Saguaro National Park was created on October 14, 1994, after being a National Monument since March 1, 1993. Located in southern Arizona in two sections just east and west of Tucson, Saguaro National Park protects wild desert lands where the large saguaro cactus grow. Saguaros can grow up to 50 feet in height. The desert land protected here is beautiful to see. Visitors and tourists to Saguaro can stay in the comfort of the great hotels and motels in Tucson and easily drive just a few miles to the park.
6. Joshua Tree- October 31, 1994
Joshua Tree National Park was created on October 31, 1994, after being a National Monument since 1936. Located in southern-central California, Joshua Tree protects the desert trees the park was named for. The park is also full of some beautifully colored rocks and rock formations that are popular with rock climbers. Visitors can camp in Joshua Tree National Park, but the park is also close enough to be visited by tourists and people from the hotels and motels in the Los Angeles and Southern California area.
7. Death Valley- October 31, 1994
Death Valley was made into a National Park on October 31, 1994, after being a National Monument since February 11, 1933. Some people might find Death Valley a bit barren, but I personally love the place. Scotty's Castle is a great visitor attraction in Death Valley, and even though it's like stepping into an oven when you open your car door at Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level, it's fun to experience that.
Visitors to Death Valley can actually stay at Furnace Creek Resort located in the park. Death Valley is also close enough for people staying in hotels and motels in Southern California or Las Vegas to visit for a day.
8. Dry Tortugas- October 26, 1992
Dry Tortugas will celebrate its 20th anniversary as a National Park on October 26, 2012. The Dry Tortugas are a series of small islands located west of Key West, Florida. Visitors and tourists must take a seaplane or boat tour to visit the park, with the centerpiece being Fort Jefferson, which was built in the 1800s, and is the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. I've never been to Dry Tortugas National Park but it looks like a cool place to visit sometime while in Key West.
For more see Largest National Parks in the Continental United States
10 Oldest National Parks in the United States
States in the United States with the Most National Parks