Top 8 National Parks to Visit in June 2024

With summer vacation ramping up and extreme heat already settling into the country’s southern reaches, deciding which national park offers the best combination of peaceful solitude and ideal hiking weather is challenging for even the most seasoned travel planner. Lucky for you, this list is a co

llection of parks that have been acclaimed for their June visits, and upon further inspection, it’s not hard to see why!

Yosemite National Park, California

Beautiful Cloudy Sunrise on Yosemite Valley View, Yosemite National Park, California
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Stephen Moehle

With spring weather still conquering most of this iconic national park in early June, it’s not unusual to experience multiple seasons in one short trip! And while snow isn’t what you are probably hoping for on your summer vacation, waking up to a blanket of white covering the high country, including famous features like Half Dome and El Capitan, is a truly magical experience. But while you may experience some chilly early morning air, the average high in Yosemite Valley is about 80°F so sunny days are almost always in the forecast. Watch the sunrise over the picture-perfect Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View and then lose the jacket (and maybe put on a raincoat) by mid-morning as you enjoy stunning hikes like Vernal Falls, Lower Yosemite Falls, and Bridalveil Falls… Just be prepared to get a little wet!

Important Information: Timed-entry reservations are required on certain days throughout the month. Seasonal closures of Tioga and Glacier Point Road may still be in effect.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mt. Rainier National Park
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jay Yuan

Another mountain park just starting to come out of hibernation, Mount Rainier National Park is the park to visit if you aren’t afraid of a little snow. This popular park sees more than 2 million visitors annually, and most of its traffic is centered around July, August, and September. So trading a little bit of snow for fewer crowds seems like a pretty fair deal! But don’t worry, nearly all park roads open in late May so your only real run-in with snow will be on high-elevation hiking trails. Not interested in navigating through the snow? There are plenty of low-elevation trails that will still provide you with spectacular views of the one and only Mount Rainier!

Important Information: Timed-entry reservations are required to enter the Paradise Corridor from 7 AM to 3 PM.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ben Wickham

As someone who has lived in Yellowstone for nearly 6 months and experienced it in a variety of seasons, I can’t emphasize enough that June is by far the best time to visit. The ice has finally melted off of the wide-sweeping Yellowstone Lake, all of the roads have officially opened for the season, and a variety of colorful flowers has replaced the 10-foot wall of snow that once lined the roadways. But better than all of that, is the wildlife. Spring has brought new life and it seems as though every animal you spot is sporting adorable babies! Red dogs (bison calves) run through the valleys by the hundreds and a bear is sighted around every corner.

In fact, June is the best month to see bears. Black bears and grizzly bears alike are easily spotted near roadways as they enjoy spring berries with their cubs. By mid-July, these bears will make their way up into the high country to escape the heat, and bear sightings will go from plentiful to scarce. So if wildlife is what you are after, June is the perfect time for you!

Acadia National Park, Maine

Scenic sunset in Acadia National Park as seen from the top of Cadillac Mountain
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexey Stiop

Although the crowds are already establishing roots into this famous east coast park, there are still plenty of places to find solitude…and flowers! By June, the dreaded spring mud season has come to an end and dry trails guide you through a variety of beautiful flowers like lilacs, lupines, and rhodora. Peregrine falcons nest along rocky outcroppings and while this may cause one or two trail closures it is worth it to see these majestic creatures soar through the air. But with plenty of other trails to choose from, 243 to be exact, there is no shortage of things to do. Just be sure to start your adventures early and stay late for a better chance at having iconic destinations like Dorr Mountain, the Beehive Loop, and Cadillac Mountain to yourself.

Important Information: Cadillac Mountain Road requires reservations and there are separate reservations for sunrise. Book your reservation ahead of time to experience the first sunrise in the country!

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Summer Sunset at Sprague Lake - A panoramic Summer sunset view at Sprague Lake, with high peaks of Continental Divide rising at shore, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Xu

With the iconic Trail Ridge Road finally free of snow, June is the perfect middle ground for less crowds and the most accessibility. Keep in mind that trails that take you up in the high country, like the noteworthy Sky Pond Trail, may still have snow and ice so it’s important to bring traction devices if planning this journey. But an extra challenge means less crowds and the chance to have this famous lake all to yourself! Not into ice skating? There are plenty of popular trails like Bear Lake and Alberta Falls that are already welcoming a summer atmosphere… Just make sure you get there early to beat the crowds!

Aside from a plethora of outdoor recreation at your fingertips, this is one of the best times to look for wildlife. Black bears, elk, coyotes, moose, and more will be flaunting their spring babies. Just make sure to keep a safe distance from these lovely creatures no matter how tame they might look. A protective mother is no joke!

Important Information: Timed-entry reservations are required for both the Trail Ridge Road AND the Bear Lake Corridor.

Channel Islands National Park, California

View from Inspiration Point, Anacapa island, California in Channel Islands National Park.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Felix Lipov

As the summer season makes its way to Channel Islands National Park, it pushes out most of the precipitation. June is easily the best time to visit because the park has not yet reached its peak visitation and the weather is already perfect! Hop aboard the Island Packers ferry and look out for resident dolphins, whales, and seals along your journey. Once you arrive at Santa Cruz Island, you will be transported into a lush wilderness surrounded by picturesque waters. Here you can go for a hike, attend a ranger program, try snorkeling, and so much more! Whatever you do, just make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the adorable Island Fox since you can’t find it anywhere else in the world!

Important Information: It is recommended that you make a reservation for the Island Packers Ferry ahead of time. Many people also opt to spend a few nights camping on one of the islands. Be sure to look into these reservations as well.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

Majestic Great Smoky Mountains Panorama
Image Credit: Shutterstock / nabeel aslam 918

With waterfalls and wildlife galore, June is the perfect time to plan your visit to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. While avoiding crowds in the country’s most visited national park might seem impossible, fear not! This fan-favorite park has plenty of roads like Roaring Motor Fork, Cades Cove, and Rich Mountain to help disperse the crowds and if you are seeking solitude, all you need to do is head out on a trail. With 800 miles of hiking trails, over 100 waterfalls gushing from spring snowmelt, and a chance to see wildlife flaunting their babies around every corner (always keep your eyes peeled!), Great Smoky is the place where you choose your own adventure. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to go up to Clingmans Dome for a panoramic mountain view atop the highest point in Tennessee.

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Isle Royale National Park
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Arlene Waller

As the ice melts off of Lake Superior and the visitor centers finally open their doors for the season, Isle Royale National Park enjoys a month of solitude before the summer rush hits in July. Weather is often ideal throughout the month but it’s not a guarantee. You will need to do some extra planning, like packing layers and rain gear, but it’s worth it to have this wild park all to yourself. Spend your days here backpacking, camping, sea kayaking, hiking, fishing, and more! And while chances of seeing a moose are always high, early June offers an added bonus- calves! Just make sure you stay a safe distance from wildlife because a close encounter with a moose is extremely dangerous.

Aside from moose, Isle Royale also offers the opportunity to see red foxes, river otters, beavers, and the elusive but ever-captivating wolves. In other words, bring your binoculars!

Nicole Westcott

Author: Nicole Westcott

Bio:

Nicole Westcott is a freelance travel writer who loves traveling and hiking in some of America's most beautiful places. Whether it be backpacking through the iconic Grand Teton range or going for a relaxing stroll amongst a fairytale rainforest, I am in my happy place. I enjoy all types of travel and I am always planning my next adventure!

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