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Why September is the best month to visit these USA National Parks

Recently updated on June 4th, 2024 at 11:43 am

You can soak up breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and outdoor adventures at more than 60 brilliant USA National Parks scattered across the country. Best of all? They only get better in September.

Connect with nature in the rugged terrain of Yellowstone, the majestic peaks of Yosemite, or the grand glaciers of Glacier. Each park has its own unique charms that change with the seasons. And while every season has its own appeal, many USA National Parks are at their prime in September when the weather is milder and crowds are smaller than during the peak summer months.

Let’s dive into why September is such a great month to visit these treasured USA National Parks and the top natural sights in each.

Before you scroll: save up to 15%* off your US National Parks tour with Extra Savings on September

Yellowstone National Park

Image of Yellowstone National Park's Grand Prismatic Spring. Steam rising from bright orange water, against a blue sky with green forest-covered hills in the background

One of the crown jewels of the USA National Park system, Yellowstone National Park spans over 2 million acres and boasts some of the most unique geothermal features in the world. Step inside to explore a natural wonderland of hot springs, geysers, and mud pots. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might spot a variety of wildlife. Look out for grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk. This is one of the best USA National Parks to visit in September as the crowds are smaller and the weather is cooler and drier than in the summer months. Fall is also a great time to see the Wyoming park’s iconic wildlife. Many animals are more active in the fall as they prepare for the upcoming winter.

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Zion National Park

Towering sandstone cliffs, winding canyons, and diverse flora and fauna define Zion National Park. With more than 229 square miles of protected land, this park in southwest Utah offers a huge range of ecosystems, from desert landscapes to alpine forests. Look for spectacular formations like the Great Arch of Zion and the distinctive Checkerboard Mesa, and challenge yourself to a short hike. September is an ideal time to visit Zion, as the temperatures are milder and the crowds are smaller than in summer. Nature is always better when you contemplate in peace and quiet! 

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Acadia National Park

The best USA National Parks in fall? Arcadia National Park is firmly on the list. When Autumn arrives, the fiery foliage flames alight across the chilled-out state of Maine. Climb up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the Atlantic Seaboard and the first spot in the United States where you’ll see the sunrise. Admire the magnificent view over the Schoodic Peninsula, pink granite cliffs and ancient maple forests. Here you’ll find leaves glowing fiery red, burnt orange and mustard yellow in the crisp and salty seaside autumn air. 

GET INSPIRED BY: Autumn Colors

Grand Canyon National Park

How could we miss one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world?  Grand Canyon National Park protects more than 277 miles of the canyon’s mammoth jagged beauty. Soak up the powerful scenery of the Arizona park in September when mild weather and smaller crowds make it easy to explore. Beyond hiking trails and brilliant viewpoints, you can experience the USA National Park from the sky in a helicopter at dawn and learn about the fascinating formation with a geology expert.

SEE THE BEST OF THE US FOR LESS: Save up to 15%* with Extra Savings on September

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Mesa Verde National Park

The Ancestral Pueblo people inhabited this region for more than 700 years. Glimpse into their lives and culture while exploring some of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the United States. Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park combines history with nature in a unique and fascinating destination. Get to know the daily life, art and religious beliefs of the Ancestral Pueblo people when you visit the famous Cliff Palace. Admire in awe the sprawling complex of dwellings built into the side of a cliff. Like the other national parks, Mesa Verde is quieter and milder in September. This makes it an ideal time to visit and explore the park’s rich cultural heritage. 

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Glacier National Park

Nicknamed the Crown of the Continent, by a conservationist that was instrumental in the park’s creation, Glacier National Park is a beautiful, one million-acre gem. He was originally amazed by the glaciers, alpine terrain, and flora and fauna that thrived here. Board a restored 1930s vintage touring red “jammer” and venture up into the cirques of the St. Mary Valley. Go along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, stop at the Continental Divide continuing over Logan Pass. Hikers can visit the Grinnell Glacier, a stunning glacier with breathtaking views of its turquoise-blue waters. Naturally September is an ideal time to visit the unspoiled wilderness of Montana when the weather is milder and crowds thinner. This gives you time and space to immerse yourself in the park’s natural beauty and tranquility.

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Yosemite National Park

Famed for its ancient giant sequoia trees, grand meadows, cascading waterfalls and iconic rock formations, a stroll through Yosemite is an experience that will stay with you for a long time. One of the most famous USA National Parks, visiting in September is an ideal month for milder weather. This must-see park, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, shows off the best and most breathtaking beauty of the California wilderness. Across its 748,000 acres of protected land seek out iconic landmarks including El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall.

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Still wondering where to travel in September or planning to visit USA National Parks another month? Let us know in the comments…. 

Don’t forget you can take advantage of up to 15% off September trips with Extra Savings on September.

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