Closest national parks to Birmingham

Written by:
July 13, 2022
Steve Heap // Shutterstock

Closest national parks to Birmingham

Approximately 237 million people visited American national parks in 2020, representing a 28% year-over-year decrease attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Many parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus, but that’s not the whole story—when the parks were open, many of them saw record crowds as throngs of people desperate to safely enjoy nature descended onto parks when they reopened.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 signed the act creating the National Park Service to leave natural and historic phenomenons “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since then, our national parks have welcomed visitors from around the world to experience some of the best the country has to offer and showcase the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Today, the country's 63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, more than 75,000 archaeological sites, and 18,000 miles of trails.

Stacker compiled a list of the closest national parks to Birmingham. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metro Area and each national park. Estimated driving times are from Here and are only available within the lower 48 states. All featured distances and driving times are estimated using representative locations from the center of each metro and national park—for some places within the metro area, the actual distance may be slightly shorter or longer to reach the closest entryway to a park.

Be sure to check with individual parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

You may also like: Cities with the fastest growing home prices in Birmingham metro area

1 / 63
Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)

- Distance: 241 miles
- Driving time: 4.9 hours
- Date founded: June 15, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 522,426.88 acres
2 / 63
Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#2. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 263 miles
- Driving time: 4.6 hours
- Date founded: July 1, 1941
- 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 54,011.91 acres
3 / 63
Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 344 miles
- Driving time: 6.2 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 2003
- 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,476.47 acres
4 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#4. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 371 miles
- Driving time: 6.6 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1921
- 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 5,554.15 acres
5 / 63
Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#5. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 409 miles
- Driving time: 7.7 hours
- Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
- 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 192.83 acres

You may also like: Highest-rated pizza restaurants in Birmingham, according to Tripadvisor

6 / 63
Steve Heap // Shutterstock

#6. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

- Distance: 452 miles
- Driving time: 8.1 hours
- Date founded: December 27, 2020
- 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,021 acres
7 / 63
Delmas Lehman // Shutterstock

#7. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 569 miles
- Driving time: 10.0 hours
- Date founded: February 15, 2019
- 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,349.08 acres
8 / 63
Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#8. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 587 miles
- Driving time: 10.3 hours
- Date founded: December 26, 1935
- 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 199,223.77 acres
9 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#9. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 611 miles
- Driving time: 10.7 hours
- Date founded: October 11, 2000
- 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 32,571.88 acres
10 / 63
U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 648 miles
- Driving time: 15.2 hours
- Date founded: October 26, 1992
- 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 64,701.22 acres

You may also like: Zip codes with the most expensive homes in Birmingham metro area

11 / 63
Simon Dannhauer // Shutterstock

#11. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 657 miles
- Driving time: 13.1 hours
- Date founded: May 30, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres
12 / 63
NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 667 miles
- Driving time: 12.1 hours
- Date founded: June 28, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 172,971.11 acres
13 / 63
Eric Foltz // Shutterstock

#13. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,017 miles
- Driving time: 20.7 hours
- Date founded: June 12, 1944
- 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 801,163.21 acres
14 / 63
MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,019 miles
- Driving time: 18.8 hours
- Date founded: April 3, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 571,790.30 acres
15 / 63
Doug Meek // Shutterstock

#15. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,033 miles
- Driving time: 17.1 hours
- Date founded: May 14, 1930
- 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 46,766.45 acres

You may also like: Metros where people in Birmingham are getting new jobs

16 / 63
ShuPhoto // Shutterstock

#16. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,061 miles
- Driving time: 18.2 hours
- Date founded: October 15, 1966
- 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 86,367.10 acres
17 / 63
BlueBarronPhoto // Shutterstock

#17. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,089 miles
- Driving time: 19.8 hours
- Date founded: April 8, 1975
- 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 218,222.35 acres
18 / 63
Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#18. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,097 miles
- Driving time: 19.6 hours
- Date founded: September 24, 2004
- 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 107,341.87 acres
19 / 63
Matt Ragen // Shutterstock

#19. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,110 miles
- Driving time: 20.9 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 242,755.94 acres
20 / 63
Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#20. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,127 miles
- Driving time: 19.3 hours
- Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
- 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 146,344.31 acres

You may also like: Highest-paying jobs in Birmingham that don't require a college degree

21 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#21. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,144 miles
- Driving time: 22.0 hours
- Date founded: January 9, 1903
- 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,970.84 acres
22 / 63
Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#22. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,147 miles
- Driving time: 20.6 hours
- Date founded: January 26, 1915
- 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 265,807.25 acres
23 / 63
SL-Photography // Shutterstock

#23. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,226 miles
- Driving time: 23.3 hours
- Date founded: October 21, 1999
- 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 30,779.83 acres
24 / 63
Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#24. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 1,247 miles
- Driving time: 23.9 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 49,076.63 acres
25 / 63
Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#25. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,254 miles
- Driving time: 22.7 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1906
- 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 52,485.17 acres

You may also like: Highest-rated Italian restaurants in Birmingham, according to Tripadvisor

26 / 63
Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#26. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,283 miles
- Driving time: 24.7 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 70,446.89 acres
27 / 63
Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#27. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,322 miles
- Driving time: 20.9 hours
- Date founded: December 9, 1962
- 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 221,390.21 acres
28 / 63
Manamana // Shutterstock

#28. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,326 miles
- Driving time: 24.8 hours
- Date founded: November 12, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 76,678.98 acres
29 / 63
Manamana // Shutterstock

#29. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,340 miles
- Driving time: 29.3 hours
- Date founded: September 12, 1964
- 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 337,597.83 acres
30 / 63
kojihirano // Shutterstock

#30. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,382 miles
- Driving time: 23.1 hours
- Date founded: October 14, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 92,867.42 acres

You may also like: Highest-paying jobs in Birmingham

31 / 63
Layne V. Naylor // Shutterstock

#31. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,407 miles
- Driving time: 26.3 hours
- Date founded: December 18, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 241,904.50 acres
32 / 63
Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#32. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,453 miles
- Driving time: 24.5 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres
33 / 63
ronnybas frimages // Shutterstock

#33. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,459 miles
- Driving time: 28.4 hours
- Date founded: February 25, 1928
- 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 35,835.08 acres
34 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#34. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,478 miles
- Driving time: 27.0 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1929
- 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 310,044.36 acres
35 / 63
Lane V. Erickson // Shutterstock

#35. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

- Distance: 1,486 miles
- Driving time: 28.0 hours
- Date founded: March 1, 1872
- 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres

You may also like: Highest and lowest paying education jobs in Birmingham

36 / 63
Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#36. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,506 miles
- Driving time: 28.0 hours
- Date founded: November 19, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 147,242.66 acres
37 / 63
Arlene Waller // Shutterstock

#37. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,582 miles
- Driving time: 29.0 hours
- Date founded: October 27, 1986
- 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 77,180.00 acres
38 / 63
Dennis Silvas // Shutterstock

#38. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,677 miles
- Driving time: 28.3 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 795,155.85 acres
39 / 63
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#39. Virgin Islands National Park (U.S. Virgin Islands)

- Distance: 1,712 miles
- Date founded: August 2, 1956
- 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,052.53 acres
40 / 63
Bryan Brazil // Shutterstock

#40. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 1,715 miles
- Driving time: 28.7 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres

You may also like: Highest-rated brunch restaurants in Birmingham, according to Tripadvisor

41 / 63
Pung // Shutterstock

#41. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,760 miles
- Date founded: May 11, 1910
- 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres
42 / 63
Patrick Poendl // Shutterstock

#42. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,810 miles
- Driving time: 35.3 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 461,901.20 acres
43 / 63
Virrage Images // Shutterstock

#43. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,818 miles
- Driving time: 34.4 hours
- Date founded: September 25, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 404,062.63 acres
44 / 63
Stephen Moehle // Shutterstock

#44. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,860 miles
- Driving time: 34.4 hours
- Date founded: October 1, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 761,747.50 acres
45 / 63
Ethan Daniels // Shutterstock

#45. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,875 miles
- Date founded: March 5, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 249,561.00 acres

You may also like: Highest-rated fine dining restaurants in Birmingham, according to Tripadvisor

46 / 63
Yhelfman // Shutterstock

#46. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,956 miles
- Driving time: 32.9 hours
- Date founded: January 10, 2013
- 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,685.73 acres
47 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#47. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,972 miles
- Driving time: 36.0 hours
- Date founded: August 9, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 106,589.02 acres
48 / 63
Hank Shiffman // Shutterstock

#48. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 2,018 miles
- Driving time: 37.7 hours
- Date founded: May 22, 1902
- 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 183,224.05 acres
49 / 63
Diane Fetzner // Shutterstock

#49. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,051 miles
- Driving time: 37.7 hours
- Date founded: March 2, 1899
- 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 236,381.64 acres
50 / 63
National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#50. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,062 miles
- Driving time: 40.0 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 504,780.94 acres

You may also like: Highest-earning zip codes in Birmingham metro area

51 / 63
Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#51. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,105 miles
- Driving time: 41.3 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 138,999.37 acres
52 / 63
f11photo // Shutterstock

#52. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,150 miles
- Driving time: 41.1 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1938
- 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 922,649.41 acres
53 / 63
Alan Wu // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,877 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 5,748 (#60 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,223,383.43 acres
54 / 63
Sewtex // Wikimedia Commons

#54. Wrangell–St. Elias National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,086 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 16,655 (#57 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,323,146.48 acres
55 / 63
National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#55. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,335 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 115,882 (#52 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 669,650.05 acres
56 / 63
Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Denali National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,384 miles
- Date founded: February 26, 1917
- 2020 visitors: 54,850 (#53 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 4,740,911.16 acres
57 / 63
Ryjil Christianson // Wikimedia Commons

#57. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,467 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres
58 / 63
National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#58. Gates of the Arctic National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,500 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres
59 / 63
Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#59. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,523 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 51,511 (#54 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,674,529.33 acres
60 / 63
LCGS Russ // Wikimedia Commons

#60. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,656 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 11,185 (#58 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,750,716.16 acres
61 / 63
jo Crebbin // Shutterstock

#61. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,280 miles
- Date founded: August 1, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 325,605.28 acres
62 / 63
MH Anderson Photography // Shutterstock

#62. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,293 miles
- Date founded: July 1, 1961
- 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,264.62 acres
63 / 63
Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#63. National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa)

- Distance: 6,416 miles
- Date founded: October 31, 1988
- 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,256.67 acres

Trending Now