Closest national parks to Tucson

Written by:
July 13, 2022
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Closest national parks to Tucson

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 Tucson. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Tucson, AZ 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.

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#1. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 76 miles
- Driving time: 2.9 hours
- Date founded: October 14, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 92,867.42 acres
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#2. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 233 miles
- Driving time: 6.0 hours
- Date founded: December 9, 1962
- 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 221,390.21 acres
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#3. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 265 miles
- Driving time: 6.2 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 795,155.85 acres
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#4. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 272 miles
- Driving time: 6.1 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres
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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#5. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 331 miles
- Driving time: 5.8 hours
- Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
- 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 146,344.31 acres

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#6. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 364 miles
- Driving time: 10.2 hours
- Date founded: November 19, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 147,242.66 acres
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#7. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 376 miles
- Driving time: 10.2 hours
- Date founded: February 25, 1928
- 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 35,835.08 acres
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#8. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 395 miles
- Driving time: 9.9 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1906
- 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 52,485.17 acres
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#9. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 404 miles
- Driving time: 9.7 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres
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#10. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 406 miles
- Driving time: 7.7 hours
- Date founded: October 15, 1966
- 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 86,367.10 acres

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#11. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 420 miles
- Driving time: 11.9 hours
- Date founded: December 18, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 241,904.50 acres
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#12. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 430 miles
- Driving time: 7.8 hours
- Date founded: May 14, 1930
- 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 46,766.45 acres
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#13. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 432 miles
- Driving time: 14.3 hours
- Date founded: September 12, 1964
- 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 337,597.83 acres
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#14. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 462 miles
- Date founded: March 5, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 249,561.00 acres
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#15. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 469 miles
- Driving time: 10.7 hours
- Date founded: November 12, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 76,678.98 acres

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#16. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 493 miles
- Driving time: 12.4 hours
- Date founded: October 27, 1986
- 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 77,180.00 acres
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#17. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 493 miles
- Driving time: 14.3 hours
- Date founded: September 25, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 404,062.63 acres
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#18. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 500 miles
- Driving time: 12.9 hours
- Date founded: October 21, 1999
- 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 30,779.83 acres
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#19. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 503 miles
- Driving time: 15.3 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 461,901.20 acres
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#20. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 525 miles
- Driving time: 11.4 hours
- Date founded: September 24, 2004
- 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 107,341.87 acres

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#21. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 545 miles
- Driving time: 11.7 hours
- Date founded: June 12, 1944
- 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 801,163.21 acres
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#22. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 588 miles
- Driving time: 14.5 hours
- Date founded: October 1, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 761,747.50 acres
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#23. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 614 miles
- Driving time: 12.4 hours
- Date founded: January 10, 2013
- 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,685.73 acres
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#24. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 667 miles
- Driving time: 15.5 hours
- Date founded: January 26, 1915
- 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 265,807.25 acres
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#25. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 791 miles
- Driving time: 16.5 hours
- Date founded: August 9, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 106,589.02 acres

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#26. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 802 miles
- Driving time: 18.4 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1929
- 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 310,044.36 acres
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#27. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

- Distance: 863 miles
- Driving time: 18.7 hours
- Date founded: March 1, 1872
- 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres
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#28. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 909 miles
- Driving time: 19.0 hours
- Date founded: January 9, 1903
- 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,970.84 acres
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#29. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 926 miles
- Driving time: 21.9 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 138,999.37 acres
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#30. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 935 miles
- Driving time: 19.4 hours
- Date founded: May 22, 1902
- 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 183,224.05 acres

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#31. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 947 miles
- Driving time: 20.3 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 242,755.94 acres
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#32. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 1,095 miles
- Driving time: 18.6 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1921
- 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 5,554.15 acres
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#33. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,115 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 70,446.89 acres
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#34. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,145 miles
- Driving time: 24.6 hours
- Date founded: March 2, 1899
- 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 236,381.64 acres
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#35. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,156 miles
- Date founded: May 11, 1910
- 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres

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National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#36. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,244 miles
- Driving time: 27.0 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 504,780.94 acres
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#37. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,254 miles
- Driving time: 27.5 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1938
- 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 922,649.41 acres
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#38. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 1,295 miles
- Driving time: 22.2 hours
- Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
- 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 192.83 acres
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#39. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 1,499 miles
- Driving time: 25.5 hours
- Date founded: July 1, 1941
- 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 54,011.91 acres
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#40. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,499 miles
- Driving time: 30.7 hours
- Date founded: April 8, 1975
- 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 218,222.35 acres

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#41. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 1,512 miles
- Driving time: 27.0 hours
- Date founded: February 15, 2019
- 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,349.08 acres
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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 1,636 miles
- Driving time: 27.6 hours
- Date founded: June 15, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 522,426.88 acres
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#43. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,640 miles
- Driving time: 33.1 hours
- Date founded: April 3, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 571,790.30 acres
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#44. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

- Distance: 1,778 miles
- Driving time: 30.8 hours
- Date founded: December 27, 2020
- 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,021 acres
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#45. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 1,782 miles
- Driving time: 30.2 hours
- Date founded: October 11, 2000
- 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 32,571.88 acres

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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 1,798 miles
- Driving time: 29.5 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 2003
- 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,476.47 acres
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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,829 miles
- Driving time: 37.1 hours
- Date founded: October 26, 1992
- 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 64,701.22 acres
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#48. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,924 miles
- Driving time: 35.3 hours
- Date founded: May 30, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres
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#49. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 1,928 miles
- Driving time: 32.9 hours
- Date founded: December 26, 1935
- 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 199,223.77 acres
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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,965 miles
- Driving time: 34.1 hours
- Date founded: June 28, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 172,971.11 acres

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#51. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,169 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 5,748 (#60 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,223,383.43 acres
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Sewtex // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,415 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 16,655 (#57 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,323,146.48 acres
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#53. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 2,482 miles
- Driving time: 44.9 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 49,076.63 acres
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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#54. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,581 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 115,882 (#52 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 669,650.05 acres
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Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#55. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,706 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 51,511 (#54 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,674,529.33 acres
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Ryjil Christianson // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,729 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres
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Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#57. Denali National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,731 miles
- Date founded: February 26, 1917
- 2020 visitors: 54,850 (#53 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 4,740,911.16 acres
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#58. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 2,824 miles
- Date founded: August 1, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 325,605.28 acres
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#59. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 2,840 miles
- Date founded: July 1, 1961
- 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,264.62 acres
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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,970 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres
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#61. Virgin Islands National Park (U.S. Virgin Islands)

- Distance: 3,069 miles
- Date founded: August 2, 1956
- 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,052.53 acres
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LCGS Russ // Wikimedia Commons

#62. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,097 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 11,185 (#58 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,750,716.16 acres
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Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 5,035 miles
- Date founded: October 31, 1988
- 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,256.67 acres

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