Closest national parks to Riverside

Written by:
June 12, 2022
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Closest national parks to Riverside

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 Riverside. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 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. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 53 miles
- Driving time: 5.6 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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#2. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 124 miles
- Driving time: 9.0 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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Ethan Daniels // Shutterstock

#3. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 191 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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#4. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 194 miles
- Driving time: 12.5 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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#5. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 207 miles
- Driving time: 13.4 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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#6. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 249 miles
- Driving time: 9.8 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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#7. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 257 miles
- Driving time: 10.7 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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#8. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 295 miles
- Driving time: 12.5 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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#9. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 304 miles
- Driving time: 12.8 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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#10. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 313 miles
- Driving time: 11.1 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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#11. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 323 miles
- Driving time: 14.1 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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#12. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 362 miles
- Driving time: 11.5 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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#13. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 363 miles
- Driving time: 10.7 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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#14. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 375 miles
- Driving time: 14.0 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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#15. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 428 miles
- Driving time: 19.4 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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#16. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 463 miles
- Driving time: 14.4 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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#17. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 466 miles
- Driving time: 14.3 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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#18. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 505 miles
- Driving time: 15.1 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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#19. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 544 miles
- Driving time: 16.3 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#20. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 587 miles
- Driving time: 14.8 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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#21. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 633 miles
- Driving time: 17.7 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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#22. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 634 miles
- Driving time: 20.1 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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#23. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 663 miles
- Driving time: 18.1 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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#24. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 676 miles
- Driving time: 16.7 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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#25. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 695 miles
- Driving time: 16.9 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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#26. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 695 miles
- Driving time: 18.9 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. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 706 miles
- Driving time: 20.1 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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#28. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

- Distance: 756 miles
- Driving time: 19.2 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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#29. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 840 miles
- Driving time: 20.9 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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#30. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 899 miles
- Driving time: 24.9 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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#31. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 921 miles
- Driving time: 22.4 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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#32. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 967 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 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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#33. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 990 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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#34. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,002 miles
- Driving time: 26.5 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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National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#35. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,011 miles
- Driving time: 26.8 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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#36. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,083 miles
- Driving time: 25.8 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#37. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 1,314 miles
- Driving time: 26.4 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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#38. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 1,465 miles
- Driving time: 28.3 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. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,533 miles
- Driving time: 34.9 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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#40. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 1,650 miles
- Driving time: 33.1 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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#41. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 1,688 miles
- Driving time: 32.2 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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MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,699 miles
- Driving time: 38.3 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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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 1,840 miles
- Driving time: 34.4 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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Alan Wu // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 1,913 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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#45. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 1,932 miles
- Driving time: 36.4 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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#46. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

- Distance: 1,960 miles
- Driving time: 36.9 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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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 2,016 miles
- Driving time: 37.2 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

#48. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 2,104 miles
- Driving time: 45.9 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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#49. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 2,106 miles
- Driving time: 39.8 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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Sewtex // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,158 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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#51. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 2,193 miles
- Driving time: 44.1 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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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#52. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 2,232 miles
- Driving time: 43.1 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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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,310 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

#54. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,426 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

#55. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,458 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

#56. Denali National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,471 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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#57. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 2,606 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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#58. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 2,612 miles
- Driving time: 51.0 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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#59. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 2,613 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: 2,723 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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LCGS Russ // Wikimedia Commons

#61. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,844 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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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 3,337 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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Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 4,907 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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