North America is home to some of the most staggeringly beautiful national parks in the world. These protected areas of pristine wilderness are
North America is home to some of the most staggeringly beautiful national parks in the world. These protected areas of pristine wilderness are popular summer destinations, but what many people don’t know is that North American national parks can also be amazing winter getaways. From the iconic geysers of Yellowstone to the sublime winter scenery of Banff, from the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon to the other-worldly Antelope Canyon, and from winter sports in Yosemite to stunning hikes in Zion National Park, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring North America’s magnificent national parks in the winter season.
Don’t let thoughts of bad weather hold you back. Summon your adventurous spirit and pack your bags for what promises to be an enchanting winter getaway. Just be sure to bring your winter gear and bundle up against the elements. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular snow-covered landscapes and unique experiences. And best of all, you won’t have to worry about peak pricing or contend with the summer crowds. This is your chance to escape city life and truly be one with Mother Nature in all her untouched glory.
Grand Canyon National Park
The hypnotically beautiful Grand Canyon features on many a bucket list. The endless expanse of unique geologic rock and the dizzyingly steep abysses are overwhelming to the senses in every season. Easily accessible with one-day tours from Las Vegas and Flagstaff and included in many package trips starting in major West Coast cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable sight. Winter is a great time to see this breathtaking natural wonder minus the tourist rush and searing heat of the summer. View the Grand Canyon from the glass-bottom Skywalk that juts 70 feet out from the edge. Explore the West Rim of the canyon with a stop at the monumental Hoover Dam. Experience Native American food and culture at the Havasupai Nation Reserve. Take a scenic airplane flight for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the canyon and mighty Colorado River. Or, gaze in wonder from several lookout points on the South Rim which is open year-round.
Yellowstone National Park
When snow descends on Yellowstone, this legendary national park which boasts the largest collection of geysers in the world, including the iconic Old Faithful, assumes an almost surreal beauty. With Yellowstone winter tours starting from major hubs such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, and Salt Lake City, this magnificent protected area is a great winter destination for people who love nature and the outdoors. See all the classic attractions of Yellowstone in the exciting company of fellow travelers from around the world. Benefit from the unrivaled experience of senior tour guides as you take in the jaw-dropping scenery from the comfort of a luxurious bus. Spot diverse wildlife in their natural habitat, including bears, wolves, moose, elk, and bison. Or, marvel at the incredible display of thermal activity, including gurgling mud pots, geysers, and hot springs.
Yosemite National Park
Everyone should see California’s favorite national park at least once in their lifetime! Created by glaciers millions of years ago, the park is home to vertigo-inducing granite cliffs adorned with tumbling waterfalls. The serene rolling meadows and ancient giant sequoia trees make it one of the most awe-inspiring national parks on the planet. Although some parts of the park close for the winter season, the Yosemite Valley and Wawona areas are accessible by road throughout the year. The Badger Pass area is popular for downhill and cross-country skiing. Although the weather is snowy and cold, bright sunny days are not uncommon. With tours starting in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, it’s easy to explore Yosemite National Park. See all the highlights of this majestic national park on a two-day tour, including the Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Tunnel View, with a stop at Hearst Castle.
Journey to Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona and find out what makes it one of the most photographed canyons in the world. Take a trip back through millions of years and see the amazing geology on display at this slot canyon located on Navajo Native American land near the small town of Page, Arizona. Visit the more easily accessible Upper Antelope Canyon with its vibrant and photogenic red walls. Combine the breathtaking beauty of the canyon with a stop at one of the most iconic sights in North America, the Horseshoe Bend, where the emerald green Colorado River makes a dramatic sweep around a red sandstone escarpment. Or, take a walking tour of the Lower Antelope Canyon with a knowledgeable guide to learn about the geology, history, and culture of this world-famous canyon. Remember, Antelope Canyon is located on ancient aboriginal land and you must go there with a guided tour.
Banff National Park
It’s a place that often tops the list of most beautiful places on earth. In the winter, Banff National Park is the perfect escape to a world of dreamy snow-covered landscapes. Take advantage of the smaller crowds and more affordable prices to see Banff in its sparkling, icy, winter avatar. There’s lots of outdoor fun to be had. Strap on a pair of snowshoes or wax up your skis and hit one of the many pristine trails. Rent a pair of skates and glide along the world’s most scenic outdoor skating rink at Lake Louise. Enjoy a traditional horse-drawn sleigh ride on the frozen Bow River. Or, experience the exhilarating thrill of being pulled by an energetic pack of canines on a dog sledding tour. Short on time? Take a one-day escorted tour from Banff town and see all the highlights, including Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Takakkaw Falls. Or, start in Calgary and explore the majestic mountains and lakes of this stunning national park.
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park
Graced with sheer red sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons, cascading waterfalls, and emerald lakes, Zion National Park is a natural spectacle second to none. Due to its low elevation, winter temperatures are relatively mild and snow is rare on the canyon floor, although some higher trails can be icy. It’s not unusual for visitors to shed their jackets and hike in shirtsleeves, even in December and January. You can even go camping (with the proper equipment). Wildlife is abundant and easy to spot on scenic drives through the park. Bryce Canyon, situated on a high plateau, offers fantastic dark skies for stargazing and geological wonders that have to be seen to be believed. Take a one-day bus tour to Zion and Bryce Canyon to escape the bright lights of Las Vegas. Or, experience the unique Zion Narrows, a majestic slot canyon on the Virgin River, with an unforgettable self-guided hike.
The world-famous Canadian Rockies are spectacular at any time of the year, but when they’re covered under a blanket of snow, they’re even more magical. There’s a lot on offer in the winter season, even if you’re not into winter sports. The panoramic snow-covered peaks and mirror-like frozen lakes are a sight to behold. The short trek to the Peyto Lake lookout is well worth it for the breathtaking views. Take in the beauty of Emerald Lake and marvel at the immenseness of the Bow Glacier in relative solitude. Go on a snowshoeing adventure. Get a real sense of the Rocky Mountain winter on a scenic drive. Or, admire the striking snowy scenery while you relax in a soothing sulfur hot spring.
Don’t let the cold weather put you off. Winter is a great time to explore North America’s iconic national parks, see some amazing sights, and participate in unique, fun activities. Whether you’re seeking an adventure or you want a relaxing trip to a winter wonderland, we have a range of tours to satiate your wanderlust this holiday season.