When a country is the size of a continent you’d expect it to have a national park or two, but a visitor to the States could spend every week of the year in a different park and still need another month or two to complete the set. In fact, the US National Park Service protects a total of 84 million acres across every state in the Union. Now that’s impressive.

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Will, Kate B and Alexandra are here to help give you the inside track.

Key Stats

Best Time To Visit

Dec - Jan

Flight from London London

10:00 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -7 hrs

Even more impressive is the scenery found within the confines of those nation parks. Any snooty European who scoffs at the huge number of Americans without passports might get an inkling as to why that might be when staring into the vastness of the Grand Canyon or up at the cascading waterfalls of Yosemite.

As you can imagine these parks attract some serious numbers of people, but another bonus of their sheer vastness is that they rarely - if ever - feel crowded, even on high days and holidays. Take Yellowstone and neighbouring Grand Teton National Parks which spread out majestically across swathes of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

So, where to start? What better place than at the beginning, with the world's first National Park, Yellowstone, enshrined back in 1872 'for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.' An admirable sentiment, and one that countless visitors have since appreciated as they take in the park's extraordinary waterfalls, geysers and petrified forests. It's also understandable why the forests are so petrified - Yellowstone sits on the collapsed caldera of a vast volcano that is responsible for the extraordinary geysers such as Old Faithful, capable of shooting boiling water 150ft into the air. Beat that, Vegas.

And on the subject of Sin City, another must visit would be Grand Canyon National Park, which has the added attraction of being the perfect natural complement to the glitz of Vegas. Take time out on a helicopter ride over and into the Canyon, or experience the very disconcerting view from the Skywalk that protrudes over the edge.

Yosemite National Park in California is another of the classics and makes for one of the most alluring combinations imaginable with a sophisticated city stay in San Francisco and a few days wine tasting in the elegant Napa and Sonoma valleys. Another region where lovely landscapes are conveniently located is Utah, home to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, home to sandstone peaks, Pink Cliffs pinnacles, cliffs and domes, flat topped mesas and arches respectively.

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Original Highlight

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The concept of the National Park has been described as ‘the best idea America ever had’ which, given the nation’s other contributions to the world, is quite some compliment.

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Where to stay

Lounge Terrace at Amangiri, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Amangiri

Surrounded by one of the USA’s most dramatic landscapes with canyons and towering plateaus as far as the eye can see, Amangiri is fairly unassuming from the outside and lets the land do the talking.

Ranch at Rock Creek, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Ranch at Rock Creek

With the exception of nearby Philipsburg (population 930), The Ranch at Rock Creek offers the perfect wild west experience, and it really is wild, with 6,600 acres of mountains, meadows, lakes and streams between you and any real evidence of civilisation.

Brush Creek Ranch, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Brush Creek Ranch

Saddle up and prepare for an authentic Western experience. Brush Creek Ranch is a boutique hotel surrounded by 15,000 acres of South Central Wyoming's North Platte River Valley, in the heart of the American West.

Zion Lodge, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Zion Lodge

Loyal to its name ‘Zion’ meaning a place of peace and refuge, Zion Lodge lies secluded from the crowds, nestled inside the Zion National Park, surrounded by red-rock cliffs on all sides. The Park is Utah’s first and it wows with the outstanding beauty of its landscape and diverse flora and fauna.

Bryce Canyon Lodge, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Bryce Canyon Lodge

Bryce Canyon Lodge is a rustic hotel, surrounded by steep cliffs, coloured canyons, attractive rock formations and tremendous deserts of the Bryce Canyon National Park. The National Park is easily accessible and will draw everyone in with its beautiful natural setting.

Zapata Ranch

Zapata Ranch

Zapata Ranch is a beautiful 103,000-acre working cattle and bison ranch located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley in Colorado and bordered on one side by the new Great Sand Dunes National Park. Guests at the ranch can relax, explore the beautiful surroundings or learn about the ecosystem, the bison and the ranch way of life, helping out with activities such as cattle branding and fence repairs.

White Stallion Ranch

White Stallion Ranch

White Stallion Ranch is one of the best dude ranches in southern Arizona, within easy reach of Tucson and surrounded by 3000 acres of beautiful countryside at the foot of the Tucson Mountains.

Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Ranch is a dude ranch in the heart of the Rockies, just two hour’s drive from either Denver or Colorado Springs in Colorado.

Paws Up tent exterior

The Resort at Paws Up

‘I’m in love with Montana’ proclaimed American author John Steinbeck and honestly, we couldn’t agree more. In our view, there's no better place to enjoy the ideal Montana lifestyle than at The Resort at Paws Up—the crossroads of unspoiled wilderness and incomparable luxury. This heavenly ranch sits on a lush and sprawling 37,000-acre cattle ranch, providing both adventure and comfort in the American West.

Dolores Cabin at Dunton Hot Springs

Dunton Hot Springs

Set in a striking alpine valley deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies, lies the beautifully restored 'ghost town' of Dunton Hot Springs. Comprised of a number of hand-crafted log cabins built around the central Saloon and Dance Hall, this exclusive resort is a luxurious and cosy retreat.

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Will, Kate B and Alexandra are our The American West experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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