Are you looking for the best national parks in November? Here’s the list!
As the leaves start to change and the air becomes crisp, November is the perfect time to explore some of the best national parks in the United States.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, these national parks offer a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of nature in all its glory.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best national parks to visit in November, and why they’re worth adding to your travel bucket list.
- Reasons to Visit National Parks in November
- Best National Parks in November
- 1. Zion National Park
- 2. Grand Canyon National Park
- 3. Bryce Canyon National Park
- 4. Capitol Reef National Park
- 5. Everglades National Park
- 6. Joshua Tree National Park
- 7. Death Valley National Park
- 8. Saguaro National Park
- 9. Yosemite National Park
- 10. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- 11. Canyonlands National Park
- 12. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
- 13. Mammoth Cave National Park
- 14. Congaree National Park
- 15. Big Bend National Park
- 16. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- 17. Channel Islands National Park
- 18. Arches National Park
- 19. Dry Tortugas National Park
- 20. Grand Teton National Park
- 21. Shenandoah National Park
- Best National Parks in November: Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the best national parks in November for hiking?
- Which national parks are warmest in November?
- Is it crowded at popular parks like Zion and Yosemite in November?
- What are some lesser-known, yet beautiful, parks to visit in November?
- How does the changing foliage impact national parks during November?
- Best National Parks in November: Conclusion
Reasons to Visit National Parks in November
November is an excellent time to visit national parks in the U.S. as it falls within the shoulder season.
During this month, you can enjoy fewer crowds, which allows you to experience the serene beauty of nature and exceptional solitude.
The fall foliage is another reason to visit national parks in November.
Additionally, milder weather can be found in many of the best national parks in November.
It’s not too hot or too cold, which makes outdoor activities more enjoyable, and there’s less chance of encountering extreme weather conditions.
Best National Parks in November
1. Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the best national parks in November if what you’re after is a mix of landscapes.
This park boasts a wide collection of terrains, with huge cliffs in shades of white and red, gardens that swing, rich meadows on high plateaus, and secret caves.
The park is home to a range of wildlife and has a rich history of Native American culture, making it an ideal destination for a well-rounded vacation that combines natural wonders, unique wildlife, and cultural experiences.
For avid hikers, you will find an abundance of hiking trails to suit various skill levels.
One popular trail is The Narrows, which takes you through the stunning Virgin River Gorge.
Another iconic hike in Zion is Angels Landing. This challenging trail offers breathtaking views and a thrilling experience as you ascend a steep, narrow ridge with the aid of chains.
If heights aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of other trails and activities to enjoy at the park.
Moreover, driving along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and Kolob Terrace Road is a wonderful way to see the best the park has to offer without breaking a sweat.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the best national parks in November if you want to enjoy one of the most iconic places in the USA, sans the crowds.
During this season, both the South Rim and the North Rim offer breathtaking views and a variety of things to do.
While here, make sure to explore the many trails available to hike on the South Rim (the North Rim is closed in November).
Make sure to also drive along the scenic routes. The South Rim features the 25-mile Desert View Drive, which takes you to various viewpoints and historic sites.
To learn more about the Grand Canyon’s history, geology, and wildlife at the various visitor centers throughout the park, you can visit the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
3. Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park, located in southwestern Utah, is a captivating destination and another of the best national parks in November.
This time of year offers cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and stunning landscapes adorned with unique geological features.
The park has numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some famous trails include Navajo Loop, Queen’s Garden, and Fairyland Loop.
With the cooler temperatures in November, you can comfortably explore these trails and enjoy the park’s iconic hoodoos, which are fascinating rock formations.
Another thing that makes Bryce Canyon great is the fact that it is renowned for its dark skies, offering you a unique opportunity to stargaze.
There are designated viewing areas with telescopes, and you can also join ranger-led astronomy programs at certain times of the month.
As you make your way through the park, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home.
4. Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park offers a serene and colorful escape from the everyday hustle.
The park, famous for its unique geological formations and vibrant hues, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
It’s definitely one of the best national parks in November, especially considering the weather will be ideal for hiking in the desert.
Don’t miss out on the beautiful 25-mile round trip Scenic Drive that takes you through some of the park’s most remarkable landscapes.
Along the way, you’ll experience breathtaking views of Capitol Reef’s famous domes and canyons.
If you enjoy hiking, Capitol Reef offers a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels.
Choose from easy strolls through captivating scenery or challenging hikes that provide an adventurous experience.
Some popular hikes include the Hickman Bridge Trail, Cassidy Arch Trail, and Fremont River Trail.
Also, Capitol Reef is designated as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, which means the night skies are truly enchanting.
5. Everglades National Park
Visiting Everglades National Park in November offers a unique experience, as the temperatures are cooler and more comfortable compared to the summer months.
This time of the year is ideal for exploring the park without encountering the intense heat and humidity.
The Everglades is home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as alligators, manatees, and countless bird species.
November is the beginning of the dry season, which means that animals tend to congregate around the remaining water sources, making it easier for you to spot them.
Numerous hiking trails are available for you to explore the park’s different ecosystems, from the freshwater sloughs to the brackish mangroves.
Some popular trails include the Anhinga Trail, which offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching, and the Gumbo Limbo Trail that takes you through a hardwood hammock.
For a fun outing, taking an airboat tour is an exciting way to experience the Everglades.
These tours allow you to glide through the extensive river system and get up close to the unique flora and fauna.
6. Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park, located in southeastern California, is another fantastic option for national parks in November.
With pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, you can fully enjoy the beauty of its unique desert landscape dotted by Joshua trees and surreal rock formations.
Some popular hikes include the Hidden Valley Trail, the Barker Dam Trail, and the Ryan Mountain Trail.
If you want something tougher, Joshua Tree is known for its world-class rock climbing opportunities.
With over 8,000 climbing routes, you can find a suitable challenge whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber.
Due to its remote location and the absence of city lights, Joshua Tree offers exceptional stargazing experiences.
7. Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is another of the best national parks to visit in November thanks to comfortable temperatures and stunning landscapes.
It’s the perfect time to visit this iconic location, as the scorching heat of the summer months has subsided.
Here, you’ll find numerous trails for you to explore, ranging from easy to challenging hikes.
Some popular trails include the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Golden Canyon, and the Natural Bridge Canyon Trail.
If you’re not into hiking, tou can take in the breathtaking scenery by driving on the park’s well-maintained roads.
Notable routes include the Badwater Road, which leads you to the lowest point in North America, and the Artists Drive, where you can witness a variety of colorful rock formations.
8. Saguaro National Park
In November, when the weather cools off, Saguaro National Park becomes a mecca for outdoor activities, incredible landscapes, and unique wildlife experiences.
The Valley View Overlook Trail and the Hugh Norris Trail are a few popular options that let you explore the beautiful desert landscape if you enjoy hiking.
For those who prefer driving, there are two main scenic drives that provide stunning views of the park.
The 8-mile Cactus Forest Loop Drive in the Rincon Mountain District and the 6-mile Bajada Loop Drive in the Tucson Mountain District offer a relaxing way to tour the region.
As the temperature drops in November, many animals become more active. Look for roadrunners, coyotes, and javelinas while exploring the park.
9. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the best national parks in November because of its stunning fall colors and reduced crowds.
The cool, crisp weather invites you to explore the park’s iconic sites and partake in various activities without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
There are several hiking trails available for all skill levels, providing breathtaking views of waterfalls and valleys.
Some popular hikes are Lower Yosemite Fall, Bridalveil Fall, and at higher elevations, Glacier Point.
For climbers, Yosemite offers world-famous routes and November presents an ideal time for tackling challenges such as El Capitan and Half Dome with fewer climbers present.
10. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vast protected area located in the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.
It is one of the most popular national parks in November thanks to its stunning natural beauty, including ancient mountains, lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
It is also home to over 100 historic structures, including old homes, barns, and churches, which provide a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers more than 800 miles of trails.
With the cool November weather, you can enjoy a variety of hikes, from easy strolls to challenging treks. Some popular trails include Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte, Laurel Falls Trail, and Abrams Falls Trail.
November is also a great time to observe the park’s abundant wildlife. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and even black bears.
The best times for wildlife viewing are early morning and late afternoon hours.
In November, you can still catch the vibrant fall foliage in the park.
Take a drive along the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road or the 32-mile Newfound Gap Road, which takes you through a range of ecosystems, providing beautiful mountain vistas and opportunities to spot wildlife along the way.
To learn more about the park, there are four visitor centers in the park, which offer a wealth of information and exhibits about the area’s natural and cultural history.
11. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park, located in southeastern Utah, offers a stunning landscape that is perfect to explore during the month of November.
The park features dramatic canyons, mesas, and buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries.
It’s one of the best national parks to tackle in November thanks to mild temperatures, fewer visitors, and breathtaking fall colors.
Canyonlands offers a variety of trails for all skill levels.
From short, easy walks such as the Mesa Arch Trail to the challenging, all-day hike on the Syncline Loop Trail, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views and unique geological formations.
Make sure to enjoy the Island in the Sky District’s scenic drives, such as the 34-mile round-trip Island in the Sky Road, which offers numerous overlooks and trailheads to park vistas.
12. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Visiting the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in November is an excellent choice.
During this time, you can enjoy mild temperatures, vibrant fall colors, and fewer crowds than other times of the year.
With over 80 miles of hiking trails, you can explore the diverse landscape, from steep canyon trails to leisurely walks through the rolling foothills.
Notable hikes include the challenging Guadalupe Peak Trail, which takes you to the highest point in Texas, and the scenic McKittrick Canyon Trail.
November is a great time to spot wildlife in the park. Keep your eyes peeled for mule deer, javelinas, and an array of bird species, including golden eagles and red-tailed hawks.
13. Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park, located in Kentucky, is a perfect destination for your November getaway.
With fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, this park offers an excellent opportunity to explore its vast network of caves and immerse yourself in nature during the fall season.
Here, you’ll get to explore the world’s longest known cave system on one of the many guided tours offered by the park.
Choose from tours such as the Historic Tour, Frozen Niagara Tour, and the Domes and Dripstones Tour, each catering to different interests and abilities.
Don’t forget to dress warmly, as the cave temperature stays around 54°F (12°C) year-round.
Mammoth Cave National Park also offers over 80 miles of trails, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the fall foliage while you walk.
Some popular trails include the Green River Bluffs Trail, Cedar Sink Trail, and the River Styx Spring Trail.
You can also explore the park on a bicycle, with over 20 miles of bike-friendly trails and routes.
The Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike & Hike Trail and Big Hollow Trail are two notable paths suitable for bikers of all skill levels.
As you traverse the park, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. Deer, turkey, and songbirds are commonly spotted during the fall months.
14. Congaree National Park
Located in South Carolina, Congaree National Park is a stunning destination for a visit in November.
With the fall foliage creating a breathtaking backdrop, you can experience a wide variety of activities to make your trip memorable.
Explore the park’s 25 miles of hiking trails that show off the beauty of the forest in fall.
There are trails suited for all levels of hikers, from the 2.4-mile Boardwalk Loop to the more challenging 11.7-mile Kingsnake Trail.
If you’re into canoeing and kayaking, you can paddle along the 20 miles of scenic waterways within the park, such as Cedar Creek.
November is also an excellent time for birdwatching in Congaree National Park, as many migratory species can be spotted.
Keep an eye out for birds like the Pileated Woodpecker, Prothonotary Warbler, and the Red-headed Woodpecker.
15. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park, located in Texas, offers a unique experience for visitors at this time with its pleasant weather, diverse wildlife, and stunning landscapes. It’s definitely another of the best national parks in November.
The park is known for its dramatic mountains, deep canyons, and vast desert areas, providing endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.
With over 150 miles of hiking trails, you can choose from easy nature walks, such as the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, to more challenging hikes like the South Rim Trail.
The cooler November temperatures make hiking more comfortable, and the fall foliage adds vibrant colors to the scenery.
Big Bend is home to more than 450 species of birds, 75 species of mammals, and 56 species of reptiles; November is an excellent time to spot some of them.
Keep an eye out for roadrunners, javelinas, and even black bears in their natural habitats.
Plus, as a certified International Dark Sky Park, Big Bend offers some of the clearest night skies in the country.
16. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, located in western Colorado, is known for its dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views.
November is a great time to visit, as the fall colors are in full swing and the park is less crowded.
You’ll find many trails suitable for all levels of expertise, ranging from short walks to challenging treks.
For a leisurely hike, try the Cedar Point Nature Trail, which offers panoramic views of the canyon and the Gunnison River.
If you’re up for a challenge, consider the Gunnison Route, a steep descent into the canyon.
As for scenic driving, take a drive along the South Rim Road and East Portal Road for stunning views of the canyon.
South Rim Road is a 7-mile stretch with 12 overlooks, allowing you to capture the beauty of the park from different angles.
East Portal Road is a steep, but rewarding drive that leads you to the base of the canyon and the crystal-clear waters of the Gunnison River.
Moreover, Black Canyon is home to various species of wildlife, such as mule deer, elk, and golden eagles.
Keep your eyes peeled for these creatures as you explore the park.
17. Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is one of the best national parks in November if warmish weather is what you’re after.
Visiting the Channel Islands National Park in November offers a unique blend of natural beauty, wildlife, and outdoor activities.
Exploring the park’s extensive trail system allows you to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty and peace that Channel Islands National Park has to offer.
If you’re into kayaking, you’ll love experiencing the park’s pristine coastlines from the water provides a one-of-a-kind adventure.
Moreover, the Channel Islands are home to a variety of unique plant and animal species.
You may spot the endemic Island fox, various seabirds, or even migrating whales during your visit. Remember to bring binoculars and a camera to capture these vibrant encounters.
As a bonus, the park’s rich marine life offers an unforgettable underwater experience for snorkelers and scuba divers alike.
November’s cooler waters bring about increased visibility, making it an ideal time to explore the vibrant kelp forests and diverse marine life.
18. Arches National Park
Arches National Park, located in eastern Utah, is another on the list of must-visit national parks in November.
This time of year offers comfortable temperatures, stunning landscapes, and fewer crowds compared to peak summer months.
The park boasts over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, providing you with breathtaking views and unique photographic opportunities.
During your visit, make sure to hike the famous Delicate Arch hike, a 3-mile round trip that is a must for first-time visitors. For a more accessible option, consider the Sand Dune Arch trail, a well-shaded route perfect for all ages.
If you’d rather enjoy the park from the comfort of your vehicle, the 18-mile long Arches Scenic Drive is a great way to see the park’s main attractions.
As a bonus, due to its remote location and limited light pollution, Arches National Park offers exceptional stargazing.
19. Dry Tortugas National Park
Located about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park is a unique destination and one of the best national parks in November for all things beaches and marine adventures.
With warm temperatures and fewer visitors, this is the perfect time to explore the park’s natural beauty and historical landmarks.
The crystal-clear waters surrounding the park’s seven small islands are home to vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life.
You can snorkel or dive to get up close to sea turtles, tropical fish, and even shipwrecks.
Plus, November marks the beginning of peak birdwatching season at Dry Tortugas.
As a stopping point for migratory birds, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a variety of species, such as the Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Noddy, and Sooty Tern.
If you’re into history, make sure to explore the well-preserved 19th-century fort that once served as a military prison.
As you wander its massive walls, you’ll gain insight into the history of the area and the strategic importance of this remote outpost.
20. Grand Teton National Park
In November, Grand Teton National Park offers a serene, picturesque setting with fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to experience the park’s majestic beauty.
During November, Grand Teton National Park is a haven for wildlife watching.
Migratory birds, elk, and moose are abundant, providing excellent opportunities for photography.
Keep your eyes open for golden eagles, trumpeter swans, and sandhill cranes.
Hiking is another popular activity in Grand Teton National Park. The fall season brings stunning colors and crisp air, perfect for exploring the park’s extensive trail system.
Here are some recommended trails:
- Taggart Lake Trail (3 miles round trip)
- Jenny Lake Loop (7.1 miles round trip)
- Two Ocean Lake Trail (6.4 miles round trip)
Scenic drives are another way to appreciate the beauty of the national park.
Driving the Teton Park Road and the Moose-Wilson Road can provide breathtaking views of the snow-capped Teton Range, as well as opportunities for wildlife viewing.
21. Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is one of the best national parks in November for fall foliage.
The Skyline Drive is the park’s main attraction. This 105-mile long road runs through the entire park and offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
At this time of year, you can witness the vibrant colors of the fall foliage as you cruise along the scenic drive.
Plus, Shenandoah boasts more than 500 miles of trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. Some popular trails include:
- Old Rag Mountain Trail: A challenging 9-mile loop that rewards you with panoramic views
- Hawksbill Mountain Trail: A moderate 2.1-mile hike to the highest peak in the park
- Dark Hollow Falls Trail: A short 1.4-mile round-trip hike that takes you past a picturesque waterfall
While exploring the park, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls Shenandoah home. You might spot white-tailed deer, black bears, and over 200 species of birds.
Best National Parks in November: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best national parks in November for hiking?
November is a great time for hiking in many national parks.
Some top picks for hiking in November include Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
During this time, the weather is cooler, making for comfortable hiking temperatures, and the parks are less crowded compared to peak seasons.
Which national parks are warmest in November?
If you’re seeking warmer weather in November, consider visiting national parks in the southern United States.
Some options include Big Bend National Park in Texas, Joshua Tree National Park in California, and Everglades National Park in Florida.
These parks tend to have more moderate temperatures during the fall and winter months.
Is it crowded at popular parks like Zion and Yosemite in November?
While there may still be some crowds at popular parks like Zion and Yosemite in November, you will generally find them much less crowded compared to the peak summer months.
Visiting in November allows you to enjoy the parks’ natural beauty without contending with large crowds and full campgrounds.
What are some lesser-known, yet beautiful, parks to visit in November?
For a quieter experience, consider visiting some lesser-known national parks in November.
Some options include North Cascades National Park in Washington, Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas.
These parks offer stunning scenery and a variety of recreational opportunities, but tend to receive fewer visitors compared to more popular parks.
How does the changing foliage impact national parks during November?
The changing foliage during November can bring a burst of vibrant colors and surreal landscapes to many national parks.
In particular, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its breathtaking fall foliage displays.
The various shades of reds, yellows, and oranges transforming the park provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking or simply taking in the views.
Best National Parks in November: Conclusion
In summary, November is a great time to visit some of the best national parks in the United States.
With cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, you can experience the natural beauty of these parks in a more peaceful and enjoyable way.
From Canyonlands to Shenandoah, there’s no shortage of options for national parks in November.