Get outside at one of these 25 national parks close to Phoenix

grand canyon national park

A photo of the Grand Canyon (Photo by Unsplash/Omer Nezih Gerek)

By Stacker

January 24, 2024
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 Phoenix. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, 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.

#1. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 112 miles
– Driving time: 3.2 hours
– Date founded: October 14, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 92,867.42 acres

#2. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 185 miles
– Driving time: 3.9 hours
– Date founded: December 9, 1962
– 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 221,390.21 acres

#3. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 198 miles
– Driving time: 4.1 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres

#4. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

– Distance: 225 miles
– Driving time: 4.3 hours
– Date founded: October 31, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 795,155.85 acres

#5. Zion National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 289 miles
– Driving time: 8.2 hours
– Date founded: November 19, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 147,242.66 acres

#6. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 302 miles
– Driving time: 8.1 hours
– Date founded: February 25, 1928
– 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 35,835.08 acres

#7. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 342 miles
– Driving time: 7.7 hours
– Date founded: June 29, 1906
– 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 52,485.17 acres

#8. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

– Distance: 343 miles
– Driving time: 7.6 hours
– Date founded: October 31, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres

#9. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 344 miles
– Driving time: 6.1 hours
– Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
– 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 146,344.31 acres

#10. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 349 miles
– Driving time: 9.8 hours
– Date founded: December 18, 1971
– 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 241,904.50 acres

 

READ MORE: Arizona is more than the Grand Canyon. Here are other historic sites and national monuments to visit.

 

#11. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 366 miles
– Driving time: 12.1 hours
– Date founded: September 12, 1964
– 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 337,597.83 acres

#12. Arches National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 404 miles
– Driving time: 8.4 hours
– Date founded: November 12, 1971
– 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 76,678.98 acres

#13. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

– Distance: 419 miles
– Driving time: 10.2 hours
– Date founded: October 27, 1986
– 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 77,180.00 acres

#14. Channel Islands National Park (California)

– Distance: 428 miles
– Date founded: March 5, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 249,561.00 acres

#15. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 429 miles
– Driving time: 8.0 hours
– Date founded: October 15, 1966
– 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 86,367.10 acres

#16. Sequoia National Park (California)

– Distance: 437 miles
– Driving time: 12.3 hours
– Date founded: September 25, 1890
– 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 404,062.63 acres

#17. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

– Distance: 444 miles
– Driving time: 13.3 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1940
– 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 461,901.20 acres

#18. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 444 miles
– Driving time: 10.6 hours
– Date founded: October 21, 1999
– 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 30,779.83 acres

#19. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 450 miles
– Driving time: 8.2 hours
– Date founded: May 14, 1930
– 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 46,766.45 acres

#20. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 485 miles
– Driving time: 11.1 hours
– Date founded: September 24, 2004
– 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 107,341.87 acres

#21. Yosemite National Park (California)

– Distance: 527 miles
– Driving time: 12.2 hours
– Date founded: October 1, 1890
– 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 761,747.50 acres

#22. Pinnacles National Park (California)

– Distance: 564 miles
– Driving time: 10.4 hours
– Date founded: January 10, 2013
– 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 26,685.73 acres

#23. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 588 miles
– Driving time: 12.1 hours
– Date founded: June 12, 1944
– 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 801,163.21 acres

#24. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 614 miles
– Driving time: 14.8 hours
– Date founded: January 26, 1915
– 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 265,807.25 acres

#25. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

– Distance: 726 miles
– Driving time: 14.5 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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Author

  • Stacker

    Stacker is the world’s most accessible, widely distributed newswire, empowering publishers with an expansive story library, modern newsroom products, and a sustainable partnership model.

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