Active volcanoes, impenetrable rainforests, hot geysers, mighty oceans and the unbearable heat of the desert – the beauty of the United States has no boundaries. Travelling in just one country, you can see a huge number of natural attractions. Some of them are close to big cities, but most of them you need to get to by car.
It would be a great idea to rent a jeep and go on an exciting journey through the wildest places in the USA. Don’t know where to pick up a car? You can do it online or through the special Jeep rental app with a wide range of SUVs for any tastes. Such a vehicle will allow you to reach the most remote places, which promises an incredible experience in the wild.
If you still don’t know where to go, we’ve prepared an overview of some great places for you. Start your engine and go!
Located on the border of California and Nevada, Death Valley is the largest park in the United States and nearby countries in North America. You won’t regret it if you rent a car and go there. To the west and east, the valley abuts the Telescope Peak and Dante’s View mountains, which offer breathtaking views of the entire Death Valley area. Although it’s a desert, it’s a place of geological, tourist and historical interest. The desert owes its unusual name to settlers who were looking for a short way through the valley to the California gold reserves. Not everyone managed to cross it, and their souls remained in Death Valley forever.
Despite this, it’s among the most colourful places in California, and perhaps in the United States. A large section of the valley, which is located below sea level and in the old days was the bottom of the lake, is notable for the extraordinary deposits of salt. Salt crystals grow upward, forming sharp 50-70 cm high peaks. On hot days, salt crystals emit an unusual crackle, which is hard to compare with anything.
Death Valley is among the hottest and driest spots on the globe. In the south of the valley, there’s a plain, which in ancient times was the bottom of Racetrack Playa Lake. It’s also called the Valley of Sailing Stones. The plain received such a unique name because of the phenomenon that occurs regularly in this area. Huge boulders and small stones crawl along the bottom of the desert and leave a trail behind them.
Kings Canyon National Park
Founded in 1940, Kings Canyon National Park is located in California, south of the Sierra Nevada. Today the area of the national park is about 1,900 square kilometres. Near Kings Canyon Park, there’s an equally significant conservation area called Sequoia National Park. The landscape of Kings Canyon is dominated by mountain ranges overgrown with coniferous forests, as well as small areas of alpine and subalpine mountain fields.
Among the conifers, a significant part is made up of giant sequoias and mammoth trees. The flora of Kings Canyon has over 2,100 species of unique and exotic plants. In addition to wooded areas and meadows, there are beautiful lakes and beautiful waterfalls in the park.
The park has about 300 marked trails, about 100 caves and 50 cross-country ski trails. Also, it has a well-developed road network, making it possible to explore the surrounding nature with a rental car. Travellers from all over the world come to Kings Canyon to admire the grandeur of the largest redwoods. Here tourists will get great pleasure from hiking, horseback riding, fishing, climbing in harmony with the wild nature. 3 miles from the main Kings Canyon road is the man-made Yum Lake, created in 1908. Tourists can visit the beach, swim in the crystal-clear water, and take a boat ride.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is located in the southwestern US state of Utah. The name of the park is directly related to the Little Zion estate. The park covers an area of 593 square kilometres. Sandstone, which contains a huge amount of wustite and hematite, gives the mountains an unusually reddish hue. For many centuries, rivers and streams have dug amazing gorges and canyons in the rocks. In some places, the height of the gorge walls is 850 meters.
The landscape of the Zion National Park was finally completed by the wind – the rocks took on sharpened forms with amazing protrusions. The high content of iron oxides in the rocks was reflected in the bizarre rock patterns and painted the rocks in various reddish hues. The main attraction of the park is the famous Zion Canyon. It was formed by a mountain river that made its way through the Navajo sandstones.
You can explore Zion Park both from below from the canyons and from above, walking along the paths. However, the second route is much more dangerous, since it often rains in this region, which greatly undermines the roads that may collapse. That’s why follow the special routes to explore the national park and rent a car with excellent off-road abilities.
Glacier National Park
If you drive your rental car to the Canadian border in Montana, you will find the beautiful Glacier National Park, established in 1910. Nature here is truly amazing and varied: the Rocky Mountains spread out in the park, giving shelter to numerous fauna. It’s home to such rare animals as variables, grizzly bears, wolverines, caribou deer, mountain goats, bison and Canadian lynxes. The ecosystem of this place remains practically untouched for many years.
However, the nature of Glacier attracts people not only with the diversity of the animal world. There’s something to admire here, since not many similar places left on Earth. You’ll enjoy many lakes in the park – from the largest to the smallest. One of the most famous is Lake McDonald, the longest and deepest of all the water reservoirs in the park. All small lakes are located in picturesque depressions, which were formed during the Ice Age.
The flora of this wonderful place is no less interesting – about 1130 plant species grow there. Glacier National Park has long been a favourite destination for millions of tourists. You can come there not only to admire the rugged ancient rocks, beautiful lakes, dense forests and picturesque waterfalls. You will also enjoy the opportunity to go hiking and fishing in the breathtaking scenery.
Grand Teton National Park
Thousands of camping sites, more than three hundred kilometres of walking trails, guest complexes, observation decks and, of course, stunning nature – all this makes Grand Teton in Wyoming one of the most famous national parks. More than two million people come here every year to admire the mountains, glacial lakes and unique wildlife.
Grand Teton is convenient to visit along with the famous Yellowstone since the distance between them is only 16 kilometres. Don’t miss such an opportunity if you travel in a rental car.
The fauna of the park is striking in its diversity. Bison, squirrels, cougars, wolves, grizzly bears, weasels, wolverines, beavers, hummingbirds, golden eagles and more than three hundred species of the animal world are found there. They feel good in the coniferous forests and meadows of the Grand Teton, especially magnificent during the flowering period.
In the park, you can also go skiing, bicycling, horse-riding, boating, and snowshoeing. In addition, Lake Jackson located in the Grand Teton area is popular with windsurfers.
Humboldt-Redwood State Park
There’s another completely unusual place in the United States of America. This is the Humboldt-Redwood State Park, which stretches over 23.5 thousand hectares north of San Francisco in California.
The sequoia landscape of the park is impressive with the height of trees growing in the vast expanses of the park. They often reach the height of 100 meters.
The entrance to the park in a rental car is free of charge. There’s a visitor information centre, where you can receive a map of the park providing the most interesting local spots. Those who come there can stay at a well-equipped campsite.
Travellers to Humboldt-Redwood can enjoy horseback riding, while those who choose cycling will follow picturesque routes. The best time to visit the state park is spring and autumn when the weather is warm enough, but it’s not so hot.
The uniqueness of the United States is that everywhere you can enjoy the splendour and versatility of nature, wherever you go. All you need to do is rent a car. In addition, if you rent an SUV, then your road adventure will be even more exciting since the off-road capabilities and high ground clearance will allow you to get to the wildest, and therefore the most interesting and beautiful places.