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Nothing is better than an epic sunset to close the day after a long day exploring your favorite National Park. Some National Parks are known for having especially great sunsets. National Park experts have weighed in on their favorite parks to catch the sunset, and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Dry Tortugas National Park
Writing Contributed by Camila, Travel Cami
Dry Tortugas National Park is a group of islands located in the Gulf of Mexico, almost 70 miles away from Key West. It is one of the most remote national parks in the United States and one of the most unique as well!
To watch the sunset in the park, you will probably have to camp there, since the ferry usually leaves around 4 pm. It is SO worth it, though!
There are two best places to watch the sunset in Dry Tortugas National Park:
First, the beach. Find a spot in the sand and wait for what is going to be the most gorgeous sunset ever.
The second place is from the top of Fort Jefferson. The top of the fort holds absolutely beautiful views from the islands and the sea.
You can read more about Dry Tortugas National Park here.
Canyonlands National Park
Grand View Point Overlook
Photo and Writing Contributed by Nichole, Nichole the Nomad
One of the best places to watch the sunset in a national park is Grand View Point Overlook. Grand View Point Overlook is in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park and offers incredible views. Although there is a viewpoint near the parking lot, the best view requires an easy 2-mile hike. The trail begins at the end of the Island of the Sky’s scenic drive and follows along a cliff edge until the final viewpoint overlooking miles of canyons. Grand View Point Overlook almost has a 360° view, so it is a fantastic spot to watch the sunset year-round! Because it is an easy hike, Grand View Point Overlook is a popular spot, but you can easily find a secluded area. If you are looking for one of the best places to watch the sunset in a national park, you need to add Grand View Point Overlook to your Canyonlands National Park bucket list!
Everglades National Park
Photo and Writing Contributed by Rebecca, Whatever Packs your Bag
Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres and provides
drinking water to 7 million people. Everglades National Park is located in South Florida and has 4 different entrances, 3 are on the east coast and 1 is on the west coast. The name Everglades means sea of grass.
Catching sunset over the Everglades is the most beautiful when the water, the sky and palms meet, the orange and yellow hues are intoxicating. However, to catch sunset in the park you need to go during the winter when the days are the shortest, as the park closes at 5pm. Make sure you wear your bug spray as the mosquitos come out in force at sunset.
There are 26 trails you can walk along, hiking is not really happening in Florida as it is so flat, but always remember your water and hat to stay safe in the heat. If you are looking for other Florida locations, check out Why Visit Florida.
Shenandoah National Park
Photo and Writing Contribution by Rachel, Means to Explore
Showcasing the Appalachian Mountains, there’s no better place in Virginia to watch the sunset than in Shenandoah National Park. Mountaintops are good for sunsets, but hiking back down to your car in the dark is not for everyone. Instead, stop at an overlook on Skyline Drive, the main road through Shenandoah.
Skyline Drive is the perfect addition to a road trip with spectacular views of both sides of the mountains! One of the best overlooks for sunset views is Jeremy’s Run on the north end of the park.
Typically, not packed like the parking lots for the popular hikes; you may even get it all to yourself in the off season. Fall sunsets are especially amazing! See the orange, red, and yellow trees magnified into even greater brilliance.
Note: $30 park entrance fee per vehicle but the views and hikes are worth it!
Photo and Writing Contribution by Karee, Our Woven Journey
Few places can rival the kind of sunset that can be seen from the top of a volcano. Haleakala Summit in Maui offers one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. It’s one of the best things to do when visiting Maui!
There are a few things you should know before going that will help make your evening more enjoyable.
It’s pretty chilly at that elevation and once the sun goes down it can get downright cold. Plan ahead so you can stay warm.
Although reservations aren’t needed for sunset viewing (they are for sunrise), get there early to get a parking spot. Gas up your car before leaving and bring some snacks as there’s nowhere to stop along the way. Also bring something to sit on like a towel or blanket.
Charge your camera ahead of time and prepare to be amazed by the view in Haleakala National Park!
Grand Teton National Park
Photo and Writing Contributed by Julia, The Cure for Curiosity
Grand Teton National Park offers a lot of amazing views. However, to find the best sunset spot, you need to know where to look. Since the crowds will be dispersed throughout the park, the best view, at Snake River Overlook, will be pretty quiet, offering you a little piece of serenity as the sun goes down.
Arrive at the Snake River Overlook just before sunset and you’ll find plenty of parking and a nice stone wall to sit on as you watch the sun sink over the perfectly jagged Teton Mountain Range. Take a jacket as the temperature will drop quickly, and keep your eyes out for the famous wildlife of the area. Then just enjoy the stunning scenery of sunset!
Not only is Snake River Overlook the best place to catch the sunset in Grand Teton National Park, but it’s also the perfect place to stop as you drive through the area on a road trip from Denver to Glacier National Park.
Mount Rainier National Park
Photo and Writing Contributed by Michelle, The Wandering Queen
One of the most magical places to experience a sunset in Washington State is Fremont Lookout, located in Mount Rainier National Park. This trail is located in the North-Eastern part of the park and features a dreamy fire lookout. It is a whimsical location, and the hike is around 5.6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1200 ft.
The main view of this trail is, of course, Mount Rainier. You get 360-degree views of this majestic mountain and all its glory. Since Fremont Lookout is located at 7200 feet elevation, you might experience a cloud inversion. A phenomenon that happens when the air – warm at the bottom, colder as you go up – becomes inverted. This means you have a chance of being above the clouds. This is one of the reasons why Fremont lookout is one of the best places to experience the sunset in Washington State.
Joshua Tree National Park
Photo and Writing Contributed by Elaina, Mind over Matter Travel
The whole desert shines gold as the sun sets in Joshua Tree National Park. As the sun lowers, hues of orange, red, pink, and purple dance across the sky. The best part of watching the sunset in Joshua Tree National Park is that there’s not a single location with a bad view. The most popular spot to watch the sunset is the Keys View lookout. But, this spot has limited parking and large crowds. If you’re looking for somewhere with less crowds, pull over anywhere within the park! Make sure not to leave right after sunset. As the darkness creeps in, the stars begin to illuminate the sky. Take a moment to appreciate nature and stargaze at a park labeled as an International Dark Sky Park. It won’t disappoint!
Grand Canyon National Park
Photo and Writing Contribution by Jumana, Planet Hopper Girl
Sunset viewing is a must for your Grand Canyon vacation as it is truly magical. Grand Canyon offers the best view during sunset as it shows the stunning red color of the rock formations and light together throwing a fantastic red-themed show and sometimes you can also see red clouds. There is a lighting effect with a mix of shadows and light as light hits only some parts. If you don’t like to be so early, I would suggest going to watch the sunset in the evening. Check the time of sunset and go to multiple sunset points as below:
Hopi is just in the area and the most popular and Yavapai is just a bit of a walk from the Hopi or you can take a shuttle bus there. It is pretty easily accessible to quickly catch the sunset timing the sunset time right.
Saguaro National Park
Cactus Forest Drive
Photo and Writing Contribution by Chantelle, Flannels or Flip Flops
Saguaro National Park is a great spot for sunset! Arizona is known for its epic sunsets so combining that with the silhouettes of the enormous Saguaro Cactus create amazing photo opportunities!
The best way to see the sunset in Saguaro National Park is to head over to the East Side of the park (Rincon Mountain District) and take the Cactus Forest Loop Drive. From this drive, there are numerous places to pull out and watch the sunset over the mountains. My favorite places in the park to watch the sunset are Javelina Rocks, Tanque Verde Trail, or Mica View.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Writing Contributed by Gabby, Journey to the Destination
If you are looking for the best place to watch the sunset in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Clingman’s Dome is the place to go! At an elevation of 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
While the hike to Clingman’s Dome is short and paved (it is only half a mile each way), it is very steep! If you visit Clingman’s Dome, be prepared to get a good leg workout.
Even though the hike can be difficult, reaching the observatory tower is well worth it. At the top, you get a 360-degree view of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, making it an amazing place to watch the sunset!
Are you ready to catch an epic sunset?
Remember to always check the park you are wanting to visit for closing hours or special restrictions. Never travel off-trail or to restricted areas. Be sure you can safely return to your car when it gets dark. Bring a blanket or jacket, even if it’s warm outside, the temperature can change so rapidly after dark.
These are our best picks for National Park sunsets, but I know there are so many that we didn’t cover! Let me know in the comments where your favorite sunset viewing park is!
Do you like to get up early? Check out the most Breathtaking Sunrises in National Parks!
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