There’s really nothing quite like the US National Park system. Long dubbed “America’s best idea,” there are 397 national parks across the US’s whole eco-network. With sprawling acres of natural beauty, fit for the greatest outdoor activities and the purest form of recreation, there are some so much larger than life, that its ubiquity is forever immortalized in a hit Hollywood movie or two.
Below is a list of the five most famous National Parks in America:
Death Valley National Park
Located in California and Nevada, Death Valley is the largest national park in the continental U.S. and home to more than a thousand plant species despite being one of the harshest desert environments in the world.Where you’ve seen it: Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. In the first and original Star Wars movie many of the desert scenes with R2-D2 and C-3PO -- two of the most iconic droids in the cult-favorite movies -- were filmed in various locations of the valley, including Bantha Canyon.
Zion National Park
Impressive archaeological sites and dramatic landscapes are the main attractions at this memorable Utah park. Where you’ve seen it: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A classic Western, Zion’s landscape is featured prominently in many scenes and the little nearby Grafton ghost town is used as home to Etta.
Grand Canyon National Park
Arguably the most well-known park in the world, The Grand Canyon spans more than a million acres of land in Arizona with the canyon itself taking up 277 miles. Where you’ve seen it: National Lampoon’s Vacation. In the Griswold family’s roadtrip to Walley World, they stop at the Grand Canyon to fix their car before Aunt Edna dies.
Arches National Park
More than 2,000 arches, spires, balanced rocks, and other sandstone formations make this Utah park a truly unique destination. Where you’ve seen it: 127 Hours. Most of the movie shows Aron alone and trapped by a boulder, but the landscape highlights the sandstone formations and canyons.
Glacier National Park
The forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks, clear waters, and glacial-carved valleys are home to many native plants and animals species, which makes this Montana park lauded as one of the most well-preserved ecosystems in the country. Where you’ve seen it: Forrest Gump. The park is featured in the background during Forrest’s years-long run across the country.