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13 Best National Parks to Visit in November

13 Best National Parks to Visit in November

The US has the best national parks to visit in November, so if you’re someone who always thought summer was park time, prepare to get your mind changed.

Yes, summer is a fantastic time to experience the outdoors when the lakes and rivers are refreshing and the skies are clear. But in the fall, the parks’ rich, jewel-hued colors of autumn and crisp air are perfectly rejuvenating. The best national parks to visit in autumn will have a full array of activities as well as special events that lure visitors from all around.

Yet, the crowds to be expected during peak season, i.e., summer, won’t usually be found. With kids back in school and families looking to stay close to home until winter break, autumn is the nice in-between time where you can find space to move freely and maybe even in complete solitude.

If the sounds of crunchy leaves underfoot and the warmth of a thermos of pumpkin-spice-flavored coffee kindle a lust in you to wander, try this list of the best national parks to visit in November.

Best National Parks to Visit in November

1. Everglades National Park

Alligators lounge at the waters edge in the Everglades National Park

We’re unsure if this even needs to be said on a list of national parks to visit in the fall. But the fascinating sub-tropical wetlands called the Everglades National Park, covering a couple of million acres of south Florida, are ever so much more comfortable to visit in the low-ish temperatures of November.

This park is a delicate ecosystem and home to multitudes of mammals, birds, and reptiles. In November, Everglades National Park weather is still warm, but this time of year is the start of a typically dry winter.

Water levels are low, and the animals hang out at the water source. Paddle a canoe in or take a kayak tour to see where the water birds unique to the Everglades congregate and feed.

What makes the Everglades one of the best parks to visit in November is the abundance of wildlife you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll be sure to see plenty of alligators, fish, and manatees. Other fun, exclusively Everglades things to do are airboat rides, like this one from Orlando, and crocodile spotting.

See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Vacations in the US

2. Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park, Badwater

Topping our list of best US national parks to visit in November is the ominous-sounding Death Valley National Park in California.

It’s called Death Valley because temperatures in the summer can run well into the triple digits. So what makes a place like this one of the best parks to visit in November? In contrast to more mountainous parks, when organized activities wind down, ranger-guided tours begin in late October.

Death Valley National Park weather in November is even more pleasant. Comfortably and safely explore old-west mining outposts, ghost towns, salt dunes, and basins. The stark Badwater Basin is North America’s lowest point, perhaps the eeriest. Full-day tours are also available from Las Vegas.

See Related: Warm Places to Visit in the US During Winter

3. Yosemite National Park

Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, November

Yosemite National Park weather in November only adds to the drama and beauty of this California treasure. Some areas may close due to treacherous, snowy conditions, but most of it is widely accessible and not packed with people.

Surrounded by the majestic Sierra Nevada, Yosemite is famous for tours like this one of the giant sequoias. Tunnel View, captured in black and white by famed photographer Ansel Adams, can be found as a viewpoint on Highway 41.

Find it, and you’ll see the iconic vista of Bridalveil Falls opposite El Capitan with Half Dome in the background. Breathtaking any time of year, the autumn colors of the forest make this view, and the entire park, extra special.

See Related: Vacation Spots in the United States

4. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, Maine

When researching what national parks are best to visit in November, you can’t overlook Acadia National Park in Maine. Often referred to as the crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, it’s most famous for its incredible hiking and amazing ocean frontage.

This park gets crowded in the summer, so fall is the best time to hike, bike, and enjoy all that Acadia has to offer before winter weather sets in.

In November, Acadia National Park weather turns much cooler, signaling the end of fall foliage tourism when cruise ships drop off thousands of passengers at Bar Harbor.

You’ll miss the blazing leaves but have miles of trails. And you definitely won’t miss the huge swells of leaf-hunting tourists. Enjoy the silence!

5. Zion National Park

Zion National Park entrance station with red rock formations and blue sky
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

One of the best national parks to visit in November has to be Zion, located in southern Utah. Its long autumn season makes November traveling safe and enjoyable.

Check out this tour of the things to do and attractions in Zion from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.

With the departure of summer crowds, visitors can take all the time they need to explore the park. This tour will allow you to fully experience all the scenic beauty this park has to offer. Zion National Park’s weather in November is mild, with beautiful sunny skies.

The canyon is the best place to see fall foliage colors. If you’re interested in serious hiking, the lesser-known trails are mostly empty, and water levels are much lower than in the summertime, particularly in the area known as The Narrows.

Start your hiking adventures early in the morning, and you’ll also spot wildlife. Sound like your kind of park? Check out these best things to do in Zion National Park.

See Related: Hotels in Zion National Park

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Fall foliage views from Clingman's Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Of all the national parks to visit in the fall, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will give you the best autumn foliage. Almost 100 species of trees will change colors, blanketing the cliffs and ridges in bright oranges and yellows.

One of the best features of the Great Smoky Mountains is the rich history of the area and the little towns you’ll find nestled in the ancient hills.

There’s amazing cuisine found in these parts, whether it’s in a humble pancake house or an upscale eatery offering fresh fish and steaks.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park weather in November is pleasant. Amid all the gorgeous fall colors, you’ll also find many places for a picnic.

Work up an appetite by hiking through the historical woods surrounding old log homes, churches, and mills. Start early morning and watch the sun break through the fog and trees.

After a full day of mountain fun, you’ll get a great night’s sleep in any lodges and cabins available around the park. Helicopter and jeep tours like this one of this vast and beautiful forestland are also available.

7. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Many would agree that the Grand Canyon is one of the best US National Parks to visit in November due to its immense beauty and lack of crowds. Grand Canyon National Park weather in November will have temperatures much more pleasurable too.

If you’ve had problems getting a permit for backcountry hiking in the Grand Canyon, applying for one in November may be the solution.

But any of the trails will be mostly all yours this time of year. Or take this guided tour to get the best canyon views. Plan your visit around the South Rim for the most predictable conditions and open facilities.

However, if you’d like to check out the park’s splendor from the North Rim, the road is usually open barring heavy snow. You can also find lodging and restaurants less than an hour’s drive from there.

Otherwise, seeing and photographing the Grand Canyon lightly dusted with November snow is a treat few people experience.

See Related: Day Trips from Phoenix

8. Yellowstone National Park

A hiker in a blue jacket observes steaming geothermal features along a snowy trail at Artist Paintpots, Yellowstone, surrounded by a wintry forest landscape.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The answer to what national parks are best to visit in November may lie in one of the most famous areas in the world–Yellowstone in rugged, wild Wyoming, with claims in Montana and Idaho, too.

Once again, if peace and solitude are what you seek in an outdoor adventure, this park delivers. Yellowstone National Park weather in November is more winter than autumn. Only one road is open in the park from November until April, going from the north entrance to the northwest entrance.

However, this road is probably the most scenic. And, there’s still much to see on a hike on one of the wide-open trails in Mammoth and Lamar Valley, including bison herds and maybe even bears. Backcountry hiking is also available, conditions permitting.

A visitor center with a museum is open year-round and staffed with rangers who are happy to answer any questions. If you want to book your trip, read our full guide on where to stay in Yellowstone to maximize your trip.

9. Grand Teton National Park

Mount Moran at Sunrise in Grand Teton National Park
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

If you’re looking for wildlife in the national parks to visit in the fall, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming will never disappoint. Snow will blanket the landscape by November, but after a quick check with park rangers about conditions, you should be all set to enjoy this winter playground. Skiers and snowshoers love the open trails, while photographers aim for the abundant wildlife that calls Grand Teton home.

Winter camping by permit is also available, as well as this guided day tour. Spot elk, moose, and bison as they wander the slopes or try ice-fishing.

With most of the roadways closed to automobile traffic, you can explore all you like by snowmobile or, even better, cross-country skiing. Grand Teton National Park weather in November makes this area take on an other-worldly quality. The clouds sweep over the ranges, rising from the snow-covered ground without foothills. So dramatic, yet utterly beautiful.

10. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, Montana

Listing this far northern region as a national park to visit in the fall is misleading because Glacier National Park weather in November is typical winter snow and ice.

Yet, glaciers are what you see, and Glacier National Park is incredible in winter. Nearby Whitefish is a wonderful ski town and makes a great base to enjoy winter sports with a day planned to explore the winter wonderland adjacent.

Or, get a permit to winter camp. Once inside Glacier, you can ski or snowshoe. Ranger-guided tours are available on winter weekends. November and throughout the winter months, winds and snow may bring low clouds, so the peaks may not always be visible.

However, if breathtaking winter landscapes make you feel warm inside, Glacier National Park this time of year is perfection for a Montana vacation.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Alaska

11. Arches National Park

Iconic arch of Arches National Park, Utah, Winter

Like the other best national parks to visit in November on our list, Arches National Park in Utah offers fewer crowds and none of the scorching heat of summer.

The visitors center is open, and there is winter camping at Devil’s Garden Campground. Most trails are open too. Rangers advise bringing trekking poles and waterproof boots and getting the latest snow reports at the visitors center before heading out.

Arches National Park weather in November doesn’t usually include large amounts of snow at one time. The best part of visiting Arches this time of year is not having to wait in line to get your photos of the iconic rock formations.

You can take as many as you like because you may be the only photographer there. Take this guided tour to find the best vistas.

See Related: Best Southwestern Destinations

12. Rocky Mountain National Park

Snowy Rocky Mountain, Colorado

Similar to Yosemite National Park weather in November, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park conditions can range from chilly to arctic.

But you can avoid deep snows by keeping to the lower elevations on the eastern side. For high-country camping and backpacking, you’ll need winter weather gear.

Cold weather and snow aside, the breathtaking mountain scenery is worth making the trip, too, especially as there are no crowds. Even short hikes will make you feel like you’re the only tiny human in these majestic ranges.

Every square inch of this massive park will make a photograph worthy of a magazine, even if you take it from the car. Rocky Mountain National Park weather in November rarely has the big snowfalls like in the deep winter months.

Big, blue skies, solitude, and abundant wildlife make this national park a delight to visit with a tour like this one. Complete your visit with a stay in Estes Park, a charming mountain community with great lodging and restaurants.

13. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Blue Hen Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

One of the amazing national parks to visit in the fall is the unsung gorgeous acreage in the middle of the US in Ohio. In November, Cuyahoga Valley National Park comes alive when the larch and witch hazel turn golden.

What makes Cuyahoga Valley one of the best parks to visit in November is how easily accessible it is from anywhere in the Midwest. It offers abundant walking, running, and biking trails and is a birder’s paradise. There are many waterfalls to explore, the Everett Covered Bridge is Instagrammable, and the fall foliage in November practically glows with glorious color.

Overnight camping is available, especially when its Midwestern skies turn a lovely shade of lavender at sunrise and sunset. In November, Cuyahoga Valley National Park weather is chilly, with typical fall breezes and a crisp, pleasant feeling in the air.

From majestic snow-covered mountain peaks to the stark drama of desert landscapes, these best national parks to visit in November refuse to be defined by their summer traffic and temperatures.

See a whole new side to them with an off-season visit. With their peaceful trails, energized wildlife, and inspiring fall colors, national parks in November are the best places to find long-lost solitude.

It’s an incredible way to relieve stress in yourself and on the land. As a nation, our national parks system represents a time when Americans came together in the best way possible to offer each other and future generations. In these unspoiled spaces, conservation, hospitality, and friendship always prevail.

FAQs

Is November a good time to visit national parks?

November can be a great time to visit national parks, depending on your priorities and preferences. While some parks may have limited services or accessibility due to winter weather, others offer unique opportunities for wildlife viewing, fall colors, and smaller crowds. It’s important to research individual parks and their seasonal offerings before planning a visit in November.

Is November a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Visiting Bryce Canyon in November is an excellent idea for those who prefer fewer crowds and cooler temperatures. The park’s high elevation means snow is possible, adding to the stunning red rock formations. Visitors should be prepared for potential road closures and limited services as the park transitions into its winter season.

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