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These Are The Top 5 National Parks To Visit This Winter According To New Report  

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You might think that getting close to the great outdoors and exploring one of the beautiful national parks in the U.S. is solely a summertime activity, but you’d be wrong.

While visitor numbers are at their highest in the summer months, according to a new report, some of the best U.S. national parks are even better during the winter months.

So, skip the summer crowds and enjoy these national parks in the winter instead.  

Hike in the Bryce Canyon National park in winter season, Utah, USA

These are the top 5 national parks to visit this winter:  

Hot Springs National Park 

Hot Springs National Park has 47 natural hot springs and even during the winter months these springs maintain an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Hot Water Cascade, Hot Springs National Park

These waters aren’t safe for bathing in but there are bathhouses in the town that are a safe way for visitors to experience the region’s famous spring water. This is known as Bathhouse Row and includes 8 restored bathing facilities that were originally built in the Victorian era.  

These steamy hot waters are even more inviting when it’s cold outside, and the area comes alive during the winter months. Holiday lights are displayed from the end of November to early January.

Yellowstone National Park, WY 

During the winter months, Yellowstone National Park is often covered in a blanket of snow. You might think this is a good reason to avoid the park, but you’d be wrong! 

Aerial view of Grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone national park in Winter

When there’s snow on the ground you can explore Yellowstone’s iconic geothermal wonders by traveling on a snow coach or even via a private snowmobile tour. It gives the opportunity to explore the iconic park from a whole new perspective and is ideal for adrenaline junkies. 

The geyser basins look particularly magical in cold temperatures and though some animals (such as the bears) are likely to be hibernating there’s still the chance to spot some beautiful wildlife in the snowy landscape with very little crowds.  

Compared to July and August you'll pay around 50% less for a hotel in Yellowstone during the winter months too making it an ideal choice for budget travelers.

Saguaro National Park, AZ 

Thanks to its dry year-round climate winter is one of the best times to hike though the cactus groves in Saguaro National Park.  

Saguaro National Park

Hiking during the brutal heat of the average Arizona summer is not a pleasant experience. The Saguaro National Park features over 165 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding, and these are much more enjoyable during the winter months.  

Despite this Saguaro National Park is not crowded during the winter months. Just make sure you bundle up if you go out to the desert at night since the temperatures drop to the 20s and 30s when the sun goes down. 

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT 

Bryce Canyon National Park is another national park that is sprinkled with snow during the winter months.

A winter visit means fewer people and gorgeous scenery, with opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and plenty of other outdoor winter fun. Winter conditions include deep snow and sub-zero temperatures.  

Bryce Canyon in winter

But there are also plenty of places to get inside and warm up. Cozy up in bars and cafes or time your visit to coincide with the annual Bryce Canyon Winter Festival. The 2024 Festival will be held on February 17, 18 & 19.   

During the winter festival you can enjoy scenic winter tours, take part in information sessions and demonstrations, and competitions that guests can either watch or enter. The races include cross-country ski races, snowshoe races, and a people-powered sled race. 

Joshua Tree National Park, CA  

Winter is widely considered to be the best time of year to visit Joshua Tree National Park.  

Due to its climate the daytime temperatures rarely drop below 55-60°F in the park and crowd levels are low. This means you'll have a much nicer experience of the park compared with visiting in the summer months.  

A Joshua tree and rock formation in the desert at sunset in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is a dark sky park and because it gets darker earlier during the winter months, it’s a great time to visit for star gazing with plenty of time to appreciate the night sky.  

Joshua Tree National Park has an incredible allure and its stark beauty makes it a fascinating place to explore during the winter months.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.