Everyone loves a national park. The untamed beauty of a country’s roots, all laid out to be explored and absorbed. And there’s usually a pretty good variety of terrain to try out along the way – whether you’re a cyclist, a sailor, a rock-climber, or you just like to lie down and stare at the clouds.
But regular maps of these parks never quite convey the truth of what you will encounter. How steep are the hills, how vast are the rock formations. So the designers over at Expedia decided to create a topographic map of some of the best national parks to give a unique new view at just what you might find there.
Zion National Park- Utah, USA
148,000 acres of pre-historical rock layers leap out at you from this map of Utah’s celebrated park – and as you can imagine, those formations look pretty different when you’re down at ground zero! You’ll also find yourself surrounded by all manner of wildlife, below the 291 different bird species who previously held exclusive rights on this bird’s-eye view.
Banff National Park- Alberta, Canada
Banff is known for the wintry beauty of its glaciers, snowy mountains, and icy rivers. As this map reveals, it’s an unapologetic landscape ideal for the hardiest of adventurers.
Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park- Sichuan, China
Panda Lake Waterfall is one of the most beautiful of its kind; not least because it freezes stock still in winter. It’s just one highlight of an exotic park that counts giant pandas and golden monkeys among its hosts!
Göreme National Park- Göreme, Turkey
If you’ve heard of Turkey’s famous ‘fairy chimneys’, you’ll want to make your way to Göreme to the east of Expedia’s map.
Torres del Paine National Park- Magallanes Region, Chile
Few of the maps have quite the varied texture of Torres del Paine! The granite pillars of the Patagonian steppe vie for prominence with the verdant wilderness and dreamy lagoons.
Fiordland National Park- Southland, New Zealand
The glistening water veins of Fiordland National Park have catered to all kinds of rare and unusual local fauna that thrive in an alien landscape capped with thousand-foot tall waterfalls and mighty Mitre Peak.
Jostedalsbreen National Park- Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
They like fjords in Norway. Sognefjord and the Nordfjord are two of the absolute best fjords and you can find them at Jostedalsbreen. The changing ice forms and flowing waters make for a landscape that never looks quite the same twice.
Kilimanjaro National Park (Kilimanjaro, Tanzania)
Top points to Kilimanjaro for cultivating one of the most organised aerial views! That’s because the landscape forms around the eponymous mountain – the highest in Africa – tapering away over dry rock to the soft meadows of the valley. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Kilimanjaro for more information on travelling to this amazing national park.
Which national park will you visit first?