Visiting US National Parks in April

Spring is one of the best times of the year to plan a US National Park vacation.

In April, exploring the national parks is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with more moderate weather and temperatures at most parks.

If you enjoy hiking, biking and taking pictures of beautiful landscape and wildlife, then you’ll love a spring trip!

We collaborated with other travelers who share their experiences visiting various national parks in April to help you make a list of places to add to your bucket list.

Here’s the list of US National Parks to visit in April in alphabetical order.

And we’ve got a list of more US National Parks to visit in the spring!

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What to Pack for a Spring National Park Vacation

DOWNLOAD our US National Park checklists to make it easy to pack what you need for your next trip!

1. US National Parks Pass

You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas.

→ BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation. 

2.  Hiking Gear

3. Clothing – Layers

4. Daypack

5. Other

LIST OF US NATIONAL PARKS TO VISIT IN APRIL

Arches in April

Visiting Arches National Park in April is perfect.

The best part about going to Arches in April is the moderate temperatures. It’s cool in the morning and evening so you’ll need a jacket, but the daytime weather is the best for hiking!

Landscape Arch in the spring

Arches is a small park and can get very crowded. It’s a popular spring break destination so our best advice is to enter the park early to avoid the lines.

The parking lots at the popular points of interest fill up fast so you’ll want to plan your itinerary so you avoid driving around and around looking for a spot to park!

Check out our Arches & Canyonlands 3 day itinerary!

There are many options of places to stay in Moab, the gateway town near Arches.

Where to Stay Near Arches:

Arches National Park camping can only be done at the one small campground.

There are no hotels in Arches so most people stay in the nearby town of Moab. You’ll find restaurants and places to shop which adds to the appeal to find accommodations in Moab.

There are all types of lodging in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks

READ OUR FULL GUIDE: Places to stay near Arches National Park in Moab

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
  • Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel. 
  • Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
  • Vacation Rentals – we really like rentals with a kitchen, washer and dryer and amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!

Bryce Canyon in April

There’s never a wrong time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park, but April is one of our favorite times.

Bryce Canyon foreground midground background

You’ll be amazed at the colorful hoodoos you’ll see at every viewpoint in the park. We always recommend you do the scenic drive FIRST! Drive all the way to the end of the road at Rainbow Point and work your way back to the Amphitheater. Trust us… this is the best way to experience and photograph Bryce Canyon!

The one hike you must do is the Navajo Loop Queen’s Garden Trail. Seeing the hoodoos and windows formations along the trails, and not just from above, is amazing. You just have to experience it to understand.

Keep in mind that Bryce Canyon is close to 9000 feet above sea level. Don’t underestimate your abilities. It may seem easy going down the trails into the canyon, but remember you have to hike those trails back up!

Wear the right hiking shoes, drink lots of water, and don’t forget sun protection.

Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon:

Canyonlands in April

Canyonlands National Park in April is one of the more popular times people visit, especially around spring break. We recommend you enter the park before 9 am or later in the afternoon after 3 pm if you’ll be there during a busy time.  

If you enjoy outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to see, do and photograph in Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Canyonlands Needles in the spring.

We recommend you take a side trip to visit and photograph the views from Dead Horse Point State Park. It’s a short distance from the Island in the Sky entrance and worth the quick side trip. 

Stargazing at Canyonlands is a must-do. In April you’ll be able to see the Milky Way in the sky. It’s worth the effort to enjoy the park after dark! 

Capitol Reef in April

You’ll love spending time at Capitol Reef in April.  The weather is perfect and you might see the fruit orchards blooming!  

We recommend the scenic drive through the park, and stop at any pullout to get out and take some pictures of the magnificent views!

If you enjoy hiking, you’ll love the trails at Capitol Reef like Cohab Canyon, Hickman Bridge, Capitol Gorge, Chimney Rock, and Cassidy Arch, to name just a few.

Be sure you stop at the Gifford Home for some salsa, ice cream, pie, and cinnamon rolls. You may want to start your day there to make sure you get the goods before they’re sold out. 

If you want some dirt road adventure, the Burr Trail/switchbacks along the waterpocket fold is a drive with amazing views. And the Cathedral Valley area is a fun place to explore, but you’ll need a high clearance vehicle for that one!

Places to Stay Near Capitol Reef

  • Capitol Reef Resort – this is where we stay! Make it a unique experience and stay in a teepee or covered wagon!
  • Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel – basic rooms and cabins with a deli and store right on the property which is so convenient!
  • VRBO Vacation Rentals – we like finding a place with a kitchen so we can prepare our own food.
  • RV Share Rentals – enjoy the convenience of having an RV delivered to you at Capitol Reef!

Grand Canyon in April

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the best national parks to visit in the USA, no matter the season. However, April brings pleasant weather and favorable conditions for hiking and other adventure activities at the national park.

April is the time of the year when the weather is dry, and temperatures are perfect for sightseeing – not as hot as summer and not as cold as winter, just perfect.

You can easily go for the longer hikes on the South Rim during April whereas, the North Rim remains closed during April. The North Rim operates from May 15 through October 15.

Nevertheless, the South Rim is the real Grand Canyon, as they say, and has tons of things to see and do. Some of the best things to do at the Grand Canyon South Rim are: taking in the breathtaking views over the canyon from various viewpoints, hiking down the canyon to see it up close, biking the Hermit Road, and walking the South Rim Trail.

The Bright Angel Trail is our favorite hiking trail on the South Rim. It gives you a perfect introduction to the inner canyon. You can choose to do the entire hike or a part of it, depending upon the time on hand.

Also, you can’t miss the Desert View Drive – a 25-mile road journey dotted with beautiful overlooks that allow you to witness some of the best views of the Colorado River.

Please note that Grand Canyon is busy during April as it’s a perfect season, and everyone wants to visit the best natural wonders in the world at the right time. So, we recommend you book the accommodations and tours well in advance.

Tips by Anjali from Travel Melodies

Grand Canyon Lodging & Tours

Grand Teton in April

Out of all of the amazing National Parks to visit in April, one of the best parks to visit is Grand Teton National Park. April is a wonderful time to visit Grand Teton National Park because there will still be snow covering the mountains, and is a great time to visit a ski resort.

During April there are significantly fewer crowds in the park than in the summer months. It’s a great time to view wildlife, enjoy the outdoors and photograph Grand Teton in a more peaceful setting. 

Some parts of the park are still closed in April, but the main road between Jackson and Moran is still open so that you can easily drive and view the gorgeous snow-covered mountains. There are many fun things to do at and around Grand Teton National Park during April. Many people enjoy going on a snowshoe hike, going skiing and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and relaxing and exploring around the cozy town of Jackson Hole. 

Grand Teton National Park is a breathtaking National Park and is a great place to visit, especially in April when the crowds haven’t yet started filling up the park. Accommodation is cheaper, there is less traffic, and the mountains are an incredible sight when they are covered in snow! 

Here’s a fun list of Things to Do at Grand Teton National Park.

Tips by Jessica from Unearth the Voyage

Where to Stay in Jackson near Grand Teton:

There are a variety of lodging options in Grand Teton as well as Jackson. Here are the 3 favorite places we recommend:

Joshua Tree in April

Like much of California Joshua Tree National Park is amazing to visit in April. In spring the park fills up wildflowers. If you visit Joshua Tree NP, before the winter rains, much of the vegetation is dry but after a few months of rains, the desert comes alive in April. The winter cold is behind and the summer heat is yet to arrive. April is a sweet spot with wildflower blooms, crisp and warm weather. 

You can stay in Joshua Tree town right at the north east entrance or in Twentynine Palms at the north entrance. Alternatively, take Joshua Tree day-trips from Palm Springs area and use the Cottonwood entrance on the south. Also, there is ample camping and facilities to stay within the park. 

The three entrances, each with a visitor center, are connected by Park Boulevard on the north and Pinto Basin Road starting at the south entrance. The main built up attractions are along these roads. You can venture out into the dirt roads for more adventures on four wheel drives.

There is a lot to see in Joshua Tree national park. My top recommendations are – Cholla cactus garden at sunrise and Barker dam at sunset. The glorious lighting will leave you in awe. If can stay into the night, the Milky Way is a spectacular sight. If you have time only for a sampler hike, be sure to take the Hidden valley hike. To take cool rock pictures, you just need to stop at Skull Rock and Jumbo Rock.

Tips and photo by Jyoti from A Story at Every Corner

Joshua Tree Lodging & Tours

Valley Forge in April

One of the best national parks to visit in April is the Valley Forge National Historical Park outside of Philadelphia. The hills of Valley Forge is where the Continental Army spent the harsh winter of 1777. The encampment became the fourth largest city in the United States.

But the harsh winter saw thousands die. General George Washington used the encampment to better his troops. Procedures were put in place to transform the ragtag troops into a professional, fighting force who would eventually win independence for the American colonies.

Nearly 250 years later, the 3,500 acre Valley Forge park is an important destination for families teaching their children about American history. It is also an important area for recreation for the millions of people who live in the Tri-State Region. People come here to go hiking, running, cycling and even horseback riding.

April is the perfect time to visit Valley Forge. This is when the park emerges from winter and the wild flowers start to bloom. In April, the annual 5-mile run of the park’s Encampment Tour is a popular activity with locals and visitors. This is also the busiest time of year for school groups and the park hosts an annual Junior Ranger Day at the end of April.

Tips and photo by Lance and Laura from A Guide to Philly

Lodging Near Valley Forge

Yosemite National Park in April

Yosemite National Park is one of the best US National Parks to visit in April. With spring in full swing, there’s plenty to see and do now that the winter months have passed.  

One of the best things to do in Yosemite in April is to enjoy the park without the usual crowds and traffic. Spring is a peaceful time in the park and you’ll often find yourself alone at even the most popular attractions. Take your time and appreciate the serenity and natural beauty of the park during this time of year, few others get to see Yosemite this way. 

Those willing to get an early start to their day can enjoy a walk along the valley floor at sunrise. This is often the best time to spot wildlife in the park, especially deer who can often be found in the meadows in the early morning. If you’re lucky, you might spot a black bear as well. In April they have just come out of hibernation and are looking for food. 

April is also one of the best times to visit Yosemite if you love waterfalls. The spring snowmelt from the Sierras will be fueling the falls making them absolutely massive. Get up close if you can, it’s an experience you won’t forget. 

April is also an excellent time for hiking in Yosemite. Since the park has so few visitors this time of year, you’ll often have the trails to yourself. Try Mirror Lake Trail for an easy hike, or the Mist Trail for a strenuous one. 

Weather in Yosemite in April will be moderate with highs in the 60s. Expect occasional rain and even light snowfall. Dress in layers and you’ll be ready for anything.

Tips and photo by Eden from Rock a Little Travel

Yosemite National Park Lodging & Tours

Zion National Park in April

Zion National Park is one of the most visited national parks in America. There’s no better time to explore Zion National Park than in the spring. 

In April, daytime temperatures are comfortable, perfect for hiking. Better yet, visiting Zion in April helps you avoid the peak crowds that flock to the park in the summer.

The best spring hikes in Zion National Park are Observation Point and Angel’s Landing. Both trails are strenuous but reward you with epic views of Zion Canyon. 

Angel’s Landing navigates 1,000-foot drop-offs with chains bolted into the rock wall, the perfect hike for adventure-seekers. Observation Point stands another 1,000 feet above Angel’s Landing. As the name implies, the viewpoint is one of the best places in the park to observe the expansive Zion Canyon.

But Zion has more than just stunning hikes. Don’t miss the scenic drive along Zion-Mt. Carmel Scenic Highway and sunset at Canyon Junction Bridge.

READ MORE about visiting Zion National Park.

Tips and photo by Julia from Well Planned Journey

Where to Stay Near Zion

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay close to Zion:

  • Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
  • Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
  • Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
  • Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants. 
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!

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