Visiting US National Parks in March
Visiting US National Parks to visit in March is a great time of year to plan a trip.
If you’re looking for US National Park vacation ideas, in the month of March you’ll find pleasant temperatures to enjoy the outdoors, and it’s early enough you avoid the spring break crowds!
Spring is a terrific time to explore hiking trails, photograph spectacular vistas and experience wildlife-viewing opportunities at the National Parks in the US.
We collaborated with other travelers who share their experiences visiting various national parks in March.
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What to Pack for a Spring National Park Vacation
- Spring Packing Lists for National Parks
- Spring Landscape Photography Gear
- 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.
- Waterproof hiking boots or shoes
- Darn Tough Socks!
- Walking stick or trekking poles
- Wicking and quick-drying base layers
- Fleece or insulated jacket
- Rain jacket
- WATER – water bottles or hydration backpacks
- FOOD – healthy snacks
- Flashlight: or headlamp
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- Insect repellant
- Hand lotion
- Female urination device
- Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Bags to pack out trash
- Cell phone
- Portable charger
- Guide books
- DOWNLOAD our Camera Gear Checklist
Visiting US National Parks in March
We get a lot of questions asking about the best National Parks to visit by month and what to expect at various parks each month of the year.
Check out the list of US National Parks that are terrific to visit in the month of March.
Arches National Park in March
Visiting Arches National Park is something I would do any time during the year. For anyone visiting the US (US tourist visa info) and planning to include national parks, Arches should definitely be on your list.
The best part about going to Arches in March is that it’s right when winter is ending (almost) and the summer has still not kicked off. As someone who has been to Arches in summer a few times, I can tell you that it can get insanely hot during the day.
And as one of the most visited national parks in Utah, Arches can get super crowded. March is right before the busy season starts so you can enjoy a more intimate travel experience.
The otherworldly pinkish landscape of Arches comes with more than 2000 arches. Delicate Arch is everyone’s favorite being the most picturesque part of the whole place. Watching the sunrise or sunset at Delicate Arch is definitely something I would recommend.
But the best way to discover the park is exploring the Arches National Park hiking trails, especially the Devil’s Garden trail. Recommended by Deb – The Visa Project
Arches National Park Travel Tips
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Arches National Park 1, 2, and 3-Day Itinerary
- Arches Packing List
- Where to Stay Near Arches National Park
- Tours Near Moab, Utah
Big Bend National Park in March
With its location on the northern end of the Chihuahuan desert, visiting Big Bend National Park in March is one of the best times of the year. Temperatures in the evening and morning are usually mild, while midday can be warm and crept up to lower 90s.
Located in far west Texas, Big Bend National Park is often referred to as three parks in one due to the multiple ecosystems found within its boundaries. You can find rivers, mountains, and desert, and there are three major areas that you must visit in the park.
The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive will give you fantastic views of the Chihuahuan desert landscapes, where at the end of the road is the highlight of the trip: Santa Elena Canyon. You can hike or ride a kayak on the Rio Grande river to enjoy the fantastic beauty of this place.
Next stop is the forested Chisos Mountains. Daytime temperatures are usually about 20 degrees cooler than the river area. Walk the 0.3-mi Window View Trail to get a feel of the mountain scenery. If time permits, hike the Window Trail or Lost Mine Trail for a closer look of Big Bend’s mountain landscapes.
The last major area is Rio Grande Village. You must hike the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail where you can see a small village in Mexico from the top. At the end of day, relax in the only natural hot springs in the park found here.
March is also their busiest time of year because of Spring Break. So, plan your visit accordingly. If you plan a visit to Big Bend NP with your dog, it will limit your activities and explorations, but doesn’t mean it’s not doable. You and your dog will enjoy the park. Recommended by Umiko – Two Worlds Treasures
Where to Stay Near Big Bend:
- Vacation Rentals in Marathon, TX Near Big Bend
- Hotels in Lajitas, TX Near Big Bend
- Tours Near Big Bend
Bryce Canyon in March
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy an incredible park with fine sunny weather (although a little crisp – so bring layers) then head to Bryce Canyon National Park in March.
Sometimes overshadowed by Utah’s other amazing National Parks, the spectacular Hoodoos’ (also known as ‘earth pyramids’ or ‘fairy chimneys’) nestled in a small canyon should not be missed if you’re in the area.
Because the park is a little smaller, going in the summer can mean huge crowds, which is why Bryce Canyon in March is the perfect time to go. Be warned, it will be colder at this time of year. Snowstorms roll through the area during March making the trails slippery or even muddy after a snowfall. But you should get plenty of sun if you time it right! We recommend keeping an eye on the weather and layering up for all weather conditions.
Last but not least. Bryce Canyon is high in the sky at 9000 feet in elevation. If you’re coming from sea level, or you have reduced health and fitness, it’s wise to take it easy. Don’t plan long excursions, and stay hydrated. The higher elevation keeps the air cool too, so be on the lookout for icy patches on the trails where the sun doesn’t hit.
If you want to get a good feel of Bryce Canyon, start your hike counter-clockwise at Sunset Point. From there, take the Navajo Loop Trail to the Queens Garden Trail. It’s usually less packed than going clockwise and the views are incredible. It’s also wise to look up any seasonal trail closures in effect, as many of the popular trails can be closed due to weather safety concerns. Recommended by Ashley & Nick – Illness To Ultra
Bryce Canyon National Park Travel Tips
- Bryce Canyon Travel Guide
- Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon
- Things to Do at Bryce Canyon National Park
- Bryce Canyon Tours
Carlsbad Caverns National Park in March
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains ranges near the New Mexico Texas border. In addition to being a national park, Carlsbad Caverns is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular national parks in the country. The park is most famous for its enormous underground cave system and thousands of visitors come to see it every year.
The cave system is one of the largest and most complex in the world. These limestone caves were formed due to erosion from flowing water. Inside the caves, there are various geological formations like stalagmites, stalactites, popcorn ceilings, columns that extend from ceiling to roof, flow patterns, etc. The caves are stunningly beautiful and a spectacular natural wonder. Visitors can see the caves on a guided tour which takes about two hours.
Apart from the cave tours, there are many things to do in the National Park. The park has a desert environment and you will find many native trees including the yuccas, ocotillos, and cacti in the park. Many of these bloom in March and the landscape looks beautiful in the park. The weather in March is also great for hiking since the temperatures are not severe and there is enough cloud cover to provide shade. Other popular spring activities include camping and backpacking in the park. Recommended by Kay – PCH1 Roadtrip
Where to Stay Near Carlsbad Caverns
Death Valley National Park in March
There are many fantastic US national parks to visit in March and one of the best is most definitely Death Valley National Park. This California national park sits in the middle of the lowest elevation spot in the United States and is also one of the hottest places on the planet during the summer months. As a result, you are left no choice but to visit in winter or should season if you want to be able to embark on the journey.
Winter in Death Valley can be a bit chilly in the evenings but March is utterly perfect. The wildflowers begin to bloom and the skies are fantastic for stargazing and other activities, such as photography. This is also an epic time to visit Death Valley as the hiking opportunities are aplenty and it is not too hot, nor is it too cold to challenge yourself with them.
Death Valley’s most popular sights include Dante’s View, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Telescope Peak, Ubehebe Crater, and more… and they are all easy to visit during March in the American national park. It will also be a comfortable temperature for you to enjoy visiting the wild and breathtaking Mesquite Sand Dunes!
The average temperature at Death Valley National Park during March is around 28C/82C (high) and 13C/55F (low). There is typically only around one day of rain during March. Recommended by Megan & Aram
Death Valley Lodging & Tours
Grand Canyon National Park in March
Visiting the Grand Canyon in March is a great time to experience the Grand Canyon without the crowds. For most of the month, there are very few crowds at the Grand Canyon making it easy to move between viewpoints and book things last minute. Of course if spring break falls during March it is a lot busier during that time.
Another benefit of visiting the Grand Canyon in March is that the weather is comfortable during the day. During the day, the Canyon averages 55 degrees. At night it gets below freezing and there is always a chance of a late winter storm so be sure to pack layers.
One of the first things you should do when visiting the Grand Canyon is to stop at the visitors center. There you can find out if any trails are closed and the condition of the roads. There is a shuttle you can take if the roads are slippery that will take you between the different viewpoints. You can also walk from the visitors center to Mathers Point along the Rim Trail. Mathers Point is the most popular Grand Canyon Viewpoint.
You can walk along the Rim Trail all the way to Hermit’s Rest. It is quite a nice walk along a paved walkway but you can turn around at any point. I recommend going from the visitors center to Yavapai Point which is another fantastic view of the Grand Canyon. Recommended by Nicole – American SW Obsessed
Grand Canyon Lodging & Tours
Guadalupe Mountain National Park in March
Guadalupe Mountain National Park is a hidden gem in West Texas just over the New Mexico border. It’s a small park that sees few visitors thanks to its remote location. It’s also a park with tons of backpacking options and just a few day hikes so a lot of people just skip it. It’s not quite as impressive as some of the other western parks, but it’s still a wonderful visit. And don’t let the backpacking stop you from visiting. The day hiking opportunities are still great.
Make sure you stop at Frijoles Ranch and see the old buildings. The Smith Spring trail is here and makes for a nice 2.4-mile hike through the foothills of the mountains. The McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail is another nice short trail to learn about the plants of the area.
If you want a little longer, more challenging trail, the Devil’s Hall Trail is a must-do. Another longer day hike is to the Pratt Lodge via the McKittrick Canyon Trail. Whether you have a whole day or just a few hours, there are plenty of hikes to keep you busy in Guadalupe Mountains. Just make sure you get gas before you go! he weather in March here is perfect. It’s cool, but not too cool, but also not too hot either, think mid-60s. There may be some rain, but very little, so it’s perfect hiking weather. Recommended by Megan – Red Around the World
Where to Stay Near Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Joshua Tree National Park in March
March is one of the most popular months to visit Joshua Tree National Park. This is because the weather is absolutely perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities, with highs ranging from 70s-80s degrees Fahrenheit.
This is also when the wildflowers start to bloom in the park (provided that there was adequate rainfall in the winter), transforming the landscape. Wildflowers in shades of red, orange, yellow, pinks, and purples bloom across the park for just a few short weeks.
If you are lucky enough to catch the wildflowers blooming, one of the best places to see them is along the Cap Rock trail. Interpretive signs will point out each of the flower, shrub, and plant species to you.
The weather in March is ideal for hiking, and there are many trails that are suited for all ability levels. If you are looking for an easier hike, check out the Hidden Valley Nature Trail or the Barker Dam Trail. If you want a bit of a challenge, make the 1050 foot climb to the 5457 foot summit of Ryan Mountain, from where you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the entire park.
Other things to do in Joshua Tree in March include checking out the interesting rock formations, including Skull Rock and Arch Rock, walking through the Cholla Cactus Garden, and taking in the sunset from Keys View. Stargazing is also a popular activity in the park.
The only downside of visiting Joshua Tree in March is that the park tends to be crowded – getting an early start will help you avoid some of the crowds. Recommended by Caroline – Pictures and Words
Joshua Tree Lodging & Tours
- Hotels Near Joshua Tree National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Joshua Tree National Park
- Joshua Tree NP Tours
Pinnacles National Park in March
March is a fabulous time to visit Pinnacles National Park, which looks its best in the spring. Daytime temperatures in the central California park in March are in the mid-60s, making it perfect weather for hiking. Just dress in layers if you plan to start early in the day!
Hiking is the principal way to explore Pinnacles, because there is no road that runs through the park. In March, wildflower season is in full swing in the park, and you will see splashes of color all along the trails. Flowering shrubs are in bloom as well, making for a very pretty environment in which to hike.
Visit Pinnacles from either the east or the west entrance: hiking trails are available from both entrances. In the eastern side of the park, you can hike through Bear Gulch Cave, a talus cave that is home to a colony of bats, to Bear Gulch Reservoir, one of the best photo spots in the park. From the west entrance, you can easily hike to Balconies Cave, the second talus cave in Pinnacles National Park.
Hiking the higher elevation trails affords panoramic views of the countryside as well as up-close views of the pinnacles. You may also see California condors, with their giant wing spans, or other raptors and land birds as you hike.
Pinnacles National Park is a beautiful place to enjoy the serenity of the wilderness, and March the perfect time to explore it. Go visit, you won’t be disappointed! Recommended by Dhara – Roadtripping California
Where to Stay Near Pinnacles National Park
Shenandoah National Park in March
Shenandoah National Park is one of the few national parks located on the east coast and the Virginia national park is a fantastic one to visit in March.
Shenandoah is renowned for its fall tourism and gorgeous and colorful foliage, but it is not given enough credit for just how spectacular it is during spring. While the wildflowers may not bloom until closer to the end of March, it is worth a trip there when they do.
One fantastic thing about Shenandoah National Park during March is that the park’s life begins to return after the winter months and while spring can be somewhat predictable, the park is open and ready for spring tourism. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this Virginia national park is renowned for one of the nation’s most famous drives, Skyline Drive, as well as its many trails. A large part of the Appalachian Trail goes through Virginia and some of it through Shenandoah National Park.
Another fantastic thing about Shenandoah national park is that it is home to many of Virginia’s most famous caverns and waterfall hikes. In addition, the well-marked trail makes it a hiker’s paradise. Old Rag Mountain, Hawksbill Mountain, Whiteoak Canyon Trail, Stony Man, and Mary’s Rock are just a few of the most famous trails in the park.
While Shenandoah gets a lot of visitors in summer and autumn, don’t write it off during March! There is so much to offer during the spring and it definitely brings fewer tourists. Recommended by Megan & Aram – Virginia Travel Tips
Where to Stay Near Shenandoah National Park
White Sands National Park in March
New Mexico’s White Sands National Park is one of the best places to visit in the USA. Located in southeastern New Mexico, the park is home to the largest gypsum deposits in the world. On a visit to the park, you can see the beautiful pristine white sand dunes extend as far as you can see all around. This extraordinary landscape makes the national park one of the most underrated destinations in the country.
Most tourists skip the national park because of its remote location, making it perfect to visit during peak seasons and holidays. Within the national park, you will always encounter low crowds and can enjoy this wonder of nature in peace. Take a scenic drive along the main loop drive within the park. Most of the trailheads and overlooks are located along the drive. At one point on the drive, the paved road disappears completely and you are left driving on a sea of white sand. The whole experience is surreal and magical.
Another popular activity is sand boarding down the dunes. Visitors can rent sand boards at the Visitor Center, climb to the top of the dunes, and have fun sliding to the bottom. While the park is great to visit year round, it is particularly great to visit in March because of the perfect temperatures. The sand is cool enough to enjoy sand boarding without getting hot and sweaty. The weather is also perfect for hiking over the dunes and the white field sports pretty spring wildflowers, making the national park more scenic in March. Recommended by Ketki – Dotted Globe
Where to Stay Near White Sands National Park
Yellowstone National Park in March
Yellowstone National Park is located in Western America. While part of the park is in Idaho and Montana, the majority is located in Wyoming. There are many entrances to the park, however, in March the only way to drive your own vehicle is from the north entrance at Gardiner to the northeast entrance at Cooke City.
In March, expect the trip to be like a Yellowstone winter vacation. Don’t let this put you off as this is the perfect time to be on the lookout for bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, wolves and elk. he animals are at the lower levels to escape the cold. In Lamar Valley, Tower area and Mammoth Hot Springs you are sure to catch a glimpse.
The park has been a bucket list item due to the combination of wildlife and stunningly beautiful landscapes. There are plenty of trails for snowshoeing or skiing and in Gardener, you can rent out gear all year round.
If you want to visit the other areas of the park in March, you can snowshoe, ski, snowmobile or take a guided tour. It is pretty cold in March so you should dress for winter. The cold temperatures put many visitors off, but if you are brave enough to venture out then take advantage of the solitude.
Visiting Yellowstone with kids is a terrific family vacation destination during any season! Recommended by Karen – Travel Mad Mum
Yellowstone National Park Travel Tips
- Yellowstone Vacation Planner + 4 Day Itinerary
- How to Plan the Perfect Yellowstone Vacation
- Grand Teton National Park Guide
- Yellowstone Tours
Yosemite National Park in March
When you are looking for the best US National Park to visit in March, it’s quite obvious that a question will arise in your mind ‘Is it open in winter?’ Well, there are many US National Parks which are open in winter and Yosemite is one of the best National Parks in The USA most of which remain open all year round. From the gorgeous rock formation covered with snow, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque meadows,
Yosemite National Park offers endless natural beauty in March. Another reason for visiting Yosemite in March is the less crowd and less budget. This is the time when you see the least crowd and find some great hotel and flight deals that will definitely help you to visit Yosemite on a budget. The temperature varies from 10°C to -2°C in March depending upon your level of elevation.
You may have already visited Tunel View but in winter it is dramatically different. Taking a selfie with majestic Half Dome and El Capitan in the background is a must-do thing in Yosemite. This is the most beautiful viewpoint in Yosemite NP.
If you are looking for something adventurous, a winter hike in Yosemite will be perfect for you. There are many short hikes in Yosemite which are accessible all year round and this list includes Bridalveil Falls, Lower Yosemite Falls, and Mirror Lake trail. Make sure to bring a proper dress and shoes for winter hiking. Bridalveil Fall is very easy and offers a mesmerizing scenic view.
There are various winter outdoor activities like snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and skiing. If you are a beginner, visit the ice skating rink at Curry Village and enjoy skating with your kids.
Tip: Please carry tire chains while visiting Yosemite in March. It may be required depending on road conditions. Recommended by Trijit – Budget Travel Buff
Yosemite National Park Travel Tips
- Hotels Near Yosemite National Park
- Vacation Rentals Near Yosemite National Park
- Tours Near Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park in March
The biggest benefit of visiting Zion National Park in March is the lack of crowds compared to the busy season. The shuttle bus starts running again in March. Since this is your only way to travel through Zion Canyon, you don’t have to worry about driving your own car and/or finding a place to park. Parking for the shuttle bus is available at the Visitor Center, and outside the park in the town of Springdale.
The weather can be unpredictable in March at Zion. One day might be nice and warm, then the next day it could rain or snow and the temperatures drop. Also, if there is a lot of snow and ice, some trails at higher elevations may be closed.
Hiking at Zion in March is the best. The temperatures are usually just right so you can explore all day long. Here’s an awesome list of easy, moderate and strenuous Zion hikes and Zion hikes without the shuttle.
Don’t forget to explore the Zion National Park scenic drives. Drive Highway 9 through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel toward the east entrance. There are numerous pullouts where you can park and just start exploring the area. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep along this road.
Another less visited area is the Kolob Terrace Road near to the west of the park near the town of Virgin. You’ll see a different side of Zion that’s just as spectacular as the more popular areas.
Zion National Park Travel Tips