Solo travel, especially solo hiking, is incredibly rewarding. Many of the United States’ national parks, as well as national parks in other countries, are excellent places to travel alone. When compared to other hiking destinations, national parks have incredibly well-maintained trails that are clearly marked. Mapped trails make it easier to plan water sources and campsites. The popularity of many national parks means that you’ll rarely be alone on the trail for long, unless you venture into the backcountry.
If you are solo hiking a national park, make sure you stay within your physical limits and prepare for any and all possible situations. National parks include trails for all levels of hikers at any distance imaginable, from an easy afternoon trip of a few miles to months-long journeys of hundreds of rugged miles.
Park rangers and other staff are trained to respond to emergencies efficiently. As a solo traveler, you may want to choose a park with a hospital nearby as well. Because you’ll be alone, opt for a park with a lower risk of wildlife mishaps.
8 National Parks for Solo Travel
These national parks offer solo visitors a variety of trails, beautiful views and fun must-dos not far from the road.
- Acadia National Park: For trails that are challenging enough to be exciting yet moderate enough you’ll see plenty of other visitors, choose Acadia.
- Arches National Park: Though short, the hikes throughout Arches are stunning.
- Badlands National Park: Short trails just off the road (the longest in the park is just 10 miles) make for good solo hikes.
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Ohio’s only national park offers solo travelers waterfalls, bike paths and lots of options for an overnight stay.
- Glacier National Park: You’re in bear country in Glacier, but day hikes on popular trails and proper bear conduct will help you enjoy this park alone.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park: Minimal light pollution make the starry sky one of the best parts of a solo trip to Great Sand Dunes.
- Great Smokey Mountains National Park: Located along the Appalachian Trail, many of the trails in the Smokies are well-traveled and offer beautiful mountain views.
- Hot Springs National Park: For a well-populated national park suited to solo travel, try Hot Springs, an urban collection of hot springs and bathhouses, along with trails and campsites.