The 10 Oldest National Parks in the Entire World
The United States has a saying that national parks are “America’s best idea,” but this country isn’t the only one with stunning natural areas adorned with this important title. National parks across the world serve many purposes, with preservation as one of its primary focuses. These parks preserve endangered habitats and wildlife and are a significant resource within communities to offer recreation and education. Discover the ten oldest national parks in the entire world and learn what landscapes they preserve and the activities they provide.
1. Bogd Khan Uul National Park – Mongolia – 1783
While many claim Yellowstone in the United States as the first national park, the Qing Dynasty in Mongolia established Bogd Khan Uul as a protected reserve in 1783. It remains a national park and Unesco biosphere reserve to this day. Bogd Khan Uul is a mountainous area in the forest-steppe zone that overlooks Ulaanbaatar. This park covers 260 square miles and is a popular hiking spot.
2. Yellowstone National Park – United States – 1872
Located in the Western United States in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in America. The 42nd U.S. Congress established this area as a national park in 1872, and many claim it as the first national park in the world. However, there is some debate regarding this issue. Along with its many geothermal features, like Old Faithful, Yellowstone preserves abundant wildlife and subalpine forests, along with many other biomes.
3. Royal National Park – Australia – 1879
The Royal National Park is in New South Wales, Australia, in the southern portion of Sydney. Sir John Robertson, a former premier of New South Wales, established this 58-square-mile national park in 1879, the first on the continent. The Royal National Park includes Aboriginal settlements, deep river valleys, coastal cliffs, and beaches. Visitors can enjoy biking and hiking trails, BBQ areas, picnic sites, and stunning coastal scenery.
4. Banff National Park – Canada – 1885
Canada’s oldest national park is Banff National Park in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Established in 1885, Banff National Park encompasses 2,564 square miles of mountains, glaciers, ice fields, coniferous forests, and alpine scenery. The park protects many animals, such as bighorn sheep, cougars, wolverines, moose, and grizzly bears. It is one of the most visited national parks in North America and offers unlimited outdoor recreation for the adventurous spirit.
5. Yoho National Park – Canada – 1886
Established in 1886, Yoho National Park is the second-oldest national park in Canada. It is situated in the Rocky Mountains in Southeastern British Columbia and bordered by the Kootenay National Park. This park protects some of the highest mountain peaks in the Canadian Rockies, as well as massive ice fields and many animals, like wolves, coyotes, elk, and mountain goats.
6. Tongariro National Park – New Zealand – 1887
Located in the Central North Island, Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park. Because the park is a mix of natural and cultural values, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tongariro National Park protects active volcanic mountains, Maori religious sites, and many towns and villages. This park is also home to one of the best hiking spots in the world – Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
7. Sequoia National Park – United States – 1890
The Sequoia National Park is in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Established in 1890, this park protects 631 square miles of forested mountains, including the highest location in the country at 14,5005 feet on Mount Whitney. One of the park’s most notable features is its towering sequoia trees and the largest tree in the world by volume – the General Sherman tree.
8. Yosemite National Park – United States – 1890
Another national park in California, Yosemite covers nearly 760,000 acres in four counties in the east-central region of the state. This national park and world heritage site is famed for its giant cliffs, waterfalls, enormous sequoia groves, mountains, lakes, glaciers, meadows, and more. It has immense biological diversity, and around 95% of the park is wilderness. Yosemite is open year-round and provides nature walks, photography, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and camping.
9. Waterton Lakes National Park – Canada – 1895
The Waterton Lakes National Park is in Southwestern Alberta, Canada. This national park was formed in 1895 and ranges between the Rocky Mountains and vast prairies. It covers 195 square miles of high, rugged peaks and deep wilderness. Waterton Lakes National Park is a popular hiking destination, and it protects many animals, like bears, wolves, and bison.
10. Mount Rainier National Park – United States – 1899
This American national park is in Washington state in Pierce and Lewis Counties. Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park is the fourth-oldest in the United States. It encompasses 369 square miles and includes all of Mount Rainier, an enormous stratovolcano. It also protects the Cascade Range, valleys, subalpine meadows, old-growth forests, and waterfalls.
A Recap of the 10 Oldest National Parks in the Entire World
|Rank||Oldest National Parks in the Entire World||Location||Date Established|
|#1||Bogd Khan Uul National Park||Mongolia||1783|
|#2||Yellowstone National Park||United States||1872|
|#3||Royal National Park||Australia||1879|
|#4||Banff National Park||Canada||1885|
|#5||Yoho National Park||Canada||1886|
|#6||Tongariro National Park||New Zealand||1887|
|#7||Sequoia National Park||United States||1890|
|#8||Yosemite National Park||United States||1890|
|#9||Waterton Lakes National Park||Canada||1895|
|#10||Mount Rainier National Park||United States||1899|