The Best US National Parks to Visit in June

The 10 Best US National Parks to Visit in June

With kids out on summer vacation, it’s no secret that summer is the most popular time for families to get out on the road for a trip to one of the US’s best national parks. In our opinion, there’s really no bad time to visit our country’s national parks, even if it does mean braving some seriously massive summer crowds. 

That being said, taking a summer trip to a national park doesn’t mean you have to contend with hordes of people. Take a trip in early June and you’ll likely get mild weather and far fewer crowds compared to later in the month. Or skip over the US’s most famous national parks, like Yellowstone and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and instead take a trip to a less well-trodden national park, like wild and remote Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.

Whether you’ve always dreamed of seeing grizzlies emerge from their winter hibernation in Alaska‘s Katmai National Park or walking through groves of towering redwoods in California‘s Sequoia National Park, we’ve got you covered with the 10 best national parks to visit in June – plus some tips on avoiding the summer crowds!

The 10 Best National Parks to Visit in June

1. Sequoia National Park, CA

Best National Parks to Visit in June: Sequioa National Park

Sequoia National Park is easily one of the coolest national parks to visit in June if you’re looking to take advantage of the prime Central California weather. While June is the start of peak season in Sequoia National Park, you’ll miss the huge crowds that descend upon the park in July and August. Plus, you’ll have sunny days in the 70s and crisp evenings in the 50s. 

The weather is just right for taking advantage of the many things to do in Sequoia National Park, from marveling at the sky-high sequoias in the Giant Forest and taking photos with the 275-foot General Sherman to hiking to the top of Moro Rock and seeing the wildflowers in Crescent Meadow! For more outdoor adventure, be sure to explore the adjacent King’s Canyon National Park, too.

2. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

National Parks You Must Visit in June: Rocky Mountain National Park

Visit Rocky Mountain National Park in June and you’ll be blessed with clear, mild weather (for the most part!) that’s ideal for hiking the park’s endless trails, fishing in gorgeous lakes and rivers, going rock climbing or horseback riding, and taking a scenic drive along the famous Trail Ridge Road. 

At this time of year, the snow has mostly melted, which means colorful fields of alpine wildflowers are beginning to pop up, making for some seriously gorgeous photo ops. Wildlife is back out and about at this time of year, too, so don’t be surprised if you come across a few elk, moose, bears, and deer! 

Sure, June is the start of the high season in Rocky Mountain National Park, but there are plenty of ways to get off the beaten path if you prefer to avoid the crowds.

3. Grand Teton National Park, WY

Must Visit National Parks in June: Grand Teton National Park

Visiting Grand Teton National Park in June comes with its pros and cons. Yes, this is one of the most popular times to visit the park, but the crowds aren’t nearly as bad as they are in July and August. 

But if you’re willing to cope with the crowds, you’ll be rewarded with mostly good weather (with the odd rain shower), beautiful snowcapped peaks, groves of wildflowers, and all sorts of outdoor adventure. June is the start of the peak rafting season along Snake River. Plus, from moose to bears, the wildlife is active at this time of year, too.

4. Isle Royale National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in June: Isle Royale National Park

If you’re looking for the best national parks to visit in summer to avoid the crowds, make plans to get off the beaten path at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. Located in Lake Superior, this place is only accessible by boat or seaplane, making this one of the least visited US national parks!

The park is open from April through October, but visit during June, and you’ll avoid the “peak” July and August tourist season while enjoying more mild, but still unpredictable, weather compared to early spring. Plus, at this time of year, you’ll feel like you have the park’s hiking trails, waterways, and more all to yourself!

5. Olympic National Park

National Park You Must Visit in June: Olympic National Park

June is a wonderful time to visit Olympic National Park in Washington. The wildlife (including black bears) is active, the waterfalls are still going strong, Hoh Rain Forest is lush and green, the mountains are still snowcapped, and, if you’re lucky, the alpine wildflowers are starting to paint the landscape in swaths of color. Of course, rain is always a real possibility, so pack accordingly!

6. Denali National Park and Preserve

Must Visit National Parks in June: Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the best national parks to visit in June if you really want to get out in nature. In June, the park accommodations are finally opening back up for the summer season and tours are back up and running too. 

The landscape is rapidly transforming from brown to green. The wildlife is also waking up from its winter slumber, and you’re likely to spot everything from migratory birds to young wolves, bears, and moose. Wildflowers also start to pop up at this time of year, adding to the magic!

Plus, at this time of year, the days are long (expect up to 20 hours of daylight), so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy everything Denali has to offer.

7. Crater Lake National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in June: Crater Lake National Park

If you’re trying to avoid the summer crowds, make plans to visit Crater Lake National Park in June! While most of the summer activities will not be available to you due to snow, you will be able to witness this natural blue beauty rimmed with fresh powder.

The snow lasts in Crater Lake National Park until July, so if you’re planning a June visit, be sure to bring your ski shoes or skis to explore the few trails that are open at this time of year and take in the surreal lake views.

It is important to note that the North Entrance and Rim Drive will most likely still be closed due to snow at this time of year. But you can drive to Rim Village, which overlooks the lake, and the South and West entrances are open year-round.

8. Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim

National Parks You Must Visit in June: Grand Canyon National Park

Skip the uber-popular South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park and instead make the journey to explore the less-visited North Rim in June. The North Rim typically opens on May 15 each year. The opening has been delayed due to weather in years past, but by June the North Rim should be prime for exploring.

Because the North Rim is more difficult to access and has fewer services and accommodation options, it sees far fewer visitors than the well-serviced South Rim. But this is great if you’d prefer a more quiet Grand Canyon experience. 

Visit the North Rim in June and you can see the sunrise from Bright Angel Point, take the Cape Royal Scenic Drive, marvel at the views from sky-high Point Imperial, chase waterfalls, and enjoy unreal sunsets at Cape Royal, to name a few activities.

9. Katmai National Park

Must Visit National Parks in June: Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park is another one of the best national parks to visit in early summer for a unique and remote experience. This Alaskan gem is famous for its brown bear population (there are estimated to be around 2,000 in the park), which emerge from their dens in late spring in search of food. 

The salmon run should be in full swing in places like Brooks Falls by the end of June or mid-July. But visit earlier in June and you may still spot a few grizzlies fishing for salmon in Brooks Falls. Better yet, head to the coastal areas and you’ll likely encounter at least a few of these creatures clamming and socializing at the park’s beaches.

Visit Katmai National Park in June and your best bet is to take one of the many tours that will whisk you away to remote areas of the park to witness these creatures in the wild!

10. Mesa Verde National Park

Best National Parks to Visit in June: Mesa Verde National Park

If you’ve always wanted to visit Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, chances are you want to sign up for a tour of the ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings to get the most out of your visit. It’s important to know that tours are only offered from May through October, making Mesa Verde National Park one of the best national parks to visit in June. 

Because the high season runs from June 15 to August 15, we suggest visiting sometime during the first two weeks of the month to enjoy the mild, dry weather and to also avoid the massive summer crowds. 

Another way to steer clear of the crowds is to make the short journey over to Wetherill Mesa, which is home to some of the park’s most incredible cliff dwellings that are way less visited than more famous sites like Cliff Palace. 

There you have it! The 10 best national parks to visit in June. Which national park is your favorite for an early summer trip? Let us know in the comments!



  • Justine Lopez

    Justine is a writer and editor who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust!

    In 2013, she left her hometown in California and set off on a yearlong round-the-world journey with her now-husband – they never looked back. Since then, she’s lived the expat life in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, and now Dubai. Along the way, she's written and edited for magazines, newspapers, and websites in Asia and beyond.

    When she's not stoking her wanderlust by working on travel articles for Wandering Wheatleys, Justine is busy caring for her many foster cats in Dubai, seeking out all the delicious vegetarian food, and taking every chance she gets to explore a new corner of the world!

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