Ultimate National Parks Road Trip

If you’ve ever thought of visiting all 59 of our national parks and protected areas, Dr. Randal Olson, a Senior Data Scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, has a plan for checking off the 47 of them found in the contiguous U.S.

Created in honor of the 100th birthday of the NPS, Olson’s Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip is a route designed in a circuit, allowing you to start anywhere on the journey and travel the route through all of the parks, eventually arriving back home.

Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip map
Randal Olson’s Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip maps a route to all 47 national parks in the contiguous United States.

“If you’ve followed my blog for the past year or so,” Olson wrote introducing the project, “you’ll know that I’ve made a hobby of optimizing various road trips around the U.S., so I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity to optimize yet another road trip.”

It’s no small commitment of time to make this once-in-a-lifetime trip. “In total, this road trip spans 14,498 miles (23,333 km) of road, and will take roughly 2 months if you’re traveling at a breakneck pace,” said Olson.

Olson has created an interactive map of the entire route, and also five Google maps of each segment of the trip, available on his website.

Wes is the editor of Outdoor Photographer.
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