The national parks are a treasure—beautiful, wild, and full of wonders to see. But there’s more to experience than taking in gorgeous scenery from your vehicle or lookout points. National parks are natural playgrounds, full of possible adventures.
The most famous offerings of the National Park Service (NPS) are the 63 national parks including Arches, Great Smoky Mountains, and Grand Canyon. But there are 424 NPS units across the country that also includes national monuments, national seashores, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national memorials. These sites are outside the main focus of this guide.
The list of national parks to visit in June is wonderfully diverse. Visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, go hiking in Lassen Volcanic, spend some time in the tranquil forests in Sequoia and King Canyons National Parks, and explore one of the most underrated national parks, Theodore Roosevelt.
In this guide, I cover six great parks to visit plus four bonus parks.
About this National Park series
This article is part of a series about the best national parks to visit each month. In this series, every national park is listed at least once and many are listed multiple times. It is a series of 12 articles, one for each month of the year.
These articles take into account weather, crowd levels, the best time to go hiking, special events, road closures, and my personal experiences in the parks. Based on these factors, I picked out what I think are the optimal times to visit each park. Since I haven’t been to all of the national parks I include only the parks we have visited on at lease one occasion.
For an overview of the best time to visit each national park, check out my Best National Parks by Season guide. This guide will cover the best time to visit each national park based on these factors. First are the links to my posts about the best parks to visit, month-by-month. This is followed by a list that illustrates the best time to visit each national park based on weather and crowd levels. Please note this overview will be posted following the completion of this 12 month guide in February 2024.
And at the end of this article, I have links to the other guides in my Best National Parks by Month series.
Visiting the National Parks in June
From the end of May into June, numerous parks fully open their roads. In June, the weather is warm and the days are the longest of the year giving you plenty of time to explore the parks.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The information I provide for each national park does not include temporary road closures, since these dates are constantly changing. Roads can close in the national parks at any time, so I recommend getting updates on the NPS website while planning your trip.
Best National Parks in June
1 & 2. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks sit side by side in central California. Filled with alpine peaks, deep canyons, and the largest trees in the world, you should spend several days here.
Kings Canyon preserves a glacially carved valley (named Kings Canyon) and Grant Grove which is home to General Grant, the second largest tree in the world.
Sitting right beside Kings Canyon is Sequoia National Park. It is here that you will walk among towering sequoia trees and see the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman.
Why Visit Kings Canyon & Sequoia in June: The weather is pretty much perfect and crowd levels aren’t yet at their peak levels (that usually occurs in July and August).
Weather: The average high is 71°F and the average low is 46°F. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is 5:30 am and sunset is 8:15 pm.
Top experiences: Visit Grant Grove and drive Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, visit Zumwalt Meadows, see the General Sherman Tree, hike Moro Rock, and visit Crescent Meadows.
Ultimate experience: Explore the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park. 77 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail/John Muir Trail runs through Kings Canyon National Park making this a top backpacking destination in the U.S.
How Many Days Do You Need? Spend a minimum of one day in each park.
Plan your visit
- The Ultimate Guide to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
- Explore Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
- The Big Trees: Sequoia National Park
3. Grand Canyon National Park
Awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, extraordinary…these are all words that describe the Grand Canyon. But in all honesty, words, and even photos, cannot quite capture what it is like to stand on the rim and gaze out across the canyon.
This massive national park has several sections to it. Most visitors spend their time on the South Rim where roads and hiking trails lead to stunning viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. This is also the place to hike the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails.
In mid-May, the road to the North Rim opens. If you visit the Grand Canyon in June, you have the option to add on the North Rim and it’s worth it. Be aware that the travel distance between the North Rim and the South Rim is 210 miles.
Why visit the Grand Canyon in June: To visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which opens in mid-May. Now that the North Rim is open it’s also possible to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim but just be aware that temperatures in the canyon will be very hot. A better time to do this hike is September into October when the temperatures are cooler and the North Rim is still open.
Weather: On the South Rim, the average high is 82°F and the average low is 63°F. The high temperature can climb up to 100°F on unusually hot days. Below the rim, temperatures are much hotter. Down by the Colorado River, the temperature can easily be over 110°F.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 5 am and sunset is at 7:40 pm.
Top experiences: Visit the South Rim viewpoints, enjoy the view of the Grand Canyon at sunrise and/or sunset, hike below the rim on the Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, and take a flightseeing tour by airplane or helicopter.
Ultimate adventure: Hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim. This is a massive day hike and should only be attempted by those with excellent fitness and lots of hiking experience.
How much time do you need? I recommend spending two to three days on the South Rim to visit the highlights. Three days gives you enough time to visit the best overlooks on the South Rim, go on a helicopter ride, and spend some time hiking below the rim.
Plan your visit
- The Ultimate Guide to Grand Canyon National Park
- Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon National Park Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary Today
- Making a Grand Trip Grander
- The Grand Canyon Is Hosting a Star Party This Week—and It’s Totally Free
4. Lassen Volcanic National Park
This national park protects Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world. In some ways, it’s like a combination of Yellowstone + Mount Rainer just on a smaller scale. At Lassen Volcanic, you’ll see steaming fumaroles, pretty lakes, colorful landscapes, and Lassen Peak.
Cool fact: Lassen Volcanic National Park one of the few places in the world where you can see all four types of volcanoes: shield, stratovolcano, cinder cone, and plug.
Why visit Lassen Volcanic in June: In May and June, the snow is melting in the park and many of the roads are cleared of snow. By June, many of the roads and trails around Manzanita Lake are open. However, some roads and trails at the higher elevation (for example, Lassen Peak), may not open until July. If you want full access to the park, delay your visit for the second half of July into August. However, crowds are also at their peak in July so if you want good weather and fewer crowds, June is a nice time to visit Lassen Volcanic.
Weather: In June, the average high is 71°F and the average low is 36°F. Rainfall is low.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 5:30 am and sunset is at 8:40 pm.
Top experiences: Walk Bumpass Hell Trail (isn’t that the best name for a hiking trail?), capture the reflection of Lassen Peak in Manzanita Lake, go for a scenic drive on Lassen Park Highway, visit Kings Creek Falls and Mill Creek Falls, visit Devils Kitchen, and hike to the top of Lassen Peak.
Ultimate adventure: Hike to the summit of Brokeoff Mountain for panoramic views of the park. Note, this hike is best attempted in late summer to early fall when the trail is free of snow.
How many days do you need? One day is just enough time to drive through the park and see the highlights but plan on spending two to three days here to hike several more trails and thoroughly explore the park.
Plan your visit
- The Ultimate Guide to Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Geothermal Weirdness, Volcanic Landscapes, and Stunning Beauty
- See Steaming Volcanoes at This Eerie National Park
- Celebrate Volcano Week!
5. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Location: North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a picturesque wilderness of grasslands and badlands. Bison, feral horses, pronghorns, and elk roam the landscapes, hiking trails meander through the colorful bentonite hills, and scenic roads take visitors to numerous stunning overlooks.
This national park is made up of three separate units: the South Unit, the North Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. Of the three, the South Unit is the more popular. In the North Unit, the views of the badlands are beautiful, there are several short, fun trails to hike, and there is a very good chance you will spot bison and other wildlife right from your car.
Why visit Theodore Roosevelt in June: Unless you are here during a heat wave, the weather is warm and fantastic. June is the beginning of the busy summer season but crowds are lower in June than the rest of the summer and the weather is cooler.
Weather: The average high is 64°F and the average low is 53°F. On hotter than average days the temperature can get up into the 80s. This is one of the wettest months of the year however rainfall is still relatively low with about 3 inches of rain falling in June.
Sunrise & sunset (South Unit): Sunrise is at 5 am and sunset is at 8:50 pm. The South Unit is in the Mountain Time Zone and the North Unit is in the Central Time Zone.
Top experiences: Hike the Caprock Coulee Trail, enjoy the view from Sperati Point and the Wind Canyon Trail, drive the Scenic Drive in both units, visit the Petrified Forest, hike the Ekblom and Big Plateau Loop, and visit River Bend Overlook.
How many days do you need? If you want to explore both the North and South Units, you will need at least two days in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (one day for each unit).
Plan your visit
- The Ultimate Guide to Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park: A Plains-state Paradise
- Badlands Meet History in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
6. New River Gorge National Park
Location: West Virginia
For millions of years, the New River has been carving out a 73,000 acre gorge in West Virginia. The sandstone cliffs and whitewater rapids create world-class rock climbing and whitewater rafting destinations. Hiking and mountain biking trails wind through the forests leading to overlooks and historic settlements.
This is a newcomer to the US national parks list. New River Gorge officially became a national park in 2020 but it has long been a whitewater rafting destination in the United States.
Why visit New River Gorge in June: With warm weather this is a great time to go hiking and biking in New River Gorge National Park. The water temperature is also warming up so this also becomes a good time to go whitewater rafting.
Weather: The average high is 78°F and the average low is 60°F. June is one of the wettest months of the year.
Sunrise & sunset: Sunrise is at 6:00 am and sunset is at 8:50 pm.
Top experiences: Do the Bridge Walk, hike the Long Point Trail, drive Fayette Station Road, go mountain biking and rock climbing, enjoy the view from Grandview Overlook, hike the Castle Rock Trail, and visit Sandstone Falls.
Ultimate adventure: Go white water rafting on the New River (rafting season is April through October).
How many days do you need? If you want to visit the three main areas of New River Gorge National Park (Canyon Rim, Grandview, and Sandstone) and have enough time to go whitewater rafting, you will need three to four days. However, with less time, you can visit the highlights and hike a few of the trails.
Plan your visit
- The Ultimate Guide to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
- The Wild, Wonderful Waters of New River Gorge! Round Out Your Trip with a Visit to Babcock State Park & Glade Creek Grist Mill!
- New River Gorge: America’s Newest National Park
- New River Gorge National River: A River Runs Through It
Bonus! 4 NPS sites to visit in June
National park-like amenities tell the story of America’s most infamous active volcano. Gorgeous wildflower-packed views of the volcano can be enjoyed in spots like Bear Meadows while those seeking a closer view of the crater rim may drive to the Windy Ridge viewpoint or even summit the rim of the 8,365-foot volcano with a permit.
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking this is Bryce Canyon National Park. It looks almost identical to its more famous national park cousin which is located about an hour to the east. Yet with less than a quarter of the annual visitation of Bryce, this small but mighty national monument makes a worthy alternative for those seeking color-packed canyon views stretching across three miles at an elevation of around 10,000 feet.
Colonial National Historical Park
Want to go way back in American history? Then you’ll head to some of the first colonies in the New World. The Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia covers Historic Jamestowne (the first permanent English settlement in North America) and Yorktown Battlefield (site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War).
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
The Vanderbilt Mansion is a symbol of a country in the grip of change after the Civil War. Visitors to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site will learn about the architecture and landscaping of the grounds as well as the influence of the Vanderbilt family.
More information about the National Parks
- From Arches to Zion: The Essential Guide to America’s National Parks
- America the Beautiful: The National Parks
- Learn How America’s National Parks Got Their Names
- 10 of the Best Scenic Drives in National Parks
- 9 of Best National Parks for RV Campers
- Guide to Adventure Activities in National Parks
- National Parks Inspire Love of Nature
- 12 Dog Friendly National Parks
Best National Parks to visit by month
January: Best National Parks to Visit in January (to be posted mid-December)
February: Best National Parks to Visit in February (to be posted mid-January)
March: Best National Parks to Visit in March (to be posted mid-February)
April: Best National Parks to Visit in April
May: Best National Parks to Visit in May
June: Best National Parks to Visit in June
July: Best National Parks to Visit in July
August: Best National Parks to Visit in August
September: Best National Parks to Visit in September (to be posted mid-August)
October: Best National Parks to Visit in October (to be posted mid-September)
November: Best National Parks to Visit in November (to be posted mid-October)
December: Best National Parks to Visit in December (to be posted mid-November)
However one reaches the parks, the main thing is to slow down and absorb the natural wonders at leisure.