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Trending USA National Park Color Palettes

Discover the beautiful color palettes of 2024’s most popular National Parks in the USA

Celebrating the Colors of the USA’s Favorite National Parks

To celebrate the beauty of this year’s top trending national parks in America, we’ve created original color palettes that showcase each park’s unique landscape and personality.

Color massively inspires travelers to explore America from coast to coast, in order to experience and compare the awesome diversity in its national park’s landscapes. Whether it’s the white sands of the dunefields in Tularosa Basin, the earthy barks of Redwoods or the vivid green moss of Arkansas’ Hot Springs, the unique colours seen in the USA’s national parks explain the history, geology and ecology of these fantastic natural habitats.
Our love of walking and trekking adventures means that naturally, we are massive fans of the USA’s national parks, and in our latest project we’ve explored how colors help personify each of these incredible places.

Our researchers first used global search data to find out which national parks in the USA are currently trending, and for the parks that have seen the biggest hikes in visitor interest, we have created a gallery of palette graphics, that pull out the unique colors of each park’s landscape.

Our USA National Park Palettes


 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Our research shows that the Great Smoky Mountains are going to be a big hit in 2024, with a 97% jump in worldwide Google searches for tours in the park in the last year, compared to the year before.

Visitors claim that you need at least five days of hiking time to truly explore the Great Smoky Mountains. Spanning North Carolina and Tennessee, the name of this enormous mountain range derives from the ever-present ‘smoky’ looking fog that sits among the trees.

This fog is caused by the incredibly high numbers (millions) of flora and fauna found here whose chemical make-up means they release vapors at room temperature. Our color palette for the Great Smoky Mountains contains moody greys and pastel blues that reflect the contrast of the drifting fogs and the pale sky, whilst the area’s incredible forest types (including spruce-fir, pine-oak and hemlock) are represented with khaki and light green, and bright yellows and creamy browns depict the seasonal foliage changes.

Mount Rainier National Park


One of the most exciting landscapes in the USA is Washington’s Mount Rainier, an active volcano surrounded by icy glaciers.

The park also has beautiful wildflower meadows and trails, where walkers can enjoy the sights of violet lupins, mountain daisies, delicate avalanche lilies and pasqueflower .

The park is filled with drama, which our palette reflects – theatrical oranges to highlight the epic sunsets that surround the volcano, pastel pinks and off-whites to celebrate the wildflowers, and cold blues and greys to depict the formidable glacier ice.  

Interest in visiting Mount Rainier has soared over the last year, with 95% more searches being seen year-on-year for tours of this fascinating park. 


 

Voyageurs National Park


Filled with forests and lakes, Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park is the third trending USA National Park for 2024, with 89% more people interested in touring it this year compared to last year.

Voyageurs is a certified Dark Sky Park and is very popular with stargazers, not just because of its low levels of light pollution, but also because it’s one of the best places in America to see the aurora borealis.

With the opportunity to see this incredible celestial phenomenon happening all year round at Voyageurs National Park, we’ve included the beautiful colors of the ‘Northern Lights’ in its palette – from the inky blue and deep purples of the night sky through to the lime green and yellows that can be seen when the oxygen in the air is hit by solar wind electrons. 



 

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde is hugely popular, clocking in more Google searches for park tours than many other national parks. Even with such high search volumes, it’s still seen a whopping 64% increase in visitor interest over the last 12 months. 

Featured in our Western USA National Parks Explorer tour, Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world. Our tour includes viewings of the Native American exhibits at the park’s Visitors Centre, before a guided tour of the site and a visit to the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum.

With panoramic canyon views, rock carvings and protections in place for the rich heritage of over 25 Pueblos and Tribes, the ancient history on display in this park gives visitors an incredible lesson on the country’s past.

Our color palette for Mesa Verde includes a selection of earthy brown, grey and cream tones to reflect the sandstone formations found here, as well as rich and wholesome greens found in the park’s Utah juniper and pines. 

Redwood National Park

There have been 58% more Google searches for Redwood National Park tours in the last 12 months, compared to the previous 12-months, showing that explorers have a real appetite to explore this famous California park in 2024. 

Whilst Redwood National Park is most famous for being home to some of the tallest trees on the planet, this park offers visitors more than one kind of east-coast landscape. From wild rivers and expansive prairies to pretty driftwood scattered beaches, Redwood National Park offers so much more than just ‘big trees’. That said, the Redwoods are one of the most popular landmarks on many travelers’ bucket lists when they visit this part of America, and it’s impossible to not feel daunted and impressed by the sheer scale and size of the trunks, and then humbled by the age of the trees and how much history they have lived through.

Our Redwoods National Park palette includes the sage green hue of the redwood leaves, as well as the iconic reddish brown bark tones, alongside the pale white of the sky that walkers can just about glimpse through the tall canopy above them. 

Saguaro National Park

The ancient desert lands of Arizona are proving to be a popular destination for explorers this year, with Google searches for tours of Saguaro National Park up 53% compared to last year.

Named after the large saguaro cactus found here, Saguaro National Park has a legendary desert landscape that boasts a glorious array of natural color.

The dusky sunsets in Arizona are iconic; one of their most famous descriptions is found in the 1990 track Little Fluffy Clouds, which describes the Arizonian sunsets as “the most beautiful skies, the sunsets were purple and red and yellow and on fire, and the clouds would catch the colours everywhere’.

The dusky pinks, magentas, and wine reds are picked up in our color palette, alongside the mustardy greens and grey blues of the desert’s cactus and shrubs. 

 

White Sands National Park

The dramatic dune fields of White Sands National Park are set to be popular in 2024, with Google searches for tours of the park up 28% compared to the previous year. 

Covering over 145 acres of the Tularosa Basin, the White Sands National Park is famous for its dunes that are made up of gypsum crystals. With very minimal green plant life, the pristine white sands sharply contrast with the deep and bright blues of a clear New Mexico sky to make this park’s palette a real stand-out among the more green-based national park palettes.

As well as the mesmerizing white dunes, White Sands is also home to world’s largest collection of Ice-Age fossilized footprints. Whilst the footprint site is currently inaccessible to visitors due to the trackways being studied, from January 2024 there is a new exhibition at the visitor center which displays casted replicas of the human footprints and more information about how they came to be. 

 

Yellowstone National Park

Renowned for being home to more geysers and hot springs than any other place in the world, Yellowstone is one of the USA’s most famous national parks.

There are an incredible amount of people searching for tours for of Yellowstone every year but there has still been a near 20% increase in potential visitor interest over the last 12 months. 

Yellowstone provides a home to some exciting Wyoming wildlife, including elk, wolves and bears, which all take advantage of the protected alpine rivers, rich forests and rocky canyons.

Our colour palette picks out the darker greens and honey mustard tones of the park’s grasses and sedges that bison graze on, as well as the brighter yellow and pink shorelines of the hot springs, and the shadowy blues and greys of the skies that reflect in the park’s vast lakes. 

 

Shenandoah National Park

With the Big Meadows wetland, cascading waterfalls and rocky ridges, Shenandoah is capturing the attention of national park explorers, with interest in park tours here up nearly 20% compared to last year. 

The park takes in over 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which provides ramblers with panoramic views of pastoral land, through to mountain streams and wooded glades.

Particularly popular with walkers (there are over 500 miles of trails within the park), the park has a charming wildlife scene, thanks to it being the perfect natural habitat for white-tailed deer, grey squirrels, spotted skunks, voles, moles, frogs and big brown bats.

Our palette picks out the peachy pinks of Shenandoah sunrises, as well as the grey blue hazes seen from too much light scattering. The rich browns of the chestnut and red oak forests are also picked out in our Shenandoah palette. 

 

Hot Springs National Park

Interest in the Hot Springs National Park is up 17% making it the 16th top trending national park in the USA for 2024. 

Steeped in history, and a long-time destination for those in search of healing and relaxation, the Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas has over 47 naturally heated springs and is the oldest protected area in the national park system.

The water in the springs is pure, of drinkable quality, and whilst there is nowhere to swim in the springs, there are two historic bathhouses where visitors can submerge themselves in the park’s warm waters and wash away the stresses of hectic life.

At the Display Spring and the Hot Water Cascade there are opportunities to touch the thermal spring water as well. The springs are surrounded by buff-coloured rocks, neon green mosses, and dark brown-green algae – which have all been pulled out in our Hot Springs color palette. 

Top Trending National Parks in the USA for 2024

Rank National Park No. of Google Searches 2022-23 No. of Google Searches 2023-24 Search Increase %
1 Great Smoky Mountains National Park  1230 2420 97%
2 Mount Rainier National Park  550 1070 95%
3 Voyageurs National Park  1370 2590 89%
4 North Cascades National Park  410 710 73%
5 Mesa Verde National Park  23010 37760 64%
6 Redwood National Park  3950 6230 58%
7 Channel Islands National Park  1140 1770 55%
8 Saguaro National Park  590 900 53%
9 Sequoia National Park  8230 11000 34%
10 White Sands National Park  670 860 28%
11 Olympic National Park  5850 7010 20%
12 Biscayne National Park  6460 7740 20%
13 Yellowstone National Park  26900 32100 19%
14 Badlands National Park  860 1020 19%
15 Shenandoah National Park  920 1090 18%
16 Hot Springs National Park  290 340 17%
17 Kings Canyon National Park  240 280 17%
18 Joshua Tree National Park  16200 18500 14%
19 Crater Lake National Park  5000 5640 13%
20 Rocky Mountain National Park  11490 12740 11%

Methodology

For each of the 63 National Parks in the USA we used Google Keyword Planner to analyze how many searches were made between March 2023 and Feb 2024  for [national park name] + [tour] (e.g. Badlands National Park tour)  to find the total accumulative number of Google searches made worldwide in the last 12 months for tours to each of the 63 National Parks. This was compared with the total accumulative number of Google searches made worldwide in the previous 12 months (March 2022 – February 2023). The difference in annual search totals per national park was calculated to see which destinations have the highest percentage jump in search volume interest for tours. 

Please note: This study does not show which national parks have the most search volume for tours but rather which national parks have seen the biggest percentage increase in tour-related searches compared to the previous twelve months.  

All data correct as of March 2024.