U.S. National Parks

As the United States expanded its territories westward in the early and mid-19th century, Americans ventured out to explore those vast uncharted lands that stretched to the Pacific Ocean. The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–06 and subsequent forays by organized groups and by individuals brought back stories of remarkable wonders that had been seen in the West. A growing number of people, notably the naturalist and conservationist John Muir, began calling on the federal government to protect those scenic places from exploitation.

By the early 20th century it was clear that a system of national parks was being created in the country. All national parks and most national monuments were under the purview of the Interior Department, but at that time each was administered separately and by different authorities.

In 1933, shortly after Franklin D. Roosevelt became U.S. president, both the Interior Department and the NPS were reorganized. As part of the restructuring, many national monuments and historic sites that had been administered by other government agencies were transferred to NPS control, thus further consolidating the country’s scenic and historic places under a central authority.

The National Park Service is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to benefit from facilities, programs, services, and activities whether they are indoors or outdoors. Discover accessible features in parks and learn more about what is provided accessibility across the National Park System.

National Parks are scattered throughout the United States. The following list is units managed by the National Park System, including national parks, national monuments, national historic sites, national battlefields, national preserves, and other related sites.