Top 10 National Monuments

National Monument is the most common designation in the National Park Service (NPS) System.  Many of our favorites among the roughly 130 National Monuments are wild places managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.  The NPS typically has a more developed, tourist-friendly infrastructure with visitor centers, trails, and tours.  Here is a ranking of our top 10 National Monuments of the 88 run by the NPS.

10. John Day Fossil Beds (Oregon)

Fantastic colors in the hills of Oregon

9. Organ Pipe Cactus (Arizona)

28 species of cacti in southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert

8. Statue of Liberty (New York/New Jersey)

Ellis Island and Lady Liberty make an unforgettable day trip

7. Cedar Breaks (Utah)

High-elevation amphitheater of red rock hoodoos in Utah

6. Timpanogos Cave (Utah)

Make the climb to see incredibly delicate helictites in Utah

5. White Sands (New Mexico)

These sledding hills in New Mexico could be the next National Park (and they are as of December 20, 2019)

4. Bandelier (New Mexico)

Climb into these cliff dwellings in northern New Mexico

3. Jewel Cave (South Dakota)

Tour the world’s third longest cave under South Dakota

2. Dinosaur (Utah/Colorado)

A significant fossil quarry surrounded by a beautiful landscape

…and finally our #1 National Monument managed by the NPS:

1. Lava Beds (California)

Explore below ground in this remote section of northern California


Honorable Mentions

Fort Stanwix (New York)

An exact 1750s replica surrounded by Rome, New York

Oregon Caves (Oregon)

Fun cave tours and excellent hiking in an old-growth forest

World War II Valor in the Pacific (Hawaii/Alaska/California)

Disbanded in 2019, Pearl Harbor was one part of this diverse monument

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