The 10 closest national parks to Dallas

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By Stacker

March 4, 2024
Approximately 237 million people visited American national parks in 2020, representing a 28% year-over-year decrease attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Many parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus, but that’s not the whole story—when the parks were open, many of them saw record crowds as throngs of people desperate to safely enjoy nature descended onto parks when they reopened.
President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 signed the act creating the National Park Service to leave natural and historic phenomenons “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since then, our national parks have welcomed visitors from around the world to experience some of the best the country has to offer and showcase the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Today, the country’s 63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, more than 75,000 archaeological sites, and 18,000 miles of trails.
Stacker compiled a list of the closest national parks to Dallas. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area and each national park. Estimated driving times are from Here and are only available within the lower 48 states. All featured distances and driving times are estimated using representative locations from the center of each metro and national park—for some places within the metro area, the actual distance may be slightly shorter or longer to reach the closest entryway to a park.
Here are the 10 closest national parks to Dallas.

#1. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

– Distance: 253 miles
– Driving time: 4.5 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1921
– 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 5,554.15 acres

#2. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 439 miles
– Driving time: 7.5 hours
– Date founded: May 14, 1930
– 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 46,766.45 acres

#3. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 447 miles
– Driving time: 10.3 hours
– Date founded: June 12, 1944
– 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 801,163.21 acres

#4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 466 miles
– Driving time: 8.5 hours
– Date founded: October 15, 1966
– 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 86,367.10 acres

#5. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 535 miles
– Driving time: 9.8 hours
– Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
– 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 146,344.31 acres

#6. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

– Distance: 551 miles
– Driving time: 9.8 hours
– Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
– 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 192.83 acres

#7. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 588 miles
– Driving time: 10.7 hours
– Date founded: September 24, 2004
– 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 107,341.87 acres

#8. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

– Distance: 684 miles
– Driving time: 11.1 hours
– Date founded: July 1, 1941
– 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 54,011.91 acres

#9. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 706 miles
– Driving time: 13.4 hours
– Date founded: January 26, 1915
– 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 265,807.25 acres

#10. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 718 miles
– Driving time: 13.8 hours
– Date founded: June 29, 1906
– 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 52,485.17 acres

  • Stacker

    A news wire offering compelling, research-driven stories that enrich local coverage and put the world's events into context for readers.

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