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Did you know that a trip to the great outdoors can be more than just a good time? Walking in nature does great things for our physical, emotional and social well-being, research shows. It’s easy to see why many of us are interested in planning a trip to a national park. In fact, 312 million people traveled to a national park in 2022 — an increase of 15 million visitors from 2021. More visitors means more crowding and congestion in the parks; scenic roads can be jammed and parking spots scarce. The large volume of cars can cause air and noise pollution. But there’s a transportation revolution happening: Sophisticated and convenient shuttle bus systems reduce congestion, stress and environmental degradation. Plus, many of the shuttle services within national parks are free. Here are five parks that make it easy to ditch your car and let someone else take the wheel.
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Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park has provided shuttle bus service for more than 40 years, expanding into the impressive prototype of today’s national park. The park’s large and contemporary visitor center on the popular South Rim serves as the hub for a fleet of buses on five interconnecting routes that serve all major attractions, including numerous trailheads and the Yavapai Museum of Geology on the canyon rim at Yavapai Point. Environment bonus: The buses run on compressed natural gas, reducing harmful emissions and noise. Buses run every 15-30 minutes, and all are wheelchair-accessible.
When: Shuttles operate year-round; however, certain routes are seasonal. Tip: Download the National Park Service’s NPS App to check before you go.