J.D. Simkins
Zion National Park

The National Park Service’s new app offers comprehensive information for all 423 of the country’s federally-managed parks.

J.D. Simkins  –  Updated February 24, 2021

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Exploring our nation’s most beautiful national parks just got immeasurably easier thanks to the launch of the National Park Service’s new app.

Gone are the days of park-specific applications that too often floundered in the performance of basic functions. Instead, outdoor enthusiasts can now celebrate the arrival of the aptly named National Park Service app, one that streamlines the visitor experience at any of the nation’s 423 NPS locations by consolidating information on hiking trails, lodging, news alerts, dining options, and much more.

Considering that the (free) app is only in its infancy, the current availability of onsite staff-uploaded data, aside from a few obscure examples, is quite thorough.

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“With all of these parks and a brand new app, it will take some time to finish creating content for each park,” NPS officials wrote on the app. “If you don’t find what you’re looking for now, check back regularly as our rangers work to complete the experience for each of our parks.”

Once downloaded, an easy-to-use navigation tool allows for either term- or location-based searches, with results yielding a flood of visually pleasant photos accompanied by a list of the aforementioned tips.

Screengrab / NPS app

Users can modify their home screen at any time with a slew of personalized items, including an index of favorite parks or bucket list items corresponding to destinations.

And if you’re concerned about the app’s function in remote, cell service-free regions, don’t be. Downloadable information can be accessed offline through the app at any point.

Of the app’s outstanding features, highlights include:

  • Interactive maps featuring points of interest along roads and trails
  • Self-guided tour instructions for both popular and lesser-known destinations
  • Notes for visitors who have accessibility needs
  • Details on local transportation, food, restroom, and shopping amenities
  • To-do lists featuring scenic drives, tours, museums, ranger programs, and other educational activities
  • Event calendars
  • News alerts
  • Fee updates
  • Passport stamp locations
  • Customizable virtual postcards to share with friends and family

Bottom line, this is a must-have for any outdoor or national park enthusiast. Apple and Android users can download the National Park Service app today for free.