Badland formations, Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California, United States of America.
Dea / C. Dani I. Jeske—De Agostini/Getty Images

Last year, former National Geographic travel photographer, Jonathan Irish, and NASA employee, Stephanie Payne, embarked on a journey to see all of America’s 59 national parks in 52 weeks.

The couple decided to take the trip in honor of the centennial last year as a way to celebrate the parks and inspire travelers to get out and explore them.

The pair, who had regularly visited national parks as children, spent as many as nine days in some of these parks to see the sites that many travelers never get to.

Here are the top 12 the duo say every traveler should be sure to see.

This article originally appeared on


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