Planning a trip to the US national parks in November and don’t know which ones to visit? The cooler weather in November makes this one of the best times of the year to visit the parks across the southern part of the USA. Road trip through Utah’s Mighty 5, go sledding on sand as white as the snow, and explore the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. In this guide, we list 12 wonderful national parks to visit in November.
About this National Park Series
This article is part of a series about the best national parks to visit each month. In this series, every national park is listed at least once and many are listed multiple times. It is a series of 12 articles, one for each month of the year. More popular parks, like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, may show up in as many as four of these articles, but lesser known parks like Gates of the Arctic may only show up once.
These articles take into account weather, crowd levels, the best time to go hiking, special events, road closures, and our personal experiences in the parks. Based on these factors, we picked out what we think are the optimal times to visit each park.
For an overview of the best time to visit each national park, check out our Best National Parks by Season guide. This guide has graphs that list each park and the optimal time to plan your visit. And at the end of this article, we have links to the other articles in our Best National Parks by Month series.
Visiting the National Parks in November
By November, the weather has turned colder and the days are getting much shorter. But this cool weather is a great time to visit the national parks across the southern half of the USA.
Crowds tend to be low in the national parks in November, because of the cool weather and the upcoming holiday season. You can take advantage of this and visit some of the most popular parks in the US with low crowds.
This is a fantastic month to visit Utah’s Mighty 5 (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches). It can be chilly this time of year, but this is our favorite month to visit these parks, since they are emptier than in September or October. A dusting of snow in these parks, which is possible, makes them even more beautiful. For the warmest weather and lower crowds, go at the beginning of November.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The information we provide for each national park does not include temporary road closures, since these dates are constantly changing. Roads can close in the national parks at any time, so I recommend getting updates on the National Park Service website while planning your trip.
Best National Parks in November
1. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is one of our favorite national parks in the USA. Why? The landscapes, the hiking trails, and the off the beaten path experiences make this one of the top parks for those who crave adventure.
Explore the Island in the Sky, the most popular area of Canyonlands. Visit the overlooks on the mesa, hike the short trails, and if you want to do a longer hike, you can hike below the rim or hike the Syncline Loop.
Journey below the rim of the Island in the Sky mesa for an unforgettable experience. Drive the twisting Shafer Canyon switchbacks onto the White Rim and then spend a few days driving through remote landscapes. Called the White Rim Road, this is one of the best experiences in the national park system.
You can also explore The Needles, where zebra-striped rocks form one of the most unique hiking destinations in the USA.
Why Visit Canyonlands in November: November is one of the quietest months of the year to visit Canyonlands. It can be chilly, if not downright cold in November, so go early in the month for the warmest temperatures (or go in October, but it will be more crowded). If you want to drive the White Rim Road, this is one of the easiest months of the year to get a permit.
Weather: The average high is 50°F (10°C) and the average low is 33°F (0°C). Precipitation is very low and could fall as light snow. On warmer than average days, the temperature can get up into the 60’s. Canyonlands is colder than its nearby neighbor Arches National Park, since it sits at a higher elevation.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 7 am and sunset is at 5 pm.
View from Island in the Sky | Best National Parks in November
Gooseneck Overlook | Best National Parks in November
The Needles | Best National Parks in November
White Rim Road | Best National Parks in November
Top Experiences: Visit the overlooks on Island in the Sky, watch the sunrise at Mesa Arch, go hiking in The Needles, drive Shafer Canyon Road, hike below the rim of the Island in the Sky mesa, explore The Maze.
Ultimate Adventure: Drive or mountain bike the White Rim Road. This is a 100-mile unpaved road that makes a loop around the Island in the Sky mesa. It takes 2 to 3 days to do this drive. We did this in early November. It was below freezing at night but temperatures warmed up very nicely during the day.
How Much Time Do You Need? Ideally, you need at least two full days in Canyonlands National Park. Spend one day in Island in the Sky and one day in the Needles. But even more time is better if you want to venture deeper into the park.
2. Arches National Park
Arches is a beautiful wonderland of arches, rock formations, and short hiking trails. Not only will you find over 2,000 arches here, but you will also see hoodoos, fins of sandstone rocks, massive mesas, and balanced rocks.
This small park is easy to visit. One main road runs through the heart of park. You can see the highlights of the park right from this road or by taking short hikes, but for those who want to venture deeper into the park, there are several very cool hikes to choose from.
Why Visit Arches in November: Like Canyonlands, this is off-season in the park and one of the quietest months of the year.
Weather: In November, the average high is 56°F (13°C) and the average low is 33°F (0°C). During periods of unseasonably warm weather, daytime temperatures can get into the 70’s. Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 7 am and sunset is at 5 pm.
Park Avenue | Best National Parks in November
Delicate Arch in November, with snow on the La Sal Mountains
Devils Garden Trail | Best National Parks in November
Top Experiences: Hike to Delicate Arch, see Balanced Rock and the Fiery Furnace, visit Double Arch, Turret Arch, and Windows Arch, hike Park Avenue.
Ultimate Adventure: Hike the Devils Garden Trail. To reach Landscape Arch, one of the most iconic arches in the park, it is only 1.6 miles round trip. But for the ultimate adventure, continue past Landscape Arch to Double O Arch and Dark Angel and return on the Primitive Trail.
How Much Time Do You Need? One day in Arches is all you need to see the highlights, but it will be a very busy day. With two days, you can visit the park at a more leisurely pace or go off the beaten path.
3. Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is an extraordinary place to visit and its unique landscape sets it apart from other national parks. Although Bryce Canyon may not have the same sweeping, expansive vistas as the Grand Canyon, it’s still a breathtaking experience the first time you see this view.
This park is small and very easy to explore. You can simply enjoy the view from the rim or venture down into the fantasyland of hoodoos and sandstone pillars.
In November, you have a chance to see Bryce Canyon covered with snow, a magical sight to see.
Why Visit Bryce Canyon in November: For the chance to see Bryce Canyon with a dusting of snow. The amount of snowfall increases in December, but daytime high’s struggle to get above freezing. We like November, since the weather is warmer than the winter months, but you still have a chance to see Bryce Canyon covered with snow.
Weather: In November, the average high is 46°F (8°C) and the average low is 23°F (-5°C). There is a good chance of snow, and on average, Bryce Canyon receives about 10 inches of snow in November. Bryce Canyon has the highest elevation of the parks in Utah’s Mighty 5, making this the coolest one to visit.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 7:10 am and sunset is at 5:15 pm.
Bryce Canyon National Park | Best National Parks in November
Queen’s Garden Trail | Best National Parks in November
Top Experiences: Some of the best viewpoints are right along the rim, which are easily accessible by car or the shuttle: Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point. Hike the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop, a 3-mile hike past some of the best scenery in the park. Rainbow Point and Yovimpa Point are also nice viewpoints.
Ultimate Adventure: Hike the Fairyland Loop Trail, an 8-mile strenuous hike.
How Much Time Do You Need? One day is all you need to see the views from the rim and hike one to two trails in the park.
4. Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park may be one of the least visited national parks in Utah, but don’t let that fool you. This underrated park has not one but three spectacular scenic drive, hiking trails that rival those in Zion, and landscapes that are some of the most beautiful in the United States.
Most people drive right through the heart of the park, visiting the sights along Highway 24, which is a nice experience. But the real adventures lie beyond this highway. Drive through the remote Cathedral Valley or Loop the Fold, a scenic drive that leads to hidden slot canyons and big viewpoints.
Why Visit Capitol Reef in November: Temperatures are chilly this time of year but crowds are very low. We visited Capitol Reef in early November and absolutely loved it. The weather was all over the place, with high temperatures in the 70’s at the start of our visit with light snow on the last day of our visit. This park is a beauty with a light dusting of snow.
Weather: In November, the average high is 51°F (11°C) and the average low is 30°F (-1°C). A light dusting of snow is possible.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 7:10 am and sunset is at 5:15 pm.
Capitol Reef National Park in November
Rim Overlook Trail | Best National Parks in November
Top Experiences: Drive the 16-mile round-trip drive along Scenic Drive, drive Capitol Gorge Road, hike to Hickman Bridge, and watch the sunset from Sunset Point, hike to Cassidy Arch, and Loop the Fold.
Ultimate Adventure: For the ultimate adventure, drive the Cathedral Valley Loop. This rugged, remote district of Capitol Reef National Park is one of the best backcountry experiences in the national parks if you like exploring by 4WD.
How Much Time Do You Need? Plan on spending two to three days in Capitol Reef. This gives you enough time to explore and hike the trails in the core of the park (along Scenic Drive and Highway 24) and venture into the backcountry, either in Cathedral Valley or by looping the fold.
5. Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. This relatively small park is packed with some of the most thrilling trails in the United States.
Angels Landing and the Narrows are two hikes that attract most people to Zion National Park. But there are many more trails to choose from…hikes that range from short, easy strolls to full day adventures.
Zion is also one of the most popular parks in the USA to visit. For the best experience, plan on visiting the park in the shoulder season. November is one of the best months of the year to visit Zion, since the weather is still relatively warm and crowds are lower than many other months of the year.
Why Visit Zion in November: To avoid the crowds. This is one of the quietest months to visit the park in terms of visitation. The weather is also fantastic for hiking.
Weather: The average high is 64°F (18°C) and the average low is 37°F (3°C). Temperatures can get into the 80’s on unusually warm days. Rainfall is low.
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise is at 7:15 am and sunset is at 5:20 pm, which gives you 10 hours of daylight.
Observation Point | Best National Parks in November
The Narrows | Best National Parks in November
Top Experiences: Hike Angels Landing, Observation Point, Hidden Canyon, Riverside Trail, Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock, and Canyon Overlook. One of the best experiences in the park is hiking the Zion Narrows.
Ultimate Adventure: There are several to choose from. Hike the Zion Narrows from the top-down as a long day hike or a two-day backpacking trip. The Subway is another strenuous but gorgeous hike, and you will need canyoneering experience for this one. The West Rim Trail is a great two-day backpacking trip or a one day mega-hike.
How Much Time Do You Need? If you like hiking, plan to spend at least 2 to 3 days in Zion National Park. You can do three big hikes (one each morning) or use two of the days for a multi-day backpacking adventure. This also gives you time to explore Kolob Canyons at the northern section of the park.
6. White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park protects the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. Sledding on the dunes is one of the best things to do here, but you can also hike out farther into the dunes on several different hiking trails or take a ranger-guided tour.
Why Visit White Sands in November: The weather is relatively warm and crowds tend to be low in November.
Weather: In November, the average high is 67°F (19°F) and the average low is 30°F (-1°C). Rainfall is very low.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 6:30 am and sunset is at 5 pm.
White Sands National Park | Best National Parks in November
Location: New Mexico
Top Experiences: Drive Dunes Drive, go sledding in the gypsum dunes, walk the Dune Life Nature Trail, take a ranger-guided hike, and go backcountry camping.
Ultimate Adventure: Hike the Alkali Flat Trail. This trail makes a 4.5-mile loop through the gypsum dunefield. It’s the longest, toughest hike in the park but your treat is stunning views of untouched dunes.
How Much Time Do You Need? For the best experience, plan on spending one full day in White Sands National Park. Hike the Alkali Flat Trail first thing in the morning, before the crowds arrive and the temperatures climb. Midday, go sledding on the dunes and have a picnic lunch. You can also do one of the shorter hiking trails. At the end of the day, take the ranger-guided Sunset Stroll.
Plan Your Visit
7. Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited parks in the USA, with people from all around the world traveling here to see this natural wonder.
Words and photos cannot accurately describe what it is like to look out across the Grand Canyon for the first time. This is a place that needs to be seen in person to truly appreciate the immense beauty and grandeur of this place.
In mid-October, the North Rim closes, once the snow begins to fall. So, in November, the South Rim is where you will spend your time. Along the South Rim, roads and hiking trails lead to jaw-dropping views of the Grand Canyon. You also have the option to hike below the rim or take a helicopter tour for different perspectives of the Grand Canyon.
Why Visit the Grand Canyon in November: The Grand Canyon is busy all year, November tends to be one of the least visited months to visit this park. If you have plans to hike the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trail loop, November is a great time to do it, when temperatures are cool. Once you get below the rim, closer to the Colorado River, the air temperature is much warmer.
Weather: The average high is only 53°F (12°C) and the average low is 25°F (-4°C). There is a small chance you could see a dusting of snow in November.
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise is at 7 am and sunset is at 5:20 pm.
Grand Canyon National Park | Best National Parks in November
Ooh Aah Viewpoint
The view from Ooh Aah Point at sunrise
Top Experiences: Visit the South Rim viewpoints, watch the sunset, hike below the rim on the Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, and take a flightseeing tour.
Ultimate Adventure: In the winter, hike the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails as one big loop. This is a big day hike and only those who are very fit with lots of hiking experience should attempt it.
How Much Time Do You Need? We recommend spending two to three days on the South Rim, to visit the highlights. Three days gives you enough time to visit the best overlooks on the South Rim, go on a helicopter ride, and spend some time hiking below the rim.
8. Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is named for the petrified wood that dates back millions of years, to a time when this land was lush and fertile.
But there is more to this park than looking at chunks of crystallized wood. The Painted Desert and the Blue Forest, with their colorful, zebra-striped hills, are a beautiful sight to see. There are also a few great trails to hike which are perfect for all ages and ability levels.
Why Visit Petrified Forest in November: The weather is a bit on the cool side in November, but crowds are low, which is a nice bonus. If you have plans to road trip through the American Southwest this month, Petrified Forest National Park is nice add-on.
Weather: The average high is 58°F (15°C) and the average low is 28°F (-2°C). Rainfall is low.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 6:50 am and sunset is at 5:15 pm.
Hiking the Blue Forest Trail
Tiponi Point | Best National Parks in November
Top Experiences: View the Painted Desert from the overlooks, see the petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock, see the Teepees on Petrified Forest Road, walk the Blue Mesa Trail, and see the petrified wood at Crystal Forest and along the Giant Logs Trail.
Ultimate Adventure: The Blue Forest hike is our favorite experience in Petrified Forest National Park. This 3-mile trail takes you through the badlands, one of the most beautiful parts of the park.
How Much Time Do You Need? One day is plenty of time to drive through the park, visit the overlooks, and hike a few short trails.
Plan Your Visit
9. Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park protects the oldest bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. Often mistaken for a swamp, this floodplain is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country.
This small national park is quick and easy to visit. With just a few hours, you can walk the boardwalk trail, but with more time, there are longer trails to hike and you can go canoeing or kayaking on Cedar Creek, one of the best experiences in the park.
Why Visit Congaree in November: The weather is fantastic, crowds are low, and mosquitoes are not an issue. The park tends to be dry this time of year, so the boardwalk trails and hiking trails are less likely to be flooded. We visited Congaree in early November and the leaves were just beginning to change color.
Weather: In November, the average high is 68°F (20°C) and the average low is 42°F (6°C). With 3 inches (70 mm) of rain, this is one of the driest months to visit Congaree.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 7 am and sunset is at 5:20 pm.
Congaree National Park | Best National Parks in November
Location: South Carolina
Top Experiences: Walk the Boardwalk Loop Trail, go canoeing or kayaking on Cedar Creek, hike the Weston Loop Trail, and hike to the General Greene Tree.
Ultimate Adventure: For the ultimate adventure, go on a multi-day canoe trip on the Congaree River.
How Much Time Do You Need? One day in Congaree is all you need to see the highlights. Walk the boardwalk trails and go for a canoe trip on Cedar Creek.
10. Joshua Tree National Park
With its desert scenery, hiking trails, hidden oases, scenic drives, rock climbing routes, and trees that look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book, Joshua Tree National Park is a joy to explore.
Hike the Arch Rock Trail, learn about the plants that thrive in the Mojave Desert on the Cap Rock Nature Trail, see Skull Rock, and go hiking in Hidden Valley. Our favorite experience is hiking the Hall of Horrors and searching for the hidden slot canyon.
Why Visit Joshua Tree National Park in November: For November, this is one of the warmest national parks on this list to visit. The conditions are perfect for hiking.
Weather: The average high is 67°F (20°C) and the average low is 40°F (5°C). Rainfall is extremely low.
Sunrise and Sunset: Sunrise is at 6:15 am and sunset is at 4:40 pm.
Skull Rock | Best National Parks in November
49 Palms Oasis
Top Experiences: Hike the Hall of Horrors, see Skull Rock, explore Hidden Valley, hike to an oasis, hike to Arch Rock and Heart Rock, drive Geology Tour Road, visit the Cholla Cactus Garden, and go stargazing.
How Much Time Do You Need? Ideally, you need at least two full days in Joshua Tree National Park. This gives you enough time to visit the highlights, go rock climbing or take a lesson, hike a few trails, and go on the scenic drives.
11. Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park preserves and protects the mountains on the eastern end of Salinas Valley. These mountains are the remnants of an extinct volcano.
The rocky pinnacles are a popular rock climbing destination and this park is also one of the few locations where you can spot the California condor in the wild.
This is one of the newest national parks (it became a national park in 2013) and least visited national parks (it was the 19th least visited park in 2021).
Why Visit Pinnacles in November: The weather is perfect for hiking and rock climbing. Pinnacles National Park is a very hot and dry place to visit in the summer and early fall, with the temperature getting up to 115°F (46°C) on the hottest days. By November, the weather is warm but the rainy season has not yet started.
Weather: The average high is 70°F (21°C) and the average low is 37°F (3°C). On unusually warm days, the daytime temperature can get into the 80’s. Rainfall is low, at just over 1 inch (32mm). The wet season begins in December and lasts through March.
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 6:40 am and sunset is at 5 pm.
Bear Gulch Reservoir | photo credit: istockphoto.com/MWP
Top Experiences: See the wildflowers in the spring, hike the High Peaks Loop, hike the Bear Gulch Cave Trail, explore the Balconies cave, spot California condors, enjoy the view from Condor Gulch Overlook, and go rock climbing.
How Much Time Do You Need? Pinnacles National Park can be visited in one busy day but for the best experience, spend two days here, which gives you enough time to visit both sections of the park.
Plan Your Visit
This is one of the last parks on our to-do list. For more information to help you plan your trip, visit the National Park Service website.
12. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is located in southwestern Texas. The Rio Grande forms the border between Mexico and Big Bend National Park and Big Bend gets its name from the prominent bend in the Rio Grande on this border.
This national park protects the largest area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the USA as well as the Chisos Mountains. Big Bend is a top hiking destination in the US, with trails leading high into these mountains and into canyons along the Rio Grande.
Why Visit Big Bend in November: By November, temperatures in the park are really cooling off. The average high temperature is 70°F, but during periods of unusually warm weather, you could still see temperatures get into the 80’s. Rainfall is low.
Weather: The average high is 70°F (21°C) and the average low is 45°F (7°C). Rainfall is low, with about ¾ of an inch (18mm).
Sunrise & Sunset: Sunrise is at 7:15 am and sunset is at 6 pm.
Big Bend National Park | Best National Parks in November
View from the South Rim Trail
Top Experiences: Hike the Lost Mine Trail, go star gazing, hike Santa Elena Canyon, go for a drive on Maxwell Scenic Drive, visit Boquillas del Carmen, hike to Balanced Rock, and hike to Emory Peak, the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains.
Ultimate Adventure: For the ultimate adventure in Big Bend, go on a half-day to multi-day canoeing trip on the Rio Grande.
How Much Time Do You Need? Plan on spending at least two to three days here. Because of its large size and remote location, it takes a while to get here, and you need a few days to explore it, so 3 days is the perfect amount of time, in my opinion.
Bonus! 3 More Parks to Visit
Saguaro National Park
In November, the weather is pretty much perfect in Saguaro National Park. The high temperature averages 75°F (24°C) and rainfall is extremely low.
Haleakala & Hawaii Volcanoes
In terms of visitation, November tends to get less traffic than other months of the year. At these parks, it is warm in November but this month is the start of the rainy season, with both parks getting quite a bit of rain. But if you want to visit Haleakala and Hawai’i Volcanoes with fewer crowds, November is a good month to plan your trip. But make sure you pack your rain jacket.
November Road Trip Idea: Utah’s Mighty 5
November is a wonderful time to road trip to all five national parks in Utah: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches.
Crowds are generally low this time of year, which makes visiting these parks a pleasant experience. The mornings start off cold but it warms up nicely during the day and you could be hiking in 60 to 70 degree weather, if you are here while it’s unusually warm. Or, the parks could get a dusting of snow, which is very nice too, just as long as you don’t mind cold temperatures.
So, pack your shorts and your hat and gloves and go on a road trip through Utah.
If you have any questions about the best national parks to visit in November, or if you want to share your favorite national parks to visit this month, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information about the US National Parks:
NATIONAL PARKS: In our Guide to the US National Parks, get the full list of national parks with important travel planning information, such as things to do in the parks and sample itineraries.
NATIONAL PARK ITINERARIES:For ideas on how to plan a national parks road trip, visit our National Parks Itinerary page. This has lots of road trip ideas and sample itineraries for many of the US national parks.
BEST US NATIONAL PARKS:Looking for your next big adventure? Read our post Best National Parks in the USA, where we narrow down the long list into 15 must-see parks.
MORE GREAT HIKES IN THE NATIONAL PARKS: From hikes to the tallest peaks to beautiful coast trails, read our Guide to the Best Day Hikes in the US National Parks. If you prefer to keep your hikes short and sweet, read our guide to the Best Short Hikes in the National Parks.
Best National Parks to Visit by Month:
JANUARY: Best National Parks to Visit in January
FEBRUARY: Best National Parks to Visit in February
MARCH: Best National Parks to Visit in March
APRIL: Best National Parks to Visit in April
MAY: Best National Parks to Visit in May
JUNE: Best National Parks to Visit in June
JULY: Best National Parks to Visit in July
AUGUST: Best National Parks to Visit in August
SEPTEMBER: Best National Parks to Visit in September
OCTOBER: Best National Parks to Visit in October
DECEMBER: Best National Parks to Visit in December
Photo credit for cover photo of Bryce Canyon: shutterstock.com/ASGARALY LOULOUA
All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.