The World's Most Breathtaking National Parks [Slideshow]
Nepal: Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha, home to Mount Everest, is full of dramatic highs and lows, from the world's greatest peak to deep valleys carved out by glaciers. It's home to some of the world's rarest creatures like the snow leopard and red panda.
Japan: Ōnuma Quasi-National Park
The 18 bridges in Ōnuma Quasi-National Park offer a pleasurable day of sightseeing. The park is located at the foot of a dormant volcano—Mount Komagate—with 126 inlets that flow into three lakes.
Chile: Torres del Paine
UNESCO declared Patagonian treasure Torres del Paine a Biosphere Reserve in 2013. Full of towering mountain peaks, brilliant blue icebergs and mile upon mile of pampas—grasslands—the park is frequented by llamas, pumas and ñandúes—a relation to the ostrich.
Namibia: Namib-Naukluft National Park
Its brilliant orange dunes are like something out of "Lawrence of Arabia." Africa's largest conservation area is home to the fiery Sossusvlei pan surrounded by towering dunes, a sight that keeps the romance of the desert alive.
Croatia: Krka National Park
With 12 waterfalls within the quarter-mile Roski Slap alone, Krka is home to hundreds of species of plant life, amphibians and birds. The park is named for the river that runs through it and further along Croatia's coastline.
Ireland: Killarney National Park
Germany: Saxon Switzerland National Park
Saxon Switzerland is the only national rock park in Germany, with stones formed as early as 65 million years ago. More than 700 summits are available for climbing enthusiasts; hikers can meander through 250 square miles of trails.
Canada: Banff National Park
Canada's oldest national park, Banff, is a stunner. Visitors flock here to marvel at more than 4,100 square miles of snowcapped Canadian Rockies, its cache of hot springs and native creatures such as bears, wolves and caribou.
Russia: Bikin National Park
Russia's newest national park, Bikin, was unveiled in 2015 to protect the dwindling Amur tiger numbers and preserve the heritage of its indigenous peoples. In all, more than 50 mammal and 194 bird species call this park in mountainous Primorskiy Krai home.
New Zealand: Fiordland National Park
Glassy-surfaced lakes, beechwood forests and craggy mountaintops are on display in this south New Zealand park, named for its glacier-carved fiords. Fiordland's beauty has graced the big screen in "The Lord of the Rings," "Wolverine," "Jurassic Park" and most recently "Alien: Covenant."
Slovenia: Triglav National Park
Triglav is the only national park in Slovenia. It is one of Europe's first parks and is named after the highest peak in the park where the Slavic god Perun was said to have a throne.
Greece: Mount Olympus National Park
The world's first national park is Mount Olympus. Declared in 1938, it covers 310 square miles and has 52 peaks that range from 2,500 to 9,500 feet tall. Olympus is also on the list of the "most important bird areas of the European community."
United States: Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of the United States' most distinctive national parks. More than 2,000 natural sandstone arches stand out as brilliant beacons in the desert landscape.
Brazil: Iguazú National Park
One of the world's most dramatic waterfalls, the 1.7-mile long Iguazú features 275 individual jaw-dropping plunges. Located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, the national park features multiple viewing areas from which to view this lush rainforest and inhabitants like ocelots, tapirs, howler monkeys and giant anteaters.
When you think about a national park, what comes to mind: mountain peaks that dwarf the body and mind, brilliant blue lakes, a dense alpine forest? As a tour through these magnificent world parks shows, it's all that and more; our list also includes those with castles, waterfalls, desert dunes and glaciers.