List of US National Monuments (Including Best to Visit in 2022)

List of US National Monuments (Including Best to Visit in 2022)

National Monuments are a source of pride for Americans. Many people go to these monuments to see what they represent and admire them for the design. This article will illustrate each national monument and the best ones to visit at least once in your lifetime.

Before illustrating a list of all US National Monuments, let’s get into the management and history of these federally governed monuments.

Management of National Monuments by Federal Agencies

Eight federal agencies in five departments manage the 129 current U.S. National Monuments. Of these, 115 monuments are managed by a single agency, while 14 are co-managed by two agencies.

One of the NPS’s national monuments, Grand Canyon-Parashant, is not an official unit because it overlaps with Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Management practices vary across agencies and sites according to their missions, the size or type of protected place, and legal authorization. Generally, hunting, fishing, and extraction of resources are prohibited.

National monuments are a source of pride for Americans. They are managed by different federal agencies, each with its own set of regulations and procedures.

The National Park Service is one such agency, and they manage the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.

This monument is located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, and it is co-managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

The monument is open to hunting, fishing, and resource extraction, but these activities are heavily regulated.

Difference between National Parks and Monuments

The most significant distinction between National Monuments and National Parks is when they were established.

With the help of the president, national monuments may also be formed. The United States Constitution must be followed by virtually every other categorization.

The two distinctions are that National Monument Management is managed by a variety of agencies, each of which operates in collaboration with the National Park Service, while National Parks are managed by the National Park Service alone.

National monuments can be designated in two ways. Presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act, or legislation from Congress.

The first monument was declared in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt and it was Devils Tower in Wyoming. The Antiquities Act was passed in 1906 and it allows the president to declare a national monument on federal land.

See Related: Best National Parks to visit in November

List of National Monuments in the United States 2022

National Monument Agency Location Year Established
Admiralty Island USFS Alaska 1978
African Burial Ground NPS New York 2006
Agate Fossil Beds NPS Nebraska 1997
Agua Fria BLM Arizona 2000
Aleutian Islands World War 2 FWS Alaska 2008
Alibates Flint Quarries NPS Texas 1965
Aniakchak NPS Alaska 1978
Aztec Ruins NPS New Mexico 1923
Bandelier NPS New Mexico 1916
Basin and Range BLM Nevada 2015
Bears Ears BLM, USFS Utah 2016
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality NPS District of Columbia 2016
Berryessa Snow Mountain USFS, BLM California 2015
Birmingham Civil Rights NPS Alabama 2017
Booker T. Washington NPS Virginia 1956
Browns Canyon BLM, USFS Colorado 2015
Buck Island Reef NPS US Virgin Islands 1961
Cabrillo NPS California 1913
California Coastal BLM California 2000
Camp Nelson Heritage NPS Kentucky 2018
Canyon de Chelly NPS Arizona 1931
Canyons of the Ancients BLM Colorado 2000
Cape Krusenstern NPS Alaska 1978
Capulin Volcano NPS New Mexico 1916
Carrizo Plain BLM California 2001
Casa Grande Ruins NPS Arizona 1918
Cascade-Siskiyou BLM Oregon, California 2000
Castillo de San Marcos NPS Florida 1924
Castle Clinton NPS New York 1946
Castle Mountains NPS California 2016
Cedar Breaks NPS Utah 1933
Cesar E. Chaves NPS California 2012
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers NPS Ohio 2013
Chimney Rock USFS Colorado 2012
Chiricahua NPS Arizona 1924
Colorado NPS Colorado 1911
Craters of the Moon NPS, BLM Idaho 1924
Devils Postpile NPS California 1911
Devils Tower NPS Wyoming 1906
Dinosaur NPS Colorado, Utah 1915
Effigy Mounds NPS Iowa 1949
El Malpais NPS New Mexico 1987
El Morro NPS New Mexico 1906
Florissant Fossil Beds NPS Colorado 1969
Fort Frederica NPS Georgia 1936
Fort Matanzas NPS Florida 1924
Fort McHenry NPS Maryland 1925
Fort Monroe NPS Virginia 2011
Fort Ord BLM California 2012
Fort Pulaski NPS Georgia 1924
Fort Stanwix NPS New York 1935
Fort Union NPS New Mexico 1956
Fossil Butte NPS Wyoming 1972
Freedom Riders NPS Alabama 2017
George Washington Birthplace NPS Virginia 1930
George Washington Carver NPS Missouri 1943
Giant Sequoia USFS California 2000
Gila Cliff Dwellings NPS New Mexico 1907
Gold Butte BLM Nevada 2016
Governors Island NPS New York 2001
Grand Canyon Parashant BLM, NPS Arizona 2000
Grand Portage NPS Minnesota 1960
Grand Staircase-Escalante BLM Utah 1996
Hagerman Fossil Beds NPS Idaho 1988
Hanford Reach FWS, DOE Washington 2000
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad FWS Maryland 2013
Hohokam Pima NPS Arizona 1972
Homestead NPS Nebraska 1936
Hovenweep NPS Colorado, Utah 1923
Ironwood Forest BLM Arizona 2000
Jewel Cave NPS South Dakota 1908
John Day Fossil Beds NPS Oregon 1974
Jurassic BLM Utah 2019
Kasha-Katuwe Ten Rocks BLM New Mexico 2001
Katahdin Woods and Waters NPS Maine 2016
Lava Beds NPS California 1925
Little Bighorn Battlefield NPS Montana 1940
Marianas Trench Marine NOAA, FWS Guam 2009
Medgar and Myrlie Evans Home NPS Mississippi 2020
Military Working Dog Teams DOD Texas 2013
Mill Springs Battlefield NPS Kentucky 2020
Misty Fjords USFS Alaska 1978
Mohave Trails BLM California 2016
Montezuma Castle NPS Arizona 1906
Mount St. Helens Volcanic USFS Washington 1982
Muir Woods NPS California 1908
Natural Bridges NPS Utah 1908
Navajo NPS Arizona 1909
Newberry Volcanic USFS Oregon 1990
Northeast Canyons and Seamonts Marine NOAA, FWS Atlantic Ocean 2016
Oregon Caves NPS Oregon 1909
Organ Pipe Cactus NPS Arizona 1937
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks BLM New Mexico 2014
Pacific Remote Islands Marine NOAA, FWS US Minor Outlying Islands 2009
Papahānaumokuākea Marine NOAA, FWS Hawaii, US Minor Outlying Islands 2006
Petroglyph NPS New Mexico 1990
Pipe Spring NPS Arizona 1923
Pipestone NPS Minnesota 1937
Pompeys Pillar BLM Montana 2001
Poverty Point NPS Louisiana 1988
Prehistoric Trackways BLM New Mexico 2009
President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home AFRH District of Columbia 2000
Pullman NPS Illinois 2015
Rainbow Bridge NPS Utah 1910
Rio Grande del Norte BLM New Mexico 2013
Rose Atoll Marine NOAA, FWS American Samoa 2009
Russell Cave NPS Alabama 1961
Saint Francis Dam Disaster USFS California 2019
Salinas Pueblo Missions NPS New Mexico 1909
San Gabriel Mountains USFS California 2014
San Juan Islands BLM Washington 2013
Sand to Snow BLM, USFS California 2016
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains BLM, USFS California 2000
Scotts Bluff NPS Nebraska 1919
Sonoran Desert BLM Arizona 2001
Statue of Liberty NPS New York, New Jersey 1924
Stonewall NPS New York 2016
Sunset Crater Volcano NPS Arizona 1930
Timpanogos Cave NPS Utah 1922
Tonto NPS Arizona 1907
Tule Lake NPS, FWS California 2008
Tule Springs Fossil Beds NPS Nevada 2014
Tuzigoot NPS Arizona 1939
Upper Missouri River Breaks BLM Montana 2001
Vermilion Cliffs BLM Arizona 2000
Virgin Islands Coral Reef NPS US Virgin Islands 2001
Waco Mammoth NPS Texas 2015
Walnut Canyon NPS Arizona 1915
Wupatki NPS Arizona 1924
Yucca House NPS Colorado 1919

Best National Monuments in the United States to Visit

There are many beautiful and awe-inspiring national monuments in the United States, but here are five of my personal favorites.

The following is a list of national monuments by state, with the best ones to visit highlighted.

1. Statue of Liberty National Monument

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, in Manhattan, New York City.

The statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law).

It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the United States and the most well-known US National Monuments.

The Statue of Liberty was designated a National Monument on October 15, 1924.

2. Grand Canyon Parashant

Grand Canyon Parashant is located in northwest Arizona and is a part of the Grand Canyon National Park. The Monument was designated in 2000 and covers 1,014,000 acres. Grand Canyon Parashant is unique because it is the only National Monument that is also a National Park.

The National Monument was created to protect the vast and remote area that is home to many plants and animals, including the endangered California condor.

See Related: Grand Canyon Packing List

3. Grand Staircase-Escalante

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is a United States National Monument managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Monument was established by presidential proclamation on September 18, 1996.

Grand Staircase-Escalante encompasses 1,880,461 acres (7,617 km2) of land, including the Kaiparowits Plateau, the longest continuous stretch of unspoiled land in the lower 48 United States. GSENM is the largest national monument in the United States.

GSENM has been the focus of much controversy since its inception.

The Monument was established over the objection of Utah’s Congressional delegation, who felt that the land should be managed by the state of Utah. Many local residents also oppose the Monument, fearing that it will result in lost jobs and economic opportunities.

Sadly, the National Monument has been a target for energy exploration and development, with over 200,000 acres (810 km2) leased for oil and gas extraction.

4. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is located in Maryland and commemorates the life of Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom.

The park features a visitor center with fascinating exhibits on Tubman’s life and the Underground Railroad, as well as hiking trails and a picnic area.

See related: 15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Williamstown, Kentucky

5. George Washington Birthplace

The Monument in George Washington Birthplace

This one is a doozy; it is where America’s first president was born and also serves as a poignant reminder of slavery in America.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The former colonel would become the first U.S. president and is arguably the most important founding father of the United States.

Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, was a successful tobacco plantation owner and George Washington inherited his wealth, 64 slaves, and this land after his father’s death.

It’s now home to the Washington Family Burial Ground and the Memorial House; a charming brick house constructed in 1931.

See Related: Best Washington D.C. Walking Tours

6. Devils Tower

The Road and the Devils Tower

Devils Tower National Monument is a United States National Monument located in Crook County, Wyoming.

It is the first national monument designated by the United States Congress and also the first to be managed by the National Park Service.

The monument is located on land annexed from the Crow Indian Reservation in 1906. Devils Tower was declared a national monument in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The monument is located on the eastern edge of the Black Hills, about 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Hulett and 10 miles (16 km) north of Sundance in Crook County, Wyoming.

Devils Tower rises 1,267 feet (386 m) from its base to an elevation of 5,112 feet (1,559 m) above sea level. The tower is 857 feet (261 m) wide at its base.

7. Giant Sequoia National Monument

The giant sequoias are a sight to behold in Giant Sequoia National Monument. They are the largest trees in the world and can grow up to 300 feet tall.

They are located in the Sierra Nevada region of California and are a National Monument. The giant sequoias offer an outdoor opportunity like no other, with more than 30 squaw forests over 325,000 acres.

The Sequoias National Park and Kings Canyon are both open to visitors, except when the weather is dangerous.

Prices for each vehicle range from $30 to $30 per car, and are available for prepayment. This cost includes access to both parks. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, be sure to visit the giant sequoias.

8. Pipestone National Monument

Trail and Plants in Pipestone National Monument

Pipestone National Monument is located in southwestern Minnesota, near the cities of Pipestone and Worth.

The monument was established in 1937 to protect the pipestone quarries, which have been used by Native Americans for centuries to make ceremonial pipes.

The park includes about 500 acres of land and a visitor center with exhibits on the pipestone quarries and the area’s Native American history. This is one of two Minnesota national monuments. The other is Grand Portage National Monument.

If you plan on making the trip, check out these other best things to do in Pipestone, Minnesota.

See Related: Best Road Trips in the U.S.

9. Governors Island National Monument

Governors Island is a 172-acre island located in Manhattan Harbor, New York. The island has been inhabited by the U.S. Army and Coast Guard for nearly 200 years from 1794 to 1966 and provides spectacular views of America’s most famous skyline.

The park offers several historic buildings to visit as well as bicycle paths, guided tours, and a ferry service to the island. The islands are open from late spring to late October and visiting the island is free, but ferry trips cost about $3 a person.

10. Muir Woods

The Trail and Trees in Muir Woods

Muir Woods is a beautiful and popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The redwood forest is a stunning sight, and the various trails provide something for everyone.

Muir Woods is well-maintained and a great place to spend a day outdoors.

To get to Muir Woods, take Highway 1 North from San Francisco. There are a few options for places to stay near Muir Woods. The closest town is Mill Valley, which has a few hotels and B&Bs. If you’re looking for something a bit more rustic, there are also a few campgrounds in the area.

11. Canyon de Chelly

The Canyon de Chelly is one of the most popular national monuments in the United States. It is known for its stunning views and rich history.

The monument is located on the Colorado Plateau, and it consists of a beautiful canyon that has seen human activity for over 5,000 years.

There are also a variety of hiking trails and campgrounds available at the monument. Admission is free, and the monument is open every day of the year.

12. Admiralty Island

Alaska’s Admiralty Island is one of a kind in Alaska, if not the United States. This region has an outstanding example of a North Pacific temperate rainforest and features a high number of brown bears.

Visitors may see these bear species in the wild by traveling by floatplane and then walking to the lookout tower where they may witness salmon spawning during the summer season.

There are also wolves, deer, and moose that may be seen in the region, making Admiralty Island a top destination for those interested in wildlife viewing.

13. Fort McHenry National Monument

Flag on the Top of the Building in Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

The Battle of Baltimore, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the United States’ national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner,” took place in Fort McHenry in Maryland.

The visitors may learn about the area’s rich historic past at this national monument, visit the Star Fort, and see the officer’s residences.

The National Historic Sites are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, and the park grounds are open from 6 am to 10 pm. The Fort McHenry National Monument is also wheelchair accessible.

See related: The German National Anthem: Das Deutschlandlied

14. Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter is located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. It is a national monument that is rich in American history.

The fort was critical during the Civil War, as Confederate troops fired upon Union troops there in April 1865.

Visitors can access Fort Sumter via authorized boat concessions. Ticket prices are $12 for kids ages 4-11 years and $30 for children and teens.

It’s also worth hanging out in Charleston if you have the time. Not only is this terrific town rich in history and incredible cuisine, but the weather here is also typically glorious.

See Related: Best Sabbatical Destination

15. Natural Bridges National Monument

National Natural Bridges was first recognized as a National Monument in 1908 and spans over two counties in southern Utah.

The Monument offers visitors a look at the beautiful landscape of Utah and allows for up to close inspection of the natural bridges.

The Monument contains a scenic loop, accessible from the main road, and also provides short walks for visitors to get closer to the bridges. The Monument is open year-round, though the access roads may close during winter storms.

FAQ

How many national monuments are there?

There are 129 national monuments in the United States.

What state has the most national monuments?

California and Arizona have the most national monuments, both of these states have 18 national monuments.

Why are national monuments important?

The national monuments in the United States are designed to safeguard important cultural assets, history, and legacies.

What is the first national monument?

It was on September 24, 1906, that the Devils Tower when it was proclaimed National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt, making it the first of its kind.

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