Parks Madness Championship

Finals Bracket

America’s first national park defeats rival Yosemite and Arches fall to Utah’s crown jewel in Final Four of Parks Madness

The drive through the tunnels and then BOOM, there’s the scenery, is just hands down the best mic drop a National Park has.”

— Parks Madness voter Becky Boughan

BETHESDA, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES, April 13, 2024 / — Park fans have delivered a wild beauty contest for the ages, delivering solid wins for Yellowstone and Zion national parks in the Final Four of Parks Madness. Now the final ballot will decide which one gets bragging rights as the 2024 National Park Champion. Online voting closes at midnight ET on April 15, with the winner declared on April 16.

While neither of the finalists was in serious jeopardy in the semifinals, both Arches and Yosemite put on spirited efforts and had passionate supporters. “Arches is so vast and is accessible to all visitors, whether boardwalks or technical hiking/climbing,” voter Sandy Smith said. “One can return for visits many times and always find something new to discover in the land of the Ancients.”

“Yosemite is the bomb diggity of a park! It has everything!” said voter Sarah Cole.

The Yellowstone vs. Yosemite matchup pitted America’s first national park against its third, the Grand Prismatic Spring against Yosemite Falls, the Tunnel View against the Hayden Valley. Both have long been among the most beloved, visited and photographed national parks. Each features iconic wildlife, from Yellowstone’s bison, wolves and grizzlies to Yosemite’s bighorn sheep, mountain lions and black bears. In the end, though, the sheer volume of amazing features pulled Yellowstone ahead.

“Other parks have cool mountains, and maybe some good animals, but that’s where it ends for most of the others,” said voter Elijah Hoppe. “Yellowstone has all that plus awesome lakes, rivers, canyons, waterfalls, and best of all, GEYSERS.” The final tally was 63-37%.

The Arches vs. Zion semifinal paired the last survivors of Utah’s Mighty Five national parks, which also include Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands. Early voting suggested a tight finish.

On one side, the ultimate selfie destination with more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches – formed through erosion on a 300 million-year-old salt bed – facing a park so overwhelmingly beautiful that Mormon pioneers gave it the Old Testament name for the city of Jerusalem. “The drive through the tunnels and then BOOM, there’s the scenery, is just hands down the best mic drop a National Park has,” Zion fan Becky Boughan said. Beauty beat the bends, 60-40%.

Can Zion’s heavenly run make it to the pearly gates, or will Yellowstone and its glorious geysers steam to victory? The answer comes April 16, no permit required.

To submit Championship ballots, visit

The remaining schedule for Parks Madness:

• Championship voting runs until midnight ET on April 15

• 2024 National Park Champion declared on April 16


The Parks Channel is a new platform for “America’s Best Idea” – at home, on the journey and for making memories. Our mobile-optimized website,, features over 500 curated and geotagged videos, enabling visitors to discover amazing places to go, informed by park superfans and others dedicated to public lands. Users can create their own pages, unlock park badges by submitting content and create curated gear checklists for travel based on where they want to go and what they like to do. Coming soon, Parks Channel will be available as an advertising-supported free app on connected TVs.

Alanna Zahn Davis
The Azure Group for Parks Channel
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