The United States has about 100 parks occupying land area greater than 1,000 acres (for comparison, New York’s Central Park is 840 acres). The largest city parks in the country are actually state parks as well. The topper on this list – no surprise, in Alaska – occupies hundreds of thousands of acres, which is far and away the largest city park in the country (and, in fact, the world). Including that one, here aere the four biggest city parks in the U.S.
Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve
Located on the northeastern side of Honolulu, Hawaii, the city’s Watershed Forest Reserve is 9,951 acres of trails, featuring some of the best nature in the urban environment (and mirroring much of what the rest of Hawaii is known for). It’s home to the Nu’uanu Reservoir and waterfalls, including the famous Manoa Falls. The park has one of the most famous 1.8 miles of trail in Hawaii, known as the Pu’u Pia Trail. You’ll also be able to get some great views of Mt. Olympus from the reserve.
Trinity River Project
The Trinity River Project in Dallas, Texas, began in the early 2000s with the intention of redeveloping the city’s centerpiece river. Today, it occupies an area of about 10,000 acres, 6,000 of which are part of the adjacent Great Trinity Forest, which is the largest urban bottomland forest in the world. With bike trails and walking trails galore, a bridge crossing the river – the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge – was completed in 2012.
Franklin Mountains State Park
Located in El Paso, Texas, it’s known as the largest urban park in the continental U.S., occupying nearly 25,000 acres of land. It’s popular among bicyclists (including mountain biking), hikers, picnickers and those looking for a scenic drive. The park, with its boundaries entirely within El Paso, also borders New Mexico at its northern edge. Franklin Mountains was established as a park in 1987, and was named after Benjamin Coons Franklin, who bought a ranch there in 1849.
Chugach State Park
Now for the really big one. Located almost entirely within the municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, Chugach State Park is technically the largest city park in the United States. It’s a popular site for hunting and fishing, as well as other recreation along Eklutna Lake and Eagle River. And even though it’s in the city, it is Alaska – meaning contact with bears is not terribly uncommon. Although incredibly rare, hikers have been mauled and even killed by bears in the park. Mostly, it just features gorgeous vistas throughout its nearly half-million acres of land. The park was established in 1970 in an effort to protect the Chugach Mountains and all geographical features on the land.