You can experience the magic of our national parks without leaving your home. Several parks and historical sites have podcasts dedicated to bringing the beauty of the parks to you no matter where you are. The podcasts look at topics that require more detail and expertise from those who know them well so you gain perspective.
Here’s a list of 19 podcasts you can download now and listen to from home, the car, or even while visiting the park itself.
1. Acadia National Park
From the coast of Maine, “Sea to Trees” tells the stories of the science happening in Acadia National Park. The podcast dives into citizen science and how it’s helping answer questions about our changing world. These non-scientists are exploring this park and improving our understanding of what’s happening. For example, it looks at The Dragonfly Mercury Project and how more than 6,000 citizen scientists are helping us understand mercury pollution across the country.
2. Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park has two podcasts dedicated to its rock formations, dramatic landscapes, and unique wildlife. “Tales from the Badlands” tells stories from the park’s history including why there’s a memorial ride for Asanpi Bleza and how a young boy got the nickname Johnny Kicked-a-Bomb.
There is also another podcast, “Good Rangers, Bad Lands,” highlighting wildlife biologists, rangers, and others who are protecting and preserving the 244,000 acres in southwestern South Dakota. These experts share their experiences in the park and why preserving it is so important.
3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
To dive into the more than 100 caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, tune in to “Three Sources of Light.” The podcast features rangers, volunteers, and partners having conversations about the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. Discussions include the discovery of the second deepest room inside Carlsbad Cavern, the famous bats, and how caves and karst contribute to our lives.
4. Glacier National Park
“Headwaters” is a podcast sharing stories with listeners about Glacier National Park’s history and its connection to everything. Season 3 focuses on the history from oil drilling to the war on wolves and whiskey running. Seasons 1 and 2 look at the area in Montana’s Rocky Mountains and the relationships between people and the land.
5. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Made to feel like postcards from Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the series “Park Postcards Podcast” features stories from rangers, partners, and visitors. Episodes feature well-known areas of San Francisco including Alcatraz, Presidio, and Muir Woods, and give listeners unique, personal stories and memories from those who live and work there.
6. Grand Canyon National Park
One of the most famous spots in the country is brought to life in “Behind the Scenery.” It uncovers stories below the rim of Grand Canyon National Park and the people who know it well. From the complicated legacy of Theodore Roosevelt to a ranger who knows the best ways to bike in the park to descendants of tribes who once called the park home, this podcast allows listeners to experience the depths of the history of the Grand Canyon.
Additional Podcast: “Echoes from the Canyon,” a single episode featuring mysteries, folklore, and disappearances that have taken place in the Grand Canyon.
7. Great Smoky Mountain National Park
New this year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park started a podcast dedicated to the experiences of African Americans in the park on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. “Black Voices of Appalachia Oral History Project” features interviews from 2018-2023 about the history of African Americans in Appalachia. One episode features Daniel White, the most renowned African American to hike the Appalachian Trail.
Additional Podcast: “Smoky Signal” has two episodes dedicated to the science in the Smokies from how plant species are connecting citizens of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to the lands, and how decades-old specimens are helping scientists learn about the park’s history.
8. Haleakalā National Park
No need to travel to Haleakalā National Park to stargaze, just lay out a blanket in your backyard. “Stars Above Haleakalā” looks at how we are connected to the Earth and the Universe. The episodes give you a new perspective on astronomy. A ranger discusses the secrets of the summer solstice and you’ll learn about the science and significance of the Geminids.
9. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Storer College alumni share stories from one of the nation’s first schools for African Americans in the podcast “Storer Stories.” The school was located in Harpers Ferry until 1955. Originally a national monument, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in West Virginia. The episodes feature people discussing their experiences on the campus during the ’40s and ’50s as part of the 2014 Storer College Oral History Project.
10. Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
From the home of Harry S Truman, at the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Kansas City, Missouri, the “Dear Bess and Dear Harry” podcast shares stories, letters, and interesting information about the 33rd President of the United States and his wife, Bess Truman. The items shared come from the collection at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.
11. Joshua Tree National Park
“Where Two Deserts Meet” is narrated by Donovan Smith and Ian Chadwick. The rangers look at Joshua Tree National Park’s wildlife, night skies, landscape, and the podcast’s namesake. The title comes from the transition zone between the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, which come together in Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California. The two have distinct desert ecosystems with a diverse range of plants and animals.
12. Lassen Volcanic National Park
Rangers from Lassen Volcanic National Park tell stories about the park in the podcast, “The Lavocast,” appropriately named since the park is known for its volcanoes, including Lassen Peak Volcano. Rangers discuss topics such as the use of vintage tools used in the forests, and how to figure out the alpha code for your favorite park.
13. Point Reyes National Seashore
Discover the science in Point Reyes National Seashore in a series called “The Natural Laboratory.” The podcast explores the 80 miles of shoreline in northern California. Season 2 focuses on black abalone, its history, and how scientists are trying to save them. Season 1 looks at the historic fire season in 2020, the damage it caused, the recovery, and how the seashore’s 1,500 species are impacted by wildfires.
14. Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve
To learn about the nature, history, and culture of Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve in Kansas, check out the podcast, “Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve Podcast Library.” Episodes dive into the Spring Hill Ranch House — a 4-level ranch house built in 1881 — and how it represents the change that took place in the American West from small ranches to the modern cattle industry.
15. Voyageurs National Park
For a look at the wildlife projects taking place on the 218,055 acres of Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota, check out “Science Snapshot.” In one episode, a field biologist discusses bats, their connection to the park, and projects taking place. The lakes, wetlands, and forests that make up this park are home to many bird species. In another episode, the field biologist discusses forest breeding bird surveys and why they’re so important.
16. Yellowstone National Park
“Telemetry: The Sound of Science in Yellowstone” is an interesting look deep into the famous park in Wyoming. Named because “telemetry” means the wireless transmission of information, this podcast from Yellowstone National Park takes listeners to the depths of the famous geysers by talking with scientists who monitor them, on a history lesson about the challenges with bison conservation, and through a family’s encounter with a grizzly bear.
17. National Park Service Podcast
In “A Sense of Place: Stories of Stewardship from the National Park Service,” you’ll hear stories from those who protect and care for America’s parks. Rangers will give you a new perspective on the parks from who to call when you have trouble in the park, to hiring a diverse and inclusive team, to who makes sure you can find your way around our parks, this podcast gives you a look inside the Park History Program’s oral history.
18. We Will Rise: National Parks and Civil Rights
This series looks at how national parks aren’t just wilderness, but also a space to remember stories of our past and their place in history. Park rangers, researchers, authors, and activists discuss what justice means on these protected lands.
19. Talkin’ Jazz At The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
This single episode features saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, and composer, Rex Gregory talking about his life and career. The park is located near the French Quarter in the Tremé neighborhood. Established in 1994, it celebrates where jazz came from and its evolution over time.
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