It's finally getting easier to keep your carbon footprint down in National Parks

Sunset over Grand Canyon, USA
The Grand Canyon is the latest US National Park to install more electric chargers (Image credit: Getty)

As the famous Wallace Stegner quote goes, our National Parks are the best idea we ever had. The 63 parks provide opportunities for people from all backgrounds to experience the majesty of nature. But as well all know, accessing them often means leaving behind a rather large carbon footprint  – until now.

With a few exceptions, such as visiting Glacier National Park by train and taking the YART bus to Yosemite, to explore America's National Parks, you need to do a lot of driving. Not only are virtually all parks positioned in remote areas that require a lot of road time just to reach, many are sprawling sites that can take hours to drive across (the largest is Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias, which at 13.2 million acres is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Vermont combined).

However, Grand Canyon National Park's infrastructure system has just been given an upgrade that will make visiting this bucket list spot easier for drivers of electric vehicles, by installing six fast chargers at the south entrance. The chargers are DC fast chargers with speeds of between 150 kW and 350 kW, meaning drivers will be able to charge their batteries quickly and then move on to see one of world's natural wonders while the next driver charges up. Of course, once your car is charged, the greenest way to explore is to park it and get your hiking boots on and set off on the trails.

Though EV drivers still won't be able to travel from the south rim to the north rim – that's a five-hour drive – the addition extends a charging network between the park and Las Vegas, which is a popular route for visitors. Electric chargers are currently few and far between in National Parks, but the park now joins Yellowstone, Yosemite and Mesa Verde as EV-friendly National Parks.

The chargers were installed by EV charging company Electrify America, which according to its website have installed over 3,700 fast chargers in 46 states since 2018. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.