Danita Dellmont/Getty Images
Cailey Rizzo
August 16, 2016

There are as many ways to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial as there are parks to explore (over 400). But for those who have difficulty narrowing down a decision, there’s an easy way to just do them all.

Randy Olson, a data scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, fashioned together an itinerary for the ultimate national parks road trip.

There are 59 well-known, protected lands that are the most famous parts of the National Park Service. Of these, 12 are on Hawaii, Alaska or other U.S. territories. Olson’s computer-generated itinerary hits all 47 locations in the continental U.S. for an unforgettable, comprehensive, whirlwind tour.

Go to Olson's interactive map here.

By the end of the journey, travelers will have covered 14,498 miles of road. It takes about two months to complete the entire road trip if “traveling at a breakneck pace,” according to Olson. His route was optimized to hit every landmark by the smallest possible driving distance.

Travelers start in perhaps the most iconic park: the Grand Canyon. From there, the trip moves east, across Texas and down to Florida. The path then snakes up the east coast until travelers reach Acadia National Park in Maine. Then it snakes through the north and back down to Utah, almost to the origin point.

But before travelers start to retrace their steps, they’re taken back up to the country’s northern border and then down the west coast, where they end at California’s Death Valley National Park—a fitting last stop for the end of a whirlwind trip.

Cailey Rizzo writes about travel, art and culture and is the founding editor of  The Local Dive. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @misscaileyanne.

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