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NATIONAL PARK JOBS: The Best (and Worst) You Can Get

Have you ever wanted to get paid to hang out and explore National Parks? You can! 

You can even choose which park you want to work at and the season, too! Sound too good to be true? 

Well, it is, and it isn’t. 

Not all National Park jobs are awesome… but the locations are! 

Today, we’re sharing the five best and worst National Park jobs (and how to get one). 

How To Get National Park Jobs

Pretty much anyone can work at a National Park; there are so many more job opportunities than being a Park Ranger!

While you can get work with the National Park Service, there are many more seasonal opportunities to work for National Parks through concessioners. 

What Is a National Park Concessioner? 

Concessioners at National Parks run many day-to-day park operations such as food, lodging, adventures, tours, and more. These businesses offer goods and services to park visitors that are not normally offered by the National Parks Service. 

National Park concessioners employ over 25,000 people annually throughout different services and businesses within the National Parks around the country. 

Where to Find Seasonal National Park Jobs

You can find seasonal National Park jobs through the concessioners themselves. Or, you can use websites like CoolWorks to see all jobs posted at all parks from all concessioners in one place. 

CoolWorks is a leading website that connects people with awesome jobs in exciting destinations… including National Parks! Using the CoolWorks website, you can filter by season, region, state, National Park, and so much more. 

If you have a favorite National Park that you’ve always dreamed of spending more time in, check out the job listings on CoolWorks!

Pro Tip: Here’s an interview we had with four different RV workampers.

Types of National Park Jobs

The types of National Park Jobs run the gamut from hospitality food service to tour guides, janitorial, and more. 

There is truly a job for everyone – no matter your experience or background. Some common National Park Jobs include: 

  • Front Desk Service
  • Server
  • Bartender
  • Cook
  • Cashier
  • Tour Guide
  • Maintenance
  • Housekeeping
  • Retail
  • And so much more. 

5 Best National Park Jobs

Okay, let’s be honest here… ANY job in a National Park would be fantastic. The ability to live, work, and play in some of the most beautiful and untouched places in the country?

Sign us up! But some jobs are admittedly way more extraordinary than others. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Wildlife Tour Guide in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

This wildlife tour job sounds too good to be true… It pays $180-$300 per DAY! And that’s to take guests on wildlife tours, seeing wildlife up close.

This job sounds incredible. 

2. Retail Associate – Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is arguably one of the most beautiful National Parks in the US. Working as a retail associate at Glacier pays decent and comes with housing… but the best part about this job is the ability to literally live in Glacier National Park!

Best of all, the park isn’t as insanely crowded as Yosemite or Yellowstone.

3. Whitewater Raft Guide near Sequoia NP

This job isn’t located inside of a National Park, but its close proximity to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks can’t be beaten. 

Yes… This seems like a skilled job position. However upon further inspection, the listing notes that no experience is required for this whitewater rafting guide job! Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions will train it’s guides through their own Whitewater School – making this job an excellent choice!

Not only will you have a superb job in a great location, but you’ll walk away with a valuable skill you can use to get work in other whitewater destinations. 

4. Off-Road Jeep Tour Guide in Capitol Reef

Like off-roading? Be a Jeep tour guide in Capitol Reef National Park! This sounds like the perfect job for many RVers we know. 

The pay for this awesome job is $20 an hour to take backroad trails through the Capitol Reef area and haul tourists around while seeing incredible sights. 

5 Sport River Fishing Guide – Kenai NP

If you’re into sport fishing, this is an awesome job for you. And it’s in Alaska! What better way to spend a season than fishing in Alaska? We could think of worse things. 

This job is for experienced anglers and pays $150 per day plus tips. If you’ve always dreamt of fishing for a living, now is your chance. 

5 Worst National Park Jobs

As we said before, almost ANY job in a National Park is fantastic. It was challenging to find jobs to fit our “Worst National Park Jobs” list. Although these jobs are on the “Worst Jobs” list, they aren’t all bad! 

1. Night Auditor – Crater Lake

As a night auditor at Crater Lake, employees will work overnight performing audits using auditing software. This job earned a spot on the worst list by being a night shift job that sounds a bit tedious! 

You’ll have to sleep during the day and miss out on many fun activities.

If the overnight shift and tedious work haven’t deterred you, this job does provide housing, meals, and RV spots if desired. 

2. Dishwasher – Yosemite

Dishwashing doesn’t sound like our idea of a good time. But if it’s yours, there isn’t a better place to do it! The pay for this dishwashing position is $14 an hour.

Another downside of this dishwashing position is that housing is not provided.

The best National Park jobs provide housing or RV spots, but neither are offered with this job. 

3. Wildlife Tour Guide / Outdoor Enthusiast Near Grand Teton NP

This wildlife tour guide job sounds awesome; we can’t lie!

So, what landed it on the worst list?

No housing! Jackson, Wyoming, is a costly place to live, especially during tourist season. This position offers no housing and no assistance with finding housing. 

4. Cashier in Death Valley

This cashier position is located in Death Valley National Park and seems to pay pretty well. The primary issue with this job is that no housing is provided – which most travelers would appreciate!

But, also, Death Valley is an oven during the summer months.

The job listing says resources are provided to help find housing in the area. 

5. Custodian in Yellowstone

This job doesn’t sound so bad! That is if cleaning is your kind of thing. As a custodian in Yellowstone, you’ll be responsible for the interior and exterior cleanliness of general stores within Yellowstone National Parks.

Yes, we imagine that means bathrooms, too. If that doesn’t bother you, the pay is $11 per hour, and housing and meals are provided. 

There is No Bad Job at a National Park

We’ve said it at least three times now, and we’ll repeat it: National Parks have no terrible jobs. But some jobs are more tedious and more physical than others, that pay less or offer fewer amenities like meals and housing. 

Depending on your previous experience and your preferences, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find something you love in a park you’ve dreamed of spending more time in!

To see more National Park jobs or filter by preferences like location, RV site availability, and more, head over to the CoolWorks website here. 

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

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  1. Bob says:

    I was a national park ranger in Yosemite. That’s the best job. To me the worst job would be cleaning the public toilets. Absolutely necessary but not pleasant.

  2. Kort says:

    I worked at Yellowstone old faithful lodge as a porter for the fall season in 2022.
    Yes; I cleaned bathrooms.
    I WOULD CLEAN BATHROOMS AT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK ANY DAY. No problem. I enjoyed it a lot. It does not deserve to be on the worst jobs list.
    Housekeeping? Cleaning rooms? I did that a bit too and THAT definitely deserves to be on the worst jobs list.

  3. jd says:

    Stay away from black hills Forest Recreation Management. Worst federal concessionaire.