We are all aware of many of America’s most famous national parks due to the spotlight consistently on them. However, there are many other lesser known beauties that are doing what they do best which is protect some of the world’s most unspoiled scenery. These national parks are great for those people who enjoy taking the road less traveled. So, for anyone interested in giving these overlooked national parks a chance, you could discover of the most gorgeous and least crowded places in America. Here are some national parks you might not think to visit.
Gates of the Arctic (Alaska)
The Gates of the Arctic is located entirely above the Arctic Circle and is one of America’s least visited national parks. In fact, only about 10,000 adventurous souls visit the area each year. This park is great for people who enjoy a pristine wilderness without any roads or trails. It simply has a vast backcountry filled with jagged peaks, a sweeping tundra, along with abundant wildlife like caribou, musk ox, Dall sheep, and grizzly bears. Keep in mind, this untamed park is not for everyone, but that is exactly what makes it so special.
North Cascades (Washington State)
Every year over two million visitors flock to enjoy Montana’s Glacier National Park to see the 25 remaining glaciers. However, less than 25,000 people visit the North Cascades National Park, which actually contains over 300 glaciers which is roughly one-third of all the glaciers in the lower 48.
Isle Royale (Michigan)
The remote archipelago known as Isle Royale is tucked away in northwest Lake Superior. It is the least visited national park in the lower 48 states. It welcomes less than 20,000 people each year and is accessible by boat or seaplane only. Some of the highlights of the park include spending the night at Rock Harbor Lodge, paddling along the rocky coast, hiking to remote campsites, and even viewing some of its wildlife like moose and wolves.
Channel Islands (California)
While it lies just off the coast of Santa Barbara, the five-island archipelago is one of the least visited national parks in California. It is often called the Galapagos of North American due to the wildlife which includes nearly 400 bird species along with hundreds of thousands of seals and sea lions. Visitors have the opportunity to scuba dive in kelp forests, kayak through the sea caves, and even hike mountains to scan the horizon for migrating blue and gray whales.