The National Park Service was one of the most ingenious things that America has undertaken. Huge areas of beautiful public land are protected forever, for people and wildlife to enjoy together.
Many of the National Parks are absolutely slammed during peak months, with The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone receiving over 10 million visitors a year. Obviously these gems are visually spectacular, but for some of us, the crowds are a big enough turn-off to want to explore other parks.
Luckily, on the other end of the spectrum, there are National Parks that receive under 10,000 visitors in an entire year, giving you free reign to explore nature on your own terms.
Here are the five least visited National Parks in the United States, each of which is definitely worthy of your visit. Via T&L
1. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
The very least visited of the park system, Gates of the Arctic received just 7,362 visitors in 2021. The park is massive, with over seven million fifty-two thousand acres of public lands.
One of the reasons it’s the least visited is the complete lack of trails or roads, meaning it really is wild natural land. A visit here requires preparation and toughness, but will be rewarded with incredible mountain vistas, as well as the opportunity to see bear, caribou, moose, and wolves.
2. National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa
The second-least visited National Park is smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a full 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii. The park is also one of the most remote in the world, which is the main reason it only had 8,495 visitors in 2021.
With nearly a thousand species of tropical fish, a vast train network, and unspoiled, empty sand beaches, National Park of American Samoa is truly a gem, and one you can basically have to yourself on a visit. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about Somoan culture while you’re there.
3. Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
Another Alaskan national park makes the list, this time near the west coast of the state. Kobuk Valley hosts over a half million caribou as they migrate through, but that’s about as crowded as the park will feel.
Home to the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, the is entirely above the arctic circle, and like Gates of the Arctic, it has no roads, entrance gates, or campgrounds.
4. North Cascades National Park, Washington
North Cascades National Park doesn’t have the remoteness of the other parks on this list, so it’s low attendance is more of a mystery. Just three hours from Seattle, this beautiful alpine landscape is home to some of the most snowfall on the planet, and boasts stunning glacial trails and year-round activities like rafting, horseback riding, and backpacking.
With 30,000 visitors a year, the park is still a fraction of places like Yosemite or Yellowstone, so enjoy the solitude.
5. Lake Clark National Park and Reserve, Alaska
Yet a third Alaskan National Park makes our list, showing just how vast and full of wonder the 50th state really is.
About 100 miles from Anchorage, the park is easier to travel to than some of the others on the list, yet still has just 14,000 visitors a year. No roads lead to the park, so entrance is made by boat or seaplane. Many people that have made it a quest to visit most of the National Parks say that Lake Clark is one of the very best.
The park covers 4,030,015 acres, and is home to significant populations of brown bear, as well as salmon, bald eagle, and timber wolf.
Let us know if you’ve had the opportunity to visit these lesser known and lesser visited National Parks.