The Best US National Parks You've Never Heard Of
The United States has an amazing National Park System, which preserves some of the most unique, beautiful, and fun natural landscapes found throughout the country.
Some of the 58 parks get millions of visitors each year, but some others are a little less well-known, but equally amazing. If you want to beat the crowds and enjoy some of the most amazing scenery in the country try one or all of these national parks.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO
The magnificent canyon at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was formed by the waters of the Gunnison River. This unique canyon is deep, with a narrow opening and almost vertical canyon walls. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a fantastic destination for hiking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, and it also has a great scenic drive. Experienced rock climbers may want to try climbing the difficult vertical walls of the canyon. The canyon is known for its high walls and crumply rock, which makes it appropriate for only the most experienced rock climbers.
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Capitol Reef National Park preserves an amazing geologic formation called the Waterpocket Fold. The Waterpocket Fold stretches for almost 100 miles and is a warp in the Earth's crust. Visitors to Capitol Reef National Park can see the scenic sandstone domes in the Capitol Reef area, the free-standing monoliths in the Cathedral Valley, the lush vegetation and orchards of Fruita and much more. In addition, Capitol Reef National Park is filled with recreational activities, including backpacking, picking fruit in the orchards when in season, hiking, rock climbing and much more.
Great Basin National Park, NV
Great Basin National Park is a great example of Nevada's natural environment. This park is located in the shadow of Wheeler Peak. Visitors can see the stunning marble cave with stalactites, stalagmites and more on a Lehman Cave Tour. On the 12 mile Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive visitors can enjoy view of the valleys and mountains. Throughout the park visitors can enjoy backcountry hiking, including overnight backcountry adventures. Another special feature of the park is the Bristlecone Pine Trail on which visitors can see the oldest living organisms in the world, 5,000 year old Bristlecone Pine Trees. Great Basin National Park is also known for its amazing night skies, which can be enjoyed during overnight stays and at one of the parks Astronomy Programs.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK
This unique Alaskan destination covers over 13 million acres and is the largest unit in the National Park System. Those travelers looking to experience wilderness exploration are sure to find an adventure in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Located in the southeastern corner of Alaska, this park provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of recreational activities. There are a variety of rafting options along the rivers within the park, and there are even areas that are ideal for sea kayaking. Visitors can also enjoy backcountry trips, mountaineering, fishing and much more.
North Cascades National Park Complex, WA
This National Park Complex is composed of the North Cascades National Park, and the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Within these three parks, visitors will discover the amazing scenery of the North Cascades, including peaks, waterfalls, and more than 300 glaciers. The North Cascades National Park is filled with hiking trails, some that are fairly easy and others that are rigorous, steep, mountain climbs. Visitors can also enjoy climbing, boating, fishing, and more throughout the year. Access into the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is limited to passenger ferry from Chelan to Stehekin or plane into Stehekin.
Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
The Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great park to view some of the volcanic areas of the Cascade Range. There are 30 volcanoes that have been active in the last 300,000 years located within Lassen Volcanic National Park. Lassen Volcanic National Park has many fascinating outdoor activities. There are miles of trails ranging from difficult to easy. Most of the time you can hike up to Lassen Peak. In the Lassen Volcanic National Park you can view many hydrothermal areas. There are steam and volcanic-gas vents, called fumaroles, as well as mud pots, steaming ground and boiling pools. One of the best areas to see the park's hydrothermal areas is at Bumpass Hell.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX
Guadalupe Mountains National Park extends from the low desert to the high mountains, encompassing the wide variety of plant and animal life within these different ecosystems. Visitors to this park can enjoy over 80 miles of trails throughout the park, which travel through canyons, woodlands, springs, mountainous wilderness and more. McKittrick Canyon has beautiful limestone walls, and Dog Canyon is a wonderful forested canyon at the edge of the wilderness in the park. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is also home to the Salt Basin Dunes, which are a fascinating, windswept landscape.
Dry Tortugas National Park, FL
Located 70 miles west of Key West, this cluster of seven islands is a great destination to enjoy some of Florida's nature. The islands are composed of coral reefs and sand, and they are famous for their bird and marine life. There are also legends of pirates and sunken gold. Visitors can also enjoy Fort Jefferson, which is the largest 19th century American coastal fort.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is divided into two units, a northern unit and a southern unit. Between the two sections, this park gives visitors the opportunity to experience some of North Dakota's unique scenery, including the Badlands, painted canyons and more. The hiking trails allow visitors to see some of this countries natural wonders and amazing wildlife.
Isle Royale National Park, MI
Isle Royale is one of the United States special parks. The islands isolation means that it is only accessible by boat. Once there, you can enjoy the wilderness that has been protected by its isolation. The island has a beautiful, rugged coast that can be explored by canoe or kayak. You can also explore the island by hiking its many trails. Another unique feature of the island are the shipwrecks, which can also be explored.