Top 10 Least Popular National Parks In the US That You Should Travel
Top 10 Least Popular National Parks In the US That You Should Travel
Table of Content

There are 423 parks in America’s National Park System, and though visitations have increased since the worst of the pandemic has passed, some continue to be overlooked by outdoor enthusiasts.

A bill creating the first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Rock Creek Park (later merged into National Capital Parks), Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

The National Park Service aggregates visitation data for various government land designations and visitation purposes. Only National Parks and National Preserves were considered. Designations such as National Monuments and National Historic Sites, which are frequently contained within National Parks and are often limited to single structures, were excluded. Parks that changed their reporting practices were not comparable to previous years, and therefore were also excluded.

Here are the 10 least popular national parks you should visit in the United States.

Why The National Parks Are America's Greatest Idea

1. Preserve Some of America’s Most Beautiful Places

Dropping man-made items into the geysers, persistently poaching wildlife, and exploiting resources are just a few of the problems that were faced in 1872 when Yellowstone was designated as the nation’s first National Park.

The National Park System has come a long way since that time, but the goal is still the same - we want to preserve our beautiful places! Whether it be mountains, deserts, beaches, or forests, adventurers desire to visit the parks year after year and witness the changes that only Mother Nature has made.

2. Keep Nature Wild

It is important to be able to hear the snap of the branches under a bear’s sturdy paws, the chit-chat of the squirrels perched high in the trees, or the haunting bugle of an elk echoing through the canyons without the confinement of a fence.

The national parks protect the rocks, the trees, and the wildlife as they are. We can do our part by leaving no trace and taking nothing but pictures. And trust me, even though the parks are seeing more crowds than ever, there are plenty of wild places left within them!

3. Offer the Most Spectacular Hiking Trails

Thousands of miles of trails have been developed to allow foot travel to some of the most incredible vistas on the planet!

4. Provide Access to Some of the Country’s Most Remote Areas

One lone road cuts its way through the vast wilderness of Denali National Park. Considering this park is comprised of more than 6 million acres of land, most of Denali still remains untouched by human hands. Thanks to this scenic road, visitors from all over the world are now able to marvel over the grandeur of the highest peak in North America.

A delicate balance between man-made infrastructure and the natural environment is difficult to maintain, but the National Park Service tries to provide access to some of the country’s most remote areas without compromising the integrity of the wilderness. It’s an ongoing process, but a whole world of exploration has opened up for the everyday traveler.

5. Show We Can Value Beauty Over Utilization When Necessary

A battle over the trees of the Olympic Peninsula had been raging for nearly 30 years when President Franklin Roosevelt decided to visit the area himself. The loggers were trying to convince him not to support the creation of Olympic National Park, arguing that a national park would ruin a suffering economy. Ultimately, the land was signed into protection and the last remaining stands of the rainforest were preserved.

6. Create a Sense of National Pride

Finding themselves in a country much younger than where they came from, immigrants to America yearned for something to identify with in their new homeland. This country may not have had any ancient cathedrals or great pyramids to preserve and protect, but it did have majestic mountain spires that reached toward the skies.

Every country in the world wants to safeguard the incredible wonders within its borders, and the United States is no different. However, early Americans found their treasures in the surrounding natural landscapes and created a system to preserve them. To foster a sense of national pride within yourself, visit a national park. You’ll be proud to be an American!

What are the least popular national parks you should visit in the United States?

1. Gates of the Arctic National Park

Photo: Travel Alaska
Photo: Travel Alaska

Location: Alaska

Visitor numbers (2019): 10,518

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, one of the finest wilderness areas in the world, straddles the Arctic Divide in the Brooks Range, America's northernmost chain of mountains. Second only to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in size, Gates of the Arctic covers 13,238 square miles and is entirely north of the Arctic Circle. It extends from the southern foothills of the Brooks Range, across the range's ragged peaks and down onto the North Slope.

With the exception of the Dalton Highway (famous for its depiction on Ice Road Truckers), the park is far from any roads and is home to only one village, Anaktuvuk Pass. Eight more Alaska Native villages dot the perimeter, but all have less than 400 permanent residents. In the simplest terms, Gates of the Arctic is a vast wilderness the size of Switzerland that contains no National Park Service facilities, visitor centers, or campgrounds.

Gates of the Arctic is a wilderness park, with no roads or trails, so visitors must fly or hike into the park. Access to the park begins in Fairbanks, with several small airlines that provide flights into the gateway communities of Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Coldfoot. The remoteness of the park attracts mostly experienced backcountry travelers for float trips, backpacking treks, or base camps set up to enjoy day hiking and fishing. Many visitors join guided trips that a handful of outfitters offer in summer for rafting and hiking, or in the winter for dog mushing and cross-country skiing. Either as an independent traveler or as part of guided expedition, a visit to Gates of the Arctic requires careful planning and advance reservations.

Most hikers and backpackers follow the long, open valleys for extended treks or work their way to higher elevations where open tundra and sparse shrubs provide good hiking terrain and expansive views. Regardless of where you hike, trekking in the Arctic is a challenge that rewards with solitude, adventure, and spectacular vistas.

2. Kobuk Valley National Park

Photo: National Park
Photo: National Park

Location: Alaska

Visitor numbers (2019): 15,766

Kobuk Valley National Park is a 1.7-million-acre park in Arctic Alaska that occupies a broad valley where the middle section of the Kobuk River is encircled by the Baird and Waring Mountain ranges. Located 75 miles east of Kotzebue, this semi-enclosed bowl protects several unique geological features and is on the migration route of the Western Arctic caribou herd.

The slow-moving Kobuk River offers extraordinary wilderness float trip opportunities through scenic boreal forests teeming with wildlife. Boaters can access Salmon River by packing their boats from high mountain airstrips to the river's headwaters. Collapsible kayaks, collapsible canoes, and packrafts are recommended for the river's slow-moving waters. Other activities include backpacking, fishing, dog sledding, wildlife viewing, and hiking.

There are no designated hiking trails or campgrounds within the park. The best backcountry hiking can be found in the mountains, with expansive views and more solid footing than the spongy lowland tundra. Popular areas to camp and explore on foot are the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes and Onion Portage, where the Western Arctic caribou herd migrates across the Kobuk River twice a year on their annual migration.

Flightseeing is another great way to take in the park’s unique sites and wildlife. Air charter companies in Kotzebue and Bettles offer flightseeing trips over the park, including options to land in the park for some up-close exploration.

3. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

Photo: National Park Service
Photo: National Park Service

Location: Alaska

Visitor numbers (2019): 17,157

Only 100 miles southwest from Anchorage, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve holds some of Alaska's finest scenery: An awesome array of mountains, glaciers, granite spires, thundering waterfalls, waved-washed coastline, and the largest lake in the state.

Visitors to the park are usually a mix of anglers, river runners, wildlife enthusiasts, and experienced backpackers. Within the park are three designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers — Chilikadrotna, Tlikakila, and Mulchatna Rivers — that have long been havens for rafters and paddlers in inflatable canoes and kayaks. Lake Clark's watershed is one of the world's most important producers of Bristol Bay red salmon, contributing a third of the annual harvest, making the park a popular spot for sportfishing. The rivers and lakes feature outstanding fishing for salmon, Arctic char, Arctic grayling, Dolly Varden, northern pike, lake trout, and rainbow trout.

Many activities such as backcountry hiking, camping, birding, kayaking, and rafting require careful planning and time commitment in this vast wilderness. Because of the park's proximity to Alaska's largest city, many visitors interested in fishing, flightseeing, or bear viewing can visit the park for just for a day on a float plane.

4. Big Bend National Park

Photo; AARPP
Photo; AARPP

> Recreation visits in 2021: 581,220

> Share of all National Park recreation visits in 2021: 0.20% — #32 largest out of 52

> Recreation visits in 2017: 440,276 — #35 most

> Share of all National Park recreation visits in 2017: 0.13% — #35 most

> 5-year change in visits 32.0% — #8 largest increase

Deep river gorges sparkle down below. Canyons cut through the isolated Chisos Mountains. The Rio Grande tranquilly passes through West Texas, through space and time, carrying the secrets of millennia in her waters.

Visitors will be drawn to geological structures that date back millions of years, as well as 1,200 species of plants and 450 species of birds. Additional park activities include scenic drives, programs led by Big Bend park rangers, and stargazing.

Big Bend National Park is located in the southwestern part of Texas along the Texas-Mexico border. Big Bend was established as a national park in June of 1935, preserving the largest tracts of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States.

The park is comprised of 1,252 square miles of land, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island. Within Big Bend National Park are numerous geographical contrasts. These include the vegetation belts along the Rio Grande, the sparseness of the Chihuahuan Desert, the peaks of the Chisos Mountains, and the limestone outcrops of Persimmon Gap and Boquillas Canyon.

Due to a variety of geographical regions, Big Bend National Park weather can vary widely. Winters are mild throughout most of the area, but snow and sub-freezing temperatures can be found at higher elevations, such as Emory Peak, which stands at 7,832 feet. Summers feature hot and dry weather with low humidity. However, occasional afternoon thunderstorms are not out of the question during this time. Spring and fall are the best times to visit Big Bend, with mild days and cool nights.

Big Bend Park is open 24 hours a day, year round. Admission is $20 per vehicle or $10 per individual on motorcycle or bike and is valid for seven days. Annual passes are also available. Entrance fees are waived for educational groups. The Chisos Basin Visitor Center is a great resource for park information or a Big Bend National Park map.

5. Isle Royale National Park

Photo: National Park Foundation
Photo: National Park Foundation

Location: Michigan

Visitor numbers (2019): 26,410

Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park encompasses 850 square miles of natural wilderness, spacious lands, and aquatic life.

A cool climate, crystal-clear waters, and the wild North Woods forest characterize Isle Royale National Park. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extend over four miles out into Lake Superior, and 99% of the land mass is federally designated wilderness. The archipelago is composed of numerous parallel ridges, the result of ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated.

Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers, paddlers, and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses, and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife. Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane.

With the park completely closed from November to mid-April, late June through September are among the best months to visit. Summer temperatures can drop to 40°F at night, so you’ll want to bring layers. Pack accordingly to fend off pesky mosquitoes, blackflies, and gnats, which peak in June and July. Expect the warmer weather found in late July and August to ripen blueberries and thimbleberries around the park.

Upon arrival by boat, be prepared to whatever you may need during your visit. The 36 campsites all offer tent areas, water sources, and restrooms. Permits are required to camp on the island overnight, as are advance campground reservations for groups of seven or more. Isle of Royale is only accessible via commercial or National Park Service boat, so we recommend making ferry reservations well in advance from either Copper Harbor, Houghton, or Grand Portage. Ferry times range from 1.5 - 3.5 hours in duration, depending on the starting point.

6. Kings Canyon National Park

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

> Recreation visits in 2021: 562,918

> Share of all National Park recreation visits in 2021: 0.19% — #33 largest out of 52

> Recreation visits in 2017: 692,932 — #27 most

> Share of all National Park recreation visits in 2017: 0.21% — #27 most

> 5-year change in visits -18.8% — #12 largest decline

Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, the park was greatly expanded and renamed to Kings Canyon National Park on March 4, 1940. The park's namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile (1,600 m) deep. Other natural features include multiple 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, and some of the world's largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, and both parks are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The majority of the 461,901-acre (186,925 ha) park, drained by the Middle and South Forks of the Kings River and many smaller streams, is designated wilderness. Tourist facilities are concentrated in two areas: Grant Grove, home to General Grant (the second largest tree in the world, measured by trunk volume) and Cedar Grove, located in the heart of Kings Canyon. Overnight hiking is required to access most of the park's backcountry, or high country, which for much of the year is covered in deep snow. The combined Pacific Crest Trail/John Muir Trail, a backpacking route, traverses the entire length of the park from north to south.

General Grant National Park was initially created to protect a small area of giant sequoias from logging. Although John Muir's visits brought public attention to the huge wilderness area to the east, it took more than fifty years for the rest of Kings Canyon to be designated a national park. Environmental groups, park visitors and many local politicians wanted to see the area preserved; however, development interests wanted to build hydroelectric dams in the canyon. Even after President Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the park in 1940, the fight continued until 1965, when the Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley dam sites were finally annexed into the park.

7. North Cascades National Park

Photo: Thrillist
Photo: Thrillist

Location: Washington

Visitor numbers (2019): 38,208

Just three hours from Seattle, North Cascades National Park’s rugged beauty is characterized by jagged peaks, deep forested valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 300 glaciers — more than any other U.S. park outside of Alaska. Thousands of voices from the past crackle to life in this alpine landscape, from Native Americans to early European and American fur traders and explorers to homesteaders and miners, all of which called this land home.

The largest in the North Cascades National Park Complex, the park is managed alongside nearby Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Visitors today can explore a range of outdoor activities, scenic vistas, and educational opportunities — from a scenic drive and a picnic to miles of trails ready for hiking or biking.

Visit the North Cascades between mid-June and late-September, when the weather is perfect for a daylong hike. If you’re interested in exploring the park by car, autumn and spring have become popular times to see Skagit, Okanogan and Stehekin Valleys.

Storms are common in the North Cascades. You’ll want to pack warm, waterproof clothing, and — if you’re camping — a tent. At high elevations in the winter, heavy snow and rain are to be expected, with avalanches occurring in winter and spring. Make sure to layer up for this trip and remember, the higher you go, the more likely it is you’ll see snow.

If you’re planning to visit the east side of the Cascade Mountains, expect drier, warmer weather. At Stehekin, summer temperatures can hit 90° F.

From the temperate rainforest of the wet west to the dry ponderosa pine ecosystem of the east, North Cascades National Park encompasses diverse landscapes with over 9,000 feet of vertical relief. Within the park you’ll see a wide array of plants and wildlife. So far, over 1,600 species have been identified within the park’s boarders. Mule deer, black bears, mountain goats, and bobcats call this exquisite habitat home.

8. Mesa Verde National Park

Photo: 5280 Magazine
Photo: 5280 Magazine

> Recreation visits in 2021: 548,477

> Share of all National Park recreation visits in 2021: 0.18% — #34 largest out of 52

> Recreation visits in 2017: 613,788 — #30 most

> Share of all National Park recreation visits in 2017: 0.19% — #30 most

> 5-year change in visits -10.6% — #18 largest decline

In 1978, Mesa Verde National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its exceptional archaeological relevance. Protecting thousands of archaeological sites, including hundreds of cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde National Park is perched high in Southwest Colorado where the air is thin, the history is rich, and the views are spectacular.

Starting c. 7500 BC Mesa Verde was seasonally inhabited by a group of nomadic Paleo-Indians known as the Foothills Mountain Complex. The variety of projectile points found in the region indicates they were influenced by surrounding areas, including the Great Basin, the San Juan Basin, and the Rio Grande Valley. Later, Archaic people established semi-permanent rock shelters in and around the mesa. By 1000 BC, the Basketmaker culture emerged from the local Archaic population, and by 750 AD the Ancestral Puebloans had developed from the Basketmaker culture.

The Mesa Verdeans survived using a combination of hunting, gathering, and subsistence farming of crops such as corn, beans, and squash. They built the mesa's first pueblos sometime after 650, and by the end of the 12th century, they began to construct the massive cliff dwellings for which the park is best known. By 1285, following a period of social and environmental instability driven by a series of severe and prolonged droughts, they abandoned the area and moved south to locations in Arizona and New Mexico, including the Rio Chama, the Albuquerque Basin, the Pajarito Plateau, and the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

9. National Park of American Samoa

Photo: National Park Service
Photo: National Park Service

Location: American Samoa

Visitor numbers (2019): 60,006

Discover the National Park of American Samoa’s awe-inspiring scenery—the beach, volcano, rain forest, and coral reef combine to create a truly magical experience.

American Samoa offers rugged cliffs, glistening beaches, biologically rich coral reefs, and tropical rainforests inhabited by many unique birds and fish.

The Samoan culture is considered the oldest in all of Polynesia. The first people to the Samoan islands came by sea from southeast Asia some 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries, distinct cultural traits emerged collectively called fa'asamoa, the Samoan way.

American Samoa consists of five inhabited volcanic islands clothed in tropical rainforest. The park is located on three separate islands—Tutuila, Ofu, and Tau. It is comprised of 9,100 acres of land and ocean, leasing the land from seven villages to create a unique partnership of preservation and protection.

The National Park of American Samoa, meaning “sacred earth,” is the only US national park located in the Southern Hemisphere.

The National Park of American Samoa has year-round rain and humidity, with higher rainfall November through May. You can count on consistently humid 80°F days with frequent, short-lived, rain showers cooling off the islands throughout the day. And remember, American Samoa summer seasons are opposite the continental US since it’s located south of the equator.

Want to see below the water’s surface? Try scuba diving or snorkeling to explore the protected coral reef and observe tropical wildlife. If you prefer to stay on land, there are several trails for all hikers—from the novice looking for an afternoon stroll to the adventurist seeking a strenuous challenge.

If you are looking to fully immerse yourself in the Samoan lifestyle, check out the Homestay Program. Local village residents around the national park open their homes and kitchens to accommodate visitors, providing you with the opportunity to authentically learn the South Pacific way of life.

10. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

Photo: Travel Alaska
Photo: Travel Alaska

Location: Alaska

Visitor numbers (2019): 74,518

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest unit of the U.S. National Park System, and with its high peaks and massive glaciers, it is also one of the most spectacular. Wrangell-St. Elias stretches from one of the tallest peaks in North America, Mount St. Elias at 18,008 feet, out to the ocean on the Gulf of Alaska.

Due to its sheer size and mountainous terrain, access to much of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is limited to hearty adventurers who fly into the park for backcountry hiking, mountaineering, and rafting. Visitor services in this national park are limited when compared to other major parks like Denali National Park and Preserve, but visitors who are willing to put in the extra time and effort to access this spectacular national park will find endless opportunities for hiking, camping, rafting, glacier trekking, wildlife viewing, and stepping back in time into Alaska’s mining history.

Visitors who want to explore the park from the road system have three main access points: the Copper Center Visitor Center on the west side of the park, the Nabesna Road on the north side of the park, and the McCarthy Road/Kennecott Mine in the center of the park. Each area offers its own unique set of experiences and adventures.

Wildlife is abundant in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and includes Dall sheep and mountain goats in the alpine region, caribou around the Wrangell Mountains to the north, and moose in the bogs and brushy areas of the lowlands. Bison were released in Copper River Valley in 1950 and along the Chitina River in 1962, and remnants of those herds remain today. Black and brown bears roam throughout the park.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is often called “the mountain kingdom of North America,” as the Chugach, Wrangell, and St. Elias Mountain Ranges converge in an area the size of six Yellowstone National Parks. The St. Elias Range merges with the Wrangells in the heart of the park and then arcs eastward past the Canadian border, where it forms the highest coastal range in the world.

Within the park's borders are nine of the sixteen highest peaks in the country, including the second highest, Mount St. Elias at 18,008 feet, Mount Bona at 16,421 feet, Mount Blackburn at 16,390 feet, and Mount Sanford at 16,237 feet. From its glaciated roof of mountains and peaks, the park's terrain descends to the north as treeless tundra and then boreal-forested uplands. To the south, the glaciers extend from the mountains almost to the tidewaters of the Gulf of Alaska.

Top 10 America’s Most Visited National Parks

1. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is like the set of a movie that’s so grand you know it’s fake, but you don’t care because it’s delicious to look at; the kind of flick where the art director was given carte blanche and didn’t worry about believability. The crew put together a guide full of Zion tips for all ages and abilities, from mild meanderings along Pa-rus Trail to wildly spectacular views from Angels Landing (which now requires a hiking permit, BTW). And, of course, a “hidden gem” where you can escape the crowds is included because we’re cool like that.

2. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the 42nd U.S. Congress with the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially the Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular. While it represents many types of biomes, the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.

3. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park encompasses canyons, river tributaries, and surrounding grounds. The Grand Canyon is situated in Arizona's northwestern quadrant. With millions of visitors making the trip to the canyon each year, this park is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. In addition, the park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

4. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. With majestic peaks in every direction, wildlife roaming the valleys and some of the most incredible outdoor adventures on the planet, it is no wonder more than three million people flock to the park each year.

5. Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is an American national park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres (1,300 km2), the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service–managed John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18-million-acre (73,000-square-kilometer) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world's largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.

6. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park in beautiful Mariposa County welcomes you to experience this majestic park in all four seasons. Explore things to do, such as seeing awe-inspiring vistas, granite icons, breath-taking waterfalls, and discovering fascinating history, all while staying in Yosemite and Mariposa County. Whether it’s your first time visiting Yosemite National Park or you’re a seasoned veteran traveler, you’ll always find something new to do here.

7. Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park is a United States national park located in northwestern Indiana managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966 as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and was redesignated as the nation's 61st national park on February 15, 2019. The park runs for about 20 miles (32 km) along the southern shore of Lake Michigan and covers 15,349 acres (6,212 ha). Along the lakefront, the eastern area is roughly the lake shore south to U.S. 12 or U.S. 20 between Michigan City, Indiana, on the east and the ArcelorMittal steel plant on the west.

8. Glacier National Park

Explore things to see and do in Glacier National Park. Established as a National Park in 1910 it is a land of mountain ranges carved by prehistoric ice rivers. It features alpine meadows, deep forests, waterfalls, about 25 glistening glaciers and 200 sparkling lakes. The vistas seen from Going-To-The-Sun Road are breathtaking, a photographer's paradise. Relatively few miles of road exist in the park's 1,600 square miles of picturesque landscape, thus preserving its primitive and unspoiled beauty.

9. Joshua Tree National Park

With nearly 800,000 acres of mystical beauty, Joshua Tree National Park is undoubtedly one of the world’s most incredible natural desert treasures. Sweeping, grand in scale and populated by granite monoliths and voluptuous rock and boulder formations, the park offers wonder to eco-travelers, outdoor adventurists, and naturalists. Two large ecosystems come together to form this quiet land, conducive to meditation and roaming, that have been carved by extremes in climate from wind to rain to an ever-present, relentless sun. Evidence of many diverse forms of plant life from creosote and ocotillo are found everywhere, but none as unique or prevalent as the park’s namesake: the Joshua tree, standing majestically across the vast topography. During the day, life may seem scarce since the park is largely nocturnal – featuring reptiles and animals that adapt to the lack of water and high temperatures by going underground.

10. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a United States national park located in the State of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. Within the park there are three distinct ecosystems, including subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific coast.

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