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15 unknown National Parks everyone should Visit

September 19, 2018 4 min read

15 Unknown national parks everyone should visit. Do you know about these parks? Visit idhikethat.com to find out.

The United States has 59 national parks, but only a small handful receive the most attention, namely Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon.

There are several underrated national parks that deserve some recognition for their beauty, and would be great to visit as they are less populated.

1.  Great Basin National Park, Nevada 

Photo:  Local Adventurer

This 77,000 recreation acre spot contains an abundance of activities one can enjoy, including exploring the marble caverns and limestone arches.  Because this national park is one of the darkest places in the United States come nightfall, stargazing is definitely the thing to do when evening rolls around.

2.  Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Photo:  National Park Service

Congaree National Park was established for the purpose of preserving the largest US concentration of old-growth bottomland hardwood.  This national park has one of the country's most serious forests, and is one of the world's tallest natural canopies.

3.  Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Photo:  Visit Montrose

As seen from the picture, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has some of the tallest and steepest canyon walls in the world.  Even an Empire State Building stacked on top of a Willis Tower would be shorter in comparison.  This captivating picture is enough to get one eager to visit the beautiful park.

4.  Isle Royale National Park, Michigan 

Photo:  Mapquest Travel

Isle Royale National Park is one of the least visited parks in the country.  It is located in the Upper Peninsula and surrounded by Lake Superior.  The seclusion of its remote location has given this natural wonderland the ability to preserve many ecosystems in their pre-1800s states.

5.  North Cascades National Park, Washington

Photo:  The Greatest American Roadtrip

Containing over 300 glaciers, North Cascades National Park is home to over half of all glaciers found in the lower 48 states.  This beautiful park also has many of the nation's tallest waterfalls.

6.  Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida 


Photo:  Dry Tortugas

Dry Tortugas National Park is made up of seven small islands, making this 100-square mile park one of the world's most unique eco-attractions.  There are so many activities for everyone, including exploring the historic Fort Jefferson, magnificent coral reefs and marine life, and snorkeling the crystal clear waters.

7.  Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Photo:  National Park

This park, which is the northernmost national park in the US, protects areas of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska.  

8.  Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Photo:  National Park

Located in the Chihuahuan Desert of western Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is known for its Salt Basin Dunes, fossilized reef mountains, and wildlife-rosh grassland.  If you travel to this park, be sure to hike the Guadalupe Peak Trail, which leads you through a conifer forest to the state's highest summit.  You will be captivated by the views of the rocky El Capitan peak to the south.  The McKittrick Canyon Trail, which is famous for its colorful fall foliage, can be seen in the north.

9.  Katmai National Park, Alaska

Photo:  National Park

Katmai National Park is located on a peninsula in southern Alaska.  This park is known for its many brown bears has a vast array of tundra, forests, lakes and mountains.  Be sure to visit the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, where you will see lava flows and ash formed by a huge volcanic eruption.

10.  Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Photo:  Wikipedia

Lake Clark National Park was established in 1980 to protect rare volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, fish, and glaciers.  Located 150 miles southwest of Anchorage, this park is accessible only by foot or air.  Lake Clark provides a true backcountry experience all hikers will be sure to appreciate.  

11.  Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska


Photo:  The Greatest Road Trip

Kobuk Valley National Park is made up of almost two million acres of undisturbed wilderness.  It is one of America's most secluded parks, with half million caribou migrating across the Kobuk River, sand dunes, and Onion Portage.

12.  Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado


Photo:  National Park Service

Located in southern Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is known for huge dunes like the towering Star Dune, and for the seasonal Medano Creek and beach created at the base of the dunes. The backcountry Medano Pass Primitive Road winds through a canyon toward the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Trails lead to forests, wetlands and alpine lakes like Medano Lake, which is home to trout and tundra wildlife.

13.  Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Photo:  The Trailmaster

Lassen Volcanic National Park has many fascinating site to explore.  Bumpass Hell contains acres of bubbling mud pots to marvel.  If you summit Lassen Peak Volcano, you will enjoy views of the wilderness.  Lava rocks can be found nearby at the Devastated Area.  There are many trails for hikers to explore through forests and around lakes, which connect with the Pacific Crest Trail.

14.  Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Photo:  Good Sam

Located in northeastern Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park is known for the Rainbow Forest and Rainbow Forest Museum.  The forest contains colorful petrified wood, while the museum has paleontology exhibits and several trail access points.  One can also explore the Painted Desert Inn, a museum with Hopi murals.

15.  National Park of American Samoa

Photo:  National Geographic

The National Park of American Samoa is a national park, distributed across three islands: Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta‘ū.  The park preserves and protects coral reefs, tropical rainforests, fruit bats, and the Samoan culture.  Hiking and snorkeling are the most popular activities enjoyed here.

As you can see, these unknown national parks have so many fascinating, unique sites to explore and appreciate.  

Have you ever visited one of these lesser known national parks?  Please share them with us, so we can all enjoy the beauty of our national parks.

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15 unknown National Parks everyone should Visit