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Least visited national parks
Old 07-14-2016, 09:40 AM   #1
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Least visited national parks

Normally not a fan of Top Ten lists, but this one intrigued me.

America's Ten Least-Visited National Parks

10. Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado)
9. Guadalupe Mountains (Texas)
8. Congaree (South Carolina)
7. Great Basin (Nevada)
6. Dry Tortugas (Florida)
5. North Cascades (Washington)
4. Kobuk Valley (Alaska)
3. Isle Royale (Michigan)
2. Lake Clark (Alaska)
1. Gates of the Arctic (Alaska)

I've only been to two of them, and thoroughly enjoyed both. Thinking now of broadening my experience.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:01 AM   #2
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Cool list!
I've always wanted to see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, definitely on my list.
The Congaree (near Columbia, SC) is a great one to have on your list--it is beautiful and well worth checking out, especially in a canoe or kayak.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:24 AM   #3
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Most of these are really off from larger population areas. But, as Sarah said, well worth checking out. North Cascades are spectacular and Great Basin showcases several different terrains in one small park (from high desert to mountain peaks).

Worth the time if you have an adventure bug to get somewhere to see what can be seen.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:39 AM   #4
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Wow, I guess I am one of the few who has been to Gates of the Arctic! An amazing place, but it's two days on a gravel road to get there, so for me it was a once in a lifetime experience.

Dry Tortugas has also been on my list of parks to visit since I read Nevada Barr's book that was set there.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:56 AM   #5
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Wow, I guess I am one of the few who has been to Gates of the Arctic! An amazing place, but it's two days on a gravel road to get there, so for me it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Not much of a gift shop either.
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Visitors to the park should be PROFICIENT in outdoor survival skills, and be prepared to care for their own life and their partner(s) if an emergency arises.

The terrain is challenging: there are no established trails and the dense vegetation, tussocks, boggy ground, and frequent stream and river crossings can significantly slow progress across the landscape . Experienced hikers consider six miles a good day’s travel
My two were Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Isle Royale.
But honestly, most national parks are pretty cool IMHO.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:36 PM   #6
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I've been to Guadalupe Mountains to hike to the top of Guadalupe Peak (highest mountain in TX). Nice view, but not much to see on the way up but lots of cacti.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:38 PM   #7
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I thought this was a very interesting list. The one I have been to so far is Black Canyon. If you go there, you are not far from Colorado National Monument, which I also believe is not frequently visited. Other Nat Monuments make good destinations too.

The first two photos are Black Canyon, and the last is Colorado NM.
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:52 PM   #8
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I prefer the less travelled paths. No Big Bend on the list? I guess it has been "discovered". I have been to Guadalupe. I want to do Congaree and the Black Canyon.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:04 PM   #9
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Some parks that don't have as many crowds that we enjoyed are

Great Basin NP Nevada..I see this one made the list and it's great, you can do mountain hiking and cave tours at the same park....

Death Valley NP Nevada

and Capitol Reef Utah

if you like to avoid the crowds I highly recommend them all.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:44 PM   #10
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My family just got back from 10 days spent in S. Colorado. We spent 2 days around Gunnison exploring the Black Canyon area (Dillon Pinnacles, Blue Mesa Reservoir, etc). Black Canyon was one of our favorite places on this trip.

A few pics:



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Old 07-14-2016, 11:32 PM   #11
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I wanted to 'quote' people on this thread but it would be too much. The pictures here are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the parks. On my way to the back end of Tenaya canyon (Yosemite) next week. Hoping for high water an no lighting.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:41 PM   #12
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I am just down the road from Congaree NP and am out there a lot. Kayaking and hiking. A member of "Friends of Congaree Swamp". I hunt nearby, also. It may seem a backwater to some, with no grandiose views, but it and the staff have captured my heart. It is the last place left with the largest piece of virgin uncut flood plain forest left in the country.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:04 PM   #13
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I prefer the less travelled paths. No Big Bend on the list? I guess it has been "discovered". I have been to Guadalupe. I want to do Congaree and the Black Canyon.
I was surprised too that Big Bend didn't make the list. When we visit it can often be hours between seeing anyone else in the park. Of course we do try and go when schools are in session and we say away during major holidays.

I can remember we were there once and had stopped on a high hilltop along side the Rio Grande river. (Lot's of 4 wheel driving available in Big bend, so we were 20+ miles from any paved road.) As we sat there, sipping on an adult beverage, we were surprised that we started hearing people talking but couldn't see anyone. About 15 minutes later, here comes a couple of canoes floating down the river. Sounds can really carry in those canyons along the river.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:21 PM   #14
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Been to Guadalaupe Mts on a drive from New Mexico to TX. We just stopped for a picnic and a short walk, but it did look like a nice place to hike!

Drove right past the Great Basin area on Hiway 50 but didn't have time to stop. It is on my list of places to go sometime, but it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It would be practical to visit if you are wanting to camp for a couple of days. I hear the night sky is great out there with no light pollution. The main attraction of the park (listed on the park service website) was a cave tour and a senic drive up one of the peaks. There was a small motel/gas station/store with a mini casino nearby though if you wanted a place to stay.

Love the pictures from Black Canyon! The great scenery is part of why I love Colorado. Fishing at Blue Mesa is great and we have camped there a few times. There are some fun things to do around Gunnison area too. I haven't been up around there for a long time though.... Maybe I need to get back there soon.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:42 PM   #15
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Since at least a couple of people have commented that they expected Big Bend (Texas) to be on the list, here are some more of the least visited US national parks (in no particular order):

Glacier Bay (Alaska)
Crater Lake (Oregon)
Lassen Volcanic (California)
Denali (Alaska)
Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico)
Redwood (California)
Big Bend (Texas)
Great Sand Dunes (Colorado)
Channel Islands (California)
Voyageurs (Minnesota)
Wrangell-St. Elias (Alaska)
Katmai (Alaska)
Kabuki Valley (Alaska)
Lake Clark (Alaska)
National Park of American Samoa

Perhaps you've already gotten the impression that Alaska is not a terribly crowded place (apart from Anchorage, I guess).

I've been to four on this list.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:44 PM   #16
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If you are into casinos you can stay in Wendover Nv, when you visit GB National Park but it is really in the middle of nowhere...but you could see the Bonneville Salt Flats as well.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:58 PM   #17
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If you are into casinos you can stay in Wendover Nv, when you visit GB National Park but it is really in the middle of nowhere...but you could see the Bonneville Salt Flats as well.
A friend of mine has an ancestor who set some of the earliest (as well as most significant) speed records on the salt flats. There is a museum in SLC that is well worth a visit.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:53 PM   #18
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If you are into casinos you can stay in Wendover Nv, when you visit GB National Park but it is really in the middle of nowhere...but you could see the Bonneville Salt Flats as well.
I've driven thru Wendover a few times. We didn't really ever stop for anything except a pizza for dinner one night on the way into our Salt Lake hotel! It would be a long but doable day trip to Great Basin.

I told DH when we are retired and go to Tahoe that instead of rushing it as a 2 day drive we would do a 3 or 4 day and stop more along the way. Wendover or Elko would be a good place to break the trip up a bit as it is a long days drive from Salt Lake City to Reno or Carson City (where we like to stay). Haven't really hung around Reno a lot either on our various trips out that way, so that is a destination stop too. We went to the Reno Air Races a few years back and I would love to go again sometime..... (We just drove down from our condo at the lake each day during that trip.)
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Since at least a couple of people have commented that they expected Big Bend (Texas) to be on the list, here are some more of the least visited US national parks (in no particular order):

Glacier Bay (Alaska)
Crater Lake (Oregon)
Lassen Volcanic (California)
Denali (Alaska)
Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico)
Redwood (California)
Big Bend (Texas)
Great Sand Dunes (Colorado)
Channel Islands (California)
Voyageurs (Minnesota)
Wrangell-St. Elias (Alaska)
Katmai (Alaska)
Kabuki Valley (Alaska)
Lake Clark (Alaska)
National Park of American Samoa

Perhaps you've already gotten the impression that Alaska is not a terribly crowded place (apart from Anchorage, I guess).

I've been to four on this list.

Alaska is on my bucket list as well, but it would have to be a time when I can stay for a few months at least. A friend of mine actually directed me to a place that has summer hospitality jobs available in Alaska and that might be a thought for the summer after I am done with my "real job" as a way to ease into retirement - still making a little $$ and getting a chance to travel after the tourist season is over in Sept...

Lassen Volcanic park is on the list too of places to go. I am sure not at spectacular as Hawaii Volcano park where I am going on vacation this year, but definitely sounds like a fun place for exploring.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:55 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Normally not a fan of Top Ten lists, but this one intrigued me.

America's Ten Least-Visited National Parks

10. Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado)
9. Guadalupe Mountains (Texas)
8. Congaree (South Carolina)
7. Great Basin (Nevada)
6. Dry Tortugas (Florida)
5. North Cascades (Washington)
4. Kobuk Valley (Alaska)
3. Isle Royale (Michigan)
2. Lake Clark (Alaska)
1. Gates of the Arctic (Alaska)

I've only been to two of them, and thoroughly enjoyed both. Thinking now of broadening my experience.
We've always enjoyed visiting national parks, and a few years ago when we started traveling more have made a point to visit any we're near. We've made it to 3 of this list (though to be fair Black Canyon of the Gunnison was just a National Monument when we visited and I'm counting it!), and 6 of the later list. That leaves 16 of the 25 listed to go. Out of curiosity I just checked, and we're at 37 visited with 22 to go. However, some of the remote ones in Alaska will require some serious effort, not sure we will get to all 59.

There is something about the history and seeing the way things used to be that is appealing for us.

After visiting Dry Tortugas last year this video caught my eye, enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/174620220
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