If you love the national park experience and prefer solitude and wilderness to crowds on hiking trails and traffic jams on roadways, these five national parks are for you. They are among the least visited in the national park system. Wrangell-St. Elias, for example, with over 13 million acres, is the largest national park in the system. It’s bigger than Switzerland, but had only 66,356 visitors last year. Compare that to the 522,427-acre Smoky Mountains National Park, the system’s most visited park, which had over nine million visitors in 2014. Other comparisons are equally beckoning to the true wilderness experience seeker:
- Kobuk Valley (Alaska) 7,341 visits last year, compared to Yellowstone (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho), 3,240, 281 visitors
- North Cascades (Washington) 21,937 visits last year compared to Grand Canyon (Arizona) 4,756,771 visitors
- Isle Royale (Michigan) 15,831 visits last year, compared to Yosemite (California), 3,649,924 visitors
So if it’s an unfettered, unadorned, back-to-basics, true outdoor experiences you’re after, read more about these five least visited national parks and click on the links to learn more. Then strap on your backpack.
Alaska 7,341 visits last year
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Boating, camping, hiking, backpacking, flightseeing, wildlife watching, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, dog sledding. Kobuk Valley National Park is in northwestern Alaska 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It’s noted for the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes and caribou migration routes. There are no designated trails or roads in the park, which at 1,750,716 acres (2,735.49 sq mi), is approximately the size of Delaware. The park is entirely above the Arctic Circle. No roads lead to the park. It is reachable by foot, dogsled, snowmobile, and chartered air taxis from Nome and Kotzebue year-round.
Outfitters and Guides serving Kobuk Valley National Park CLICK HERE
National Park Service website CLICK HERE
Michigan, 15,831visits last year
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Canoeing and kayaking, day hiking, scuba diving, interpretive programs. Isle Royale National Park is on Isle Royale and adjacent islands in Lake Superior, in Michigan. The park covers 894 square miles with 209 square miles above water.
Outfitters and Guides serving Isle Royale National Park CLICK HERE