Attendance, thus crowds, at national parks varies widely. Here, I’m highlighting some of the least visited national parks.
Last year, Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park, with nearly 13 million visitors. In contrast, the National Park of American Samoa had fewer than 2000 guests.
Undoubtedly, the most iconic and busiest national parks have many fantastic features. But there are numerous parks to visit where you don’t have to worry about timed entry or fight traffic. These parks may have fewer people, but they are still remarkable places to explore.
My love of national parks began in 2004 while on a trip to Alaska. We visited Kenai Fjiords, Wrangell – St Elias, and Denali on that vacation. Then, a trip to Zion in 2006 sealed the deal. We were officially on a quest to visit as many national parks as possible.
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to check out some of the least visited national parks. And it is worth noting that the trip is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to share the view with as many people.
7 of the Least Visited National Parks
Here are seven incredible national parks with annual visitation below 500,000* in 2022 based on NPS data.
1. Mesa Verde National Park – 499,790 Visitors
More Info: Mysterious Mesa Verde National Park
2. Great Sand Dunes National – 493,428 Visitors
More info: Great Sand Dunes National Park – Beyond Bizzare
3. Redwood National Park – 458,400 Visitors
More Info: Find Awestruck Wonder at Redwood National Park
4. Black Canyon of the Gunnison – 297,257 Visitors
More Info: Explore Under-Rated Black Canyon of the Gunninson
5. Voyageurs National Park – 221,434 Visitors
More Info: Traverse Historic Highways in Voyageurs National Park
6. Congaree National Park – 204,522 Visitors
More Info: Discover Congaree National Park
7. Isle Royale National Park – 25,454 Visitors
The quest continues to see America’s National Parks. We’ve yet to make it to American Samoa. Hopefully, someday, we’ll be able to travel to the South Pacific and find out for ourselves what’s so special about that park, too.
*Source: Annual Park Ranking Report https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/National%20Reports/Annual%20Park%20Ranking%20Report%20(1979%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year
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