Now that there are 63 officially designated parks on the National Park roster, most people in the United States can get in their car and be within a day's drive of a National Park. But as park visitation surges and our cherished natural treasures attract more excited adventurers, some folks just want to get off the beaten path and explore the more remote parks that few people go to.
We can fully understand the sentiment of wanting to have a National Park all to yourself! That's why we took the time to research the five most remote and least visited National Parks. Read on to find your favorite summertime adventure!
Gates of the Arctic National Park
A park can be remote but still receive a good deal of visitation. Take Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, for example. It is very remote, 70 miles off the coast of Key West, to be exact! But the park still receives tens of thousands of visitors each year, as it is a popular Florida tourist destination.
This is not the case with Gates of the Arctic National Park. Stretching across seven million acres (larger than Belgium!), this beautiful and yet rugged National Park is the northernmost National Park in the United States. While the park is home to Indigenous Alaskan Native tribes, the park only receives about 12,000 visitors annually. Getting there requires several days of a combination of flights and drives just to arrive at the park, but it is worth it! It is one of the most remote and wild places in the United States, virtually unhampered by human hands.
You can learn more about what it takes to plan a trip to what many call America's wildest park at the National Park Service.
Isle Royale National Park
Located in the far northwest quadrant of Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park is a 206 square mile island in Michigan. This beautiful island is a natural wonder of forests, inlets, bays, and crystal clear freshwater. Also, there are moose and wolves that live on the island!
Isle Royale National Park only receives about 14,000-18,000 visitors each year, making it one of the least-visited parks on the roster. Though the natural beauty and wilderness appeal of the island is unparalleled (many call the island the Gem of Michigan), it isn't easy to get to. One has to take a ferry or seaplane to access the island, and the park is only open during the late Spring, Summer, and early Autumn.
To learn more about how and when to visit the island, check out the National Park Service's dedicated webpage for Isle Royale.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is remote but not too remote for those looking to have an adventure without taking too much time off to do so. Also, Bryce Canyon NP receives relatively few visitors compared to nearby Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.
The beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park is that it offers similar experiences and incredible views as the nearby parks, but without the huge crowds. Bryce Canyon is also known for its sandstone hoodoos and its history as a home for both Indigenous tribes and Mormon settlers.
The Bryce Canyon Natural History Association has plenty of information on when and how to visit the canyon to get the best experience.
Katmai National Park
It is no surprise that several of our most remote National Parks are in Alaska. Katmai National Park, located far out on the southern Kenai Peninsula and on Kodiak Island, is a natural wonderland that takes some time to get to! But once you're there, it's worth it.
The park spans 4 million acres and includes the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, an ash flow formed by the 1912 eruption of the Novarupta Volcano. The park is also home to caribou, wolves, moose, wolverines, grizzly bears, and huge Kodiak bears.
Though Katmai National Park only attracts about 30,000 visitors each year, a popular attraction is to watch the grizzly bears catch salmon as the fish make their way upstream to their spawning waters. To learn more about the park, check out the Katmai Conservancy.
Congaree National Park
Located in South Carolina, Congaree National Park is relatively remote but still accessible for those in the southeastern United States. The park is one of the least-visited National Parks on the roster, giving most visitors plenty of space and room to enjoy the park without any crowds. The park is known for being home to the nation's largest expanse of old-growth forest and some of eastern America's tallest trees.
Congaree National Park has more than 25 miles of trails, many of which are sturdy boardwalks (very helpful during heavy rainfall!). The park is also known for its synchronous fireflies, magnificent insects that put on a display of light between mid-May and mid-June.
To learn more about Congaree National Park, be sure to check out the website for the National Park Foundation.
Going Off the Beaten Path
Every year, our team of vintage poster art illustrators, photographers, and Studio-Store staff does its best to travel to as many National Parks as we can. This year, we'd love to go off the beaten path and see parks that receive very few visitors. Between trips, we'll keep creating new designs of America's 63 National Parks!
Until next time,
Anderson Design Group Writing Staff