These Underrated National Parks Will Bring You Straight Into Nature
And far away from those gigantic crowds.
America’s Best Idea has been feeling the squeeze. Originally created to protect the United States’ most idyllic swaths of natural beauty, the 423 national parks have seen a sharp spike in popularity as millions have sought a moment of peace from doom scrolling and world-altering events. But as national park fervor has grown, the more congested trails around the country have become—and the more difficult it’s grown to avoid the very crowds we hope to ditch when we wander out into the wilderness.
While most tourists make a beeline for headliners like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion, overlooked parks across the country sit blissfully devoid of crowds: places where ancient glaciers glow electric blue, dreams of the Wild, Wild West come true, volcanoes and mountains soar into the heavens, and paradise hides just minutes from major cities like Los Angeles and Chicago. Head south, and you’ll find deep desert caves, cosmic skies, and 100-mile folds in the earth’s crust; venture north, and you’ll come across the first place in the US to see the sunrise.
You don’t have to wait in line or do battle with road trippers to experience your own personal utopia. These underrated national parks go just as hard as their more popular counterparts—with unbridled wildlife, stunning views, and good ol’ fashioned fresh air—but lack the masses, delivering that utterly serene, escapist feeling we all crave.
"It’s a quiet place where you can easily find solitude and appreciate what it means to be such a small part of our big, beautiful universe."
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