You’ve probably heard of Yosemite and Yellowstone, but did you know that there are over 58 National Parks in America? These National Parks have landscapes ranging significantly from mountains and canyons to islands and sand dunes.
While conversations revolving around these majestic wonders are dominated by giant names like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Zion, there are other lesser-known phenomenal parks where the crowds are dramatically smaller. In this blog, we exclusively focus on the best US National Parks you didn’t know existed.
Sure, these National Parks are less popular than their famed counterparts. But make no mistake; they’re stunning and offer something for everyone. So, if you want to enjoy solitude, adventure and ground-breaking vistas, here are the best National Parks you need to visit in the United States.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Great Basin National Park lies about 300 miles away from the dazzling lights of Las Vegas. In 2014, a Winchester rifle was found in the park leaning on a juniper tree. No one knew who left it there and why the owner never came back for it, but conclusions were made that it was likely left there since the 1880s.
The park is hands down quiet, especially considering no one had discovered this rifle all that time until 2014. This lesser-known park features glacier-carved, snow-capped landscapes you often find in the Rocky Mountains. The park is gleaming with marble caves, alpine lakes, and glacial moraines.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
The Crater Lake National Park is situated in the southwestern part of Oregon. It is said to have been formed by a volcanic eruption about 7,000 years ago, but it has only been receiving guests since 1902. Despite getting the highest snow compared to any inhabited place in the US, the park is open all year round and offers something unique each season.
Warmer months give visitors the opportunity to either explore the lake by boat or adjoining forests by foot. And when the weather changes, you get the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate a golden winter sunset.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Just as the name implies, this cave in southern Kentucky is gargantuan. The world’s longest known cave system is a subterranean labyrinth, which extends close to 400 mile; excluding over 200 disjointed caves throughout the park.
Mammoth Cave National Park is located less than 100 miles from both Louisville and Nashville. It is an eerie bat-filled haven of stalactites and stalagmites, claiming more than 70 species that are threatened, endangered or state-listed.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Utah takes pride in more national parks than most other states outside of Alaska or California. And, out of all parks in Utah, perhaps this state’s best-kept secret is the Capitol Reef National Park filled with cliffs and canyons.
The Waterpocket Fold is the key defining aspect of this park. The National Park Service describes this geological monocline as a giant, supple rumple in the earth’s crust.
This giant sinuous wrinkle stretches 100 miles across Utah’s south-central region and climbs 7,000 feet high. Layers of eroded sandstone, lonely monoliths, delicate arches and towering spires spread across Capitol Reef National Park’s 378 square miles.