The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (2023)

Editor's note:monthly cardis a travel series from CNN that explores some of the most fascinating topics in the world of travel. In March we go outside.


The least-visited national park in the United States is a fair distance from the mainland United States. Almost 5,000 miles away, in fact.

American Samoa National Park in the South Pacific is the only National Park Service site south of the equator. In 2022, it had just 1,887 visits, according to new visitor numbers released this week by the National Park Service.

Compared to 2021, that number is down 78%. The park has had several closures over the past year due to Covid-19, the NPS said.

Spanning three islands with rainforests, volcanic slopes, pristine beaches and thousands of acres of marine habitat, the national park is intertwined with a rich culture.

"In keeping with the meaning of the Samoan word 'sacred land,' the park helps protectsamoanothe customs, beliefs and traditions of the 3,000-year-old Samoan culture,” according to the park's website.

The island park is far from the only uncrowded NPS site.

Nearly 400 of the 424 National Park Service Sites have visitors. And three quarters of all visits are on just 64 pages. so there islarge quantityto explore from less visited places.

Even among the 63 wilderness areas that have “national park” in their name, there are parks that see thousands or tens of thousands of visitors, far fewer than the nearly 13 million who visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2022.most visitedof the 63 national parks last year.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (1)

Gates of the Arctic National Park covers 8.4 million hectares in Alaska. Lots of space to spread out...

The massive 665,384 square mile state of Alaska is home to five of the 15 least visited national parks in 2022.

"Alaska's national parks are some of the least-visited for a reason: They're hard to get to," said Peter Christian, director of public and legislative affairs for the Alaska region at the National Park Service.

(Video) Sweet Solitude: 10 least visited national parks

But while they may be under-visited compared to other parks, some of them have seen significant increases in visitor numbers over the past year, with a 30% to 50% increase from 2021, another step in coping with the dramatic decline in the pandemic .

And a park in Alaska that was underneathLeast visited in 2021- Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve: Moved off the list with a 500% increase in visitor numbers thanks to a stronger return of cruise ships. But visits have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels, Christian said.

As more travelers head into the busy spring and summer seasons, the less-visited national parks have plenty to offer for those who venture off the beaten track.

15 Least Visited US National Parks in 2022

1.American Samoa National Park- 1,887 recreational visits

Most park visitors will need onePassport to visit this placein a remote part of the South Pacific. Hawaiian Airlines offers twice-weekly direct flights from Honolulu to American Samoa. Travel requirements for Covid-19 were eased late last year and the first cruise in three years arrived in January.

The park has units on three islands and covers 13,500 hectares, of which about 4,000 hectares are marine areas, which are mostly coral reefs.

2.Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska - 9,457 recreational visits

With no roads, no trails, no cell phone service, and no established campgrounds, this expanse is a true wilderness experience. The Park and Conservation Area has six designated wild rivers.

"Visitors are free to roam the 8.4 million acres of outstanding natural beauty," according to the park's website. Visitors must be self-sufficient, flexible and "able to self-extract and communicate should an emergency situation arise". Arrive prepared.

3.Kobuk Tal National Park, Alaska - 16,925 recreational visits

There are no roads, campgrounds or gates for human visitors on this 1.8 million hectare area. According to the National Park Service, half a million caribou migrate through this park, crossing the Kobuk River and Onion Portage. An 8,000 year old tradition of caribou hunting continues to this day.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (2)

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve had fewer than 20,000 visitors in 2022.

4.Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska - 18,187 recreational visits

This national park and reserve covers more than 4 million acres and is home to three designated Wild Rivers and two National Natural Landmark volcanoes. The land contains 10,000 years of human history and preserves the ancestral lands of the Dena'ina.

(Video) See the Top 10 Most Visited National Parks in 2022

5.Isle Royale National Park, Michigan - 25,454 recreational visits

Isle Royale is an isolated archipelago in Lake Superior offering 165 miles of hiking trails and more than 30 campgrounds. It is open from mid-April to the end of October. The ferry and seaplane service typically operates from mid-May to late September, according to the NPS.

There are fewer species of mammals here, just 18, than on the mainland because the animals have to cross at least 14 miles of Lake Superior. Wolves and moose are among the notable native animals.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (3)

The Cedar Trail winds through giant ferns and moss-covered cedars in North Cascades National Park.

6.North-Cascades-Nationalpark, Washington - 30,154 recreational visits

Peaks crowned by more than 300 glaciers rise above this alpine landscape. More than 1,600 plant species have been identified on this land, ranging from temperate rainforest to an arid ponderosa pine ecosystem. There are more than 400 kilometers of trails.

7.Katmai National Park and Reserve, Alaska - 33,908 recreational visits

Katmai is an important habitat for thousands of brown bears. According to the Park Service, Katmai, one of the top bear-viewing spots in the world, is home to about 2,200 brown bears. Brooks Camp on the Brooks River is one of the most popular spots to see bears feeding on salmon.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (4)

Most of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & ​​​​​​Preserve is a rugged interior with limited visitor services.

8.Wrangell-St. Elías National Park and Reserve, Alaska - 65,236 recreational visits

The largest national park in the United States, Wrangell-St. Elias covers 13.2 million acres, or about the size of Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park and Switzerland combined, the park service says. Most of the park is remote and visitor services are limited. There are some maintained trails in the Nabesna and McCarthy frontcountry areas.

(Video) California’s LEAST Visited National Park Blew Us Away | Channel Islands National Park [2023]

9.Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - 78,488 recreational visits

About 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas is mostly open water with seven small islands. Garden Key is home to one of the country's largest 19th-century forts, Fort Jefferson. Accessible by boat or plane, the park is home to around 300 species of birds. Bush Key is closed February through September each year to allow terns and browns to breed undisturbed.

10Great-Basin-Nationalpark,Nevada - 142,115 recreational visits

Mountain peaks meet hot desert valleys here. Great Basin National Park is home to 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, ancient bristlecone pines, nearly 40 caves, and a wide variety of plants and animals. Elevation ranges from 5,000 to 13,000 feet with trails for all skill levels.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (5)

The Virgin Islands National Park, pictured in Trunk Bay, has seen a nearly 40% drop in visitor numbers over the past year.

11Virgin Islands National Park- 196,752 recreational visits

About two-thirds of the island of St. John in the United States is a national park with sandy beaches, abundant marine life, native Taino petroglyphs, and sites related to the island's turbulent history of slave labor. There are more than 20 hiking trails in the park, which is typically busiest from November through April.

12Congaree-Nationalpark, South Carolina - 204,522 recreational visits

The landscape of Congaree National Park is "defined by the presence of flooding and blazing," the park service says.

Flooding of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers regularly blankets the park's ancient hardwood forest, and the pine forest relies on brushfires to clear out competing vegetation. Canoeing and kayaking are popular ways to explore the park. There is a marked 15 mile canoe trail.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (6)

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to the four highest mountains in Texas.

(Video) The least visited National Park in the contiguous United States and the most epic

13Guadalupe-Mountains-Nationalpark, Texas - 219,987 recreational visits

This park features the four highest peaks in Texas and the world's longest Permian fossil reef. The Guadalupe Mountains Wilderness has more than 80 miles of hiking trails, including a drive through the Salt Basin Dunes, which rise 100 feet from the desert floor.

14Travelers National Park, Minnesota - 221,434 recreational visits

Dubbed “Water, Islands and Horizons” Park, Voyageurs spans 218,055 acres, 84,000 of which are water. There are more than 500 islands and four major lakes, as well as more than two dozen smaller lakes in the park that are best explored by boat. Voyageurs shares its northern border with Canada, and lucky visitors may even see the Northern Lights.

11 places to see the Northern Lights

15.Two-Pinnacles-Nationalpark,California - 275,023 recreational visits

Pinnacles was formed in volcanic eruptions around 23 million years ago. Talus Caves and high rock towers attract hikers and climbers; There are over 30 miles of hiking trails and hundreds of climbing routes.

While Pinnacles is among the top 15 least-visited national parks, according to a note on the park's website, it gets very crowded on weekends, holidays, and in the spring. Be there early to avoid the crowds.

The Least Visited National Parks in the US in 2022 | CNN (7)

CNN talks to 8-year-old climber alongside El Capitan

03:01 - Fuente:CNN

(Video) Top 10 Most Visited National Parks in the United States


What is the least-visited US national park? ›

15 least-visited US National Parks in 2022
  • Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska - 16,925 recreation visits. ...
  • Isle Royale National Park, Michigan - 25,454 recreation visits. ...
  • Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska - 33,908 recreation visits. ...
  • Great Basin National Park, Nevada - 142,115 recreation visits.
Mar 7, 2023

What is the most visited national park 2022? ›

These were the most visited national parks and memorials of 2022
  • Blue Ridge Parkway, 15.7 million.
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 15.6 million.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 12.9 million.
  • Gateway National Recreation Area, 8.7 million.
  • Lincoln Memorial, 7.8 million.
3 days ago

What is the least-visited national park on earth? ›

At Gates of the Arctic, the number one least-visited national park, you're immersed in a pristine wilderness straight out of a storybook. But, it's not for the faint of heart. "Gates of the Arctic is one of the last truly wild places on earth," according to

What is the most untouched national park? ›

The Most Remote National Parks In The United States
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve – Alaska.
  • American Samoa National Park – South Pacific.
  • Isle Royale National Park – Michigan.
  • Katmai National Park – Alaska.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida.
  • Channel Islands National Park – California.
Nov 20, 2018

What is America's number 1 national park? ›

1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The nation's first national park, established in 1872, has so many iconic features it's almost impossible to list them all.

What is the number 1 visited national park? ›

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee. Coming in at the top spot with a whopping 12.1 million visits, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country's most-visited national park.

What is the 2nd least visited national park? ›

The second least-visited national park couldn't be more different. National Park of American Samoa is located on a volcanic island arc in the South Pacific, where fruit bats and coral reefs are part of the ecosystem. The park logged just under 8,500 visits in 2021.

What is the 2nd most visited national park? ›

Grand Canyon National Park is the second most-visited American national park, covering well over one million acres of predominantly desert landscape in northwestern Arizona.

What is the most liked national park? ›

25 Most Visited Parks in 2021
OrderParkRecreational Visits
1Blue Ridge Parkway15.9 million
2Great Smoky Mountains National Park14.1 million
3Golden Gate National Recreation Area13.7 million
4Gateway National Recreation Area9.1 million
21 more rows
Feb 16, 2022

Which state has 0 national parks? ›

Delaware is the only state in the country that does not have anational park, national monument, national historic site or anyother unit of the National Park Service.

Which is the only state which has no national park? ›

The State of Punjab has no National Park.

What is the only free national park in the US? ›

Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park is often grouped with the various state parks nearby, but the national park is the only unit in the group offering free admission. Backcountry camping permits to almost every site (except Gold Bluffs Beach) are also free.

What is the prettiest national park? ›

Top 10 most beautiful National Parks in the USA
Jul 5, 2021

What is the busiest US national park? ›

The most visited national park in the World is Great Smoky Mountains National Park which received 14.1 million visitors last year. How many visits do the national parks get each year?

What is the most famous park? ›

Central Park, New York

Not only was Central park the first public park in America, but it's also the most visited – with over 25-million visitors each year.

What are the top three biggest national parks? ›

The big 3 national parks: Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon.

What 5 states have no national parks? ›

In fact, 20 states don't have any national parks at all. These include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Has anyone visited all 63 national parks? ›

Grandmother And Grandson Are On A Mission To Visit All 63 National Parks Together—And They've Been To 62. Brad Ryan and his grandma Joy Ryan weren't always close.

What is the least visited vacation spot? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the smallest Pacific nation is the world's least visited country. Nauru is just 21 square kilometres, taking just 30 minutes to drive around the entire kidney-bean shaped island, or it can be walked in less than a day.

What is the largest first national park? ›

Yellowstone National Park - 1872

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone as the first national park in the United States and the world. Today, the park is home to the world's largest collection of geysers, including the iconic Old Faithful.

What were the first 5 national parks? ›

A bill creating the first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Rock Creek Park (later merged into National Capital Parks), Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890.

What is the newest national park? ›

The New River in West Virginia may be one of the oldest rivers in the world, but it's also the namesake of America's newest national park: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

What state has 9 national parks? ›

California has the most with nine, followed by Alaska with eight, Utah with five, and Colorado with four. The newest national parks are New River Gorge National Park established on Dec. 27, 2020, White Sands National Park was upgraded from a national monument Dec.

What is the smallest national state park? ›

The Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial is a mere 0.02 acres and is inside a Philadelphia row house. Kosciuszko, an American Revolutionary War hero, spent seven months in the room that serves as the main exhibit area.

What is the smallest state park in US? ›

Elizabeth Crockett's Grave – Acton, Texas

006 acres this park is the smallest state park in the US. In 1911, her grave was declared a state park and Texas even paid $2,000 to erect a pillar with her statue on top.

What is the only city in the world with a national park? ›

Nairobi is Kenya's capital City, it is one of the largest and most influential cities in Africa, an important commercial and financial regional hub. The only city in the world with a national park on its doorstep, Nairobi is the hub of East Africa and packed with unique attractions.

Which state has no tiger reserve? ›

Detailed Solution. The correct answer is Jammu and Kashmir.

Which is the only national park in a city? ›

Nairobi is the only City that have a National Park in the World - Review of Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya - Tripadvisor.

Why doesn t ny have a national park? ›

Since much of the land is privately-owned, it doesn't require direct National Park Service management. The public land is also currently managed by state agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

How many states in the US don't have a national park? ›

There are 20 states with no National Park. In addition, the District of Columbia also does not have a National Park.

What is the only US national park named after a person? ›

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is an American national park of the badlands in western North Dakota comprising three geographically separated areas. Honoring U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, it is the only American national park named directly after a single person.

What is the darkest national park in the US? ›

1. Big Bend National Park (International Dark Sky Park)

What is the most beautiful US state park? ›

The Prettiest State Parks in the U.S.
  • #1 Yellowstone National Park. ...
  • #2 Bear Lake State Park, Utah/Idaho. ...
  • #3 Letchworth State Park, New York. ...
  • #4 Custer State Park, South Dakota. ...
  • #5 Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas. ...
  • #6 Acadia National Park, Maine. ...
  • #7 Zion National Park, Utah. ...
  • #8 The Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Sep 13, 2022

What national park is the most expensive? ›

Biscayne National Park

Based on the parameters, Biscayne is far and away the most expensive national park to camp at in the lower 48. HOWEVER, there are ways around the expense here!

What is the hottest park in USA? ›

Death Valley National Park is not only the hottest National Park in the United States; it's also the hottest place in the world! Located along the border between California and Nevada, Death Valley rests at 275 feet below sea level and regularly experiences temperatures exceeding 130 degrees.

What is the hottest national park in America? ›

Death Valley is famous as the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America. The world record highest air temperature of 134°F (57°C) was recorded at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913.

Where is the least visited place in the US? ›

Some of these least-visited states are home to the most iconic and beautiful landmarks in the world.
  • Iowa. ...
  • West Virginia. ...
  • South Dakota. Visitors: 14.5 million. ...
  • Vermont. Visitors: 13 million. ...
  • Montana. Visitors: 12.6 million. ...
  • Delaware (tie) Visitors: 9.2 million. ...
  • Wyoming (tie) Visitors: 9.2 million. ...
  • Alaska. Visitors: 2.53 million.
Feb 26, 2021

What is the only US state without a national park? ›

Delaware is the only state in the country without a National Park, but maybe not for long. National parks showcase natural beauty like Yosemite and historic venues like Independence Park.

What is the 2 most visited national park? ›

  • 1: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee–North Carolina. ...
  • 2: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. ...
  • 3: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. ...
  • 4: Zion National Park, Utah. ...
  • 5: Yosemite National Park, California. ...
  • 6: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. ...
  • 7: Acadia National Park, Maine. ...
  • 8: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

What is the most hidden state in USA? ›

Topping the list is Alaska, which is home to 2,823 total attractions, with 309 deemed as hidden gems, including the Mendenhall Glacier and Kodiak Island. Along with breathtaking landscapes filled with icy glaciers and fjords, this truly remote state is packed full of lesser-known places waiting to be discovered.

What's the most underrated state? ›

1. Idaho. If you're looking for hidden gems, the Gem State is the ideal place to start your tour of the U.S. Idaho isn't well-known outside the state for much beyond its famous potatoes.

What is the most underrated place in America? ›

Most Underrated Places to Visit in the US
  • The Oregon Coast, Oregon.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Death Valley National Park, California.
  • Orcas Island, Washington.
  • Hill Country, Texas.
  • Assateague Island, Virginia & Maryland.
  • Apostle Islands, Wisconsin.
  • Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Where is the least expensive place to vacation? ›

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel
  1. Thailand.
  2. South Africa.
  3. Vietnam.
  4. Uruguay.
  5. Cuba.
  6. Prague, Czech Republic.
  7. Greece.
  8. Guatemala.

What is the number 1 vacation city in the world? ›

1. Paris, France. Paris, France remains one of the most loved cities to visit in the world because it is an iconic destination for grand life events, like milestone vacations, engagements, celebrations, and honeymoons.

Which 5 state has no national parks? ›

In fact, 20 states don't have any national parks at all. These include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

How many states have 0 national parks? ›

There are 20 states with no National Park. In addition, the District of Columbia also does not have a National Park.

What state has most national parks? ›

California has the most with nine, followed by Alaska with eight, Utah with five, and Colorado with four.


1. Colorado's Least Visited National Park! Shocking!
(Wandering Jeepsy)
2. US National Park Service’s Most Visited Sites of 2022
(Breaking News Live)
3. One Of The LEAST Visited National Parks
(Kristen and Sam)
4. Top 7 US National Parks To Visit in Summer
5. One of America's Least Visited National Parks on Film
(Death By Exposure)
6. If Every U.S. State Had a National Park
(National Park Wild)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Last Updated: 01/01/2023

Views: 5494

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Birthday: 1996-01-14

Address: 8381 Boyce Course, Imeldachester, ND 74681

Phone: +3571286597580

Job: Product Banking Analyst

Hobby: Cosplaying, Inline skating, Amateur radio, Baton twirling, Mountaineering, Flying, Archery

Introduction: My name is Kimberely Baumbach CPA, I am a gorgeous, bright, charming, encouraging, zealous, lively, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.