27 Least Visited National Park Ideas To Skip The Crowds In 2024

Looking for a unique national park experience with less crowds? Our national park obsessed family has created the perfect list of least visited national park ideas for you!

The national parks hold some of our country’s most spectacular views and adventures.

They have become so popular in recent years, that the crowds can make them sometimes difficult to enjoy or to even get into a park.

These least visited national park ideas can help you enjoy the parks and skip the crowds.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

1) Lesser-Known National Parks Offer Unique Experiences: Consider visiting national parks that are less popular. These include parks like Lassen National Park or Dry Tortugas, which provide opportunities to explore stunning landscapes without large crowds.

2) Avoid Peak Seasons for a More Serene Visit: Visit national parks during the shoulder season to avoid the crowds that flock to these destinations during summer. This allows for a more peaceful experience in nature.

3) Research and Plan Ahead for Remote Parks: Many of the least visited national parks are also the most remote to access. Research and planning are helpful to ensure a successful trip to parks like Isle Royale or Gates of the Arctic, which require extensive preparation.

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Cliffs and Ocean In Channel Islands Least Visited National Park Ideas To Skip The Crowds

National Park Crowds Can Ruin The Experience

In the years following the pandemic, American national park visitation has skyrocketed.

While it is great to see so many more people enjoying time in nature and getting out to explore, it’s also become a bigger challenge to find peace and solitude in nature in these parks.

This increase in recreation visits has also led to needing reservations to visit some national parks or to enjoy specific experiences in the parks.

Keep reading to learn tips to ditch the national park crowds, as well as which national parks are the least crowded to visit!

Top Hacks To Avoid Crowds In National Parks

Visit During The Shoulder Season

Doing a little advance research about the national park you wish to visit can go a long way in helping you ditch the crowds.

Consider visiting a national park during its shoulder season. Depending on the park, this is often visiting a national park in the fall or spring seasons.

The shoulder season typically still has great weather without the hoards of visitors.

Even consider a visit to the park off-season. Visiting a national park in the winter can be a completely new experience and the best time depending on the park.

Imagine the beauty of seeing the park blanketed in snow. Or experience a new way to explore a national park in winter, maybe even by snowshoeing or via a snowmobile.

The options in the US national park system are endless if you are flexible on when you visit a national park!

Enter The Park Early Or Later In The Day

Ever heard the saying that the early bird gets the worm?

It’s true that sometimes entering a national park very early in the morning can be a great way to enjoy it with fewer people.

However, sometimes quite a few people have the same idea.

Many U.S. National Park Service visitors enjoy watching the sunrise in various national parks, and there can be long lines to sometimes enter early in the morning.

We actually prefer to enter and enjoy national parks later in the afternoon.

Coming in around the dinner hour and staying until after sunset can be a great option to enjoy the park with less crowds.

We really enjoy watching the sunset and aren’t exactly morning people anyway, but we have found this to be a peaceful time in the parks!

Research Secret Spots To Ditch The Crowds Inside The Park

Do a little research before your trip to find secret locations within the national park you want to visit to duck away from the crowds.

Often locals or frequent visitors of a park will share their hidden spots for how to avoid crowds at national parks. Those are often great recommendations.

For example, we spent 2 incredible summers in Acadia National Park and found many hidden gems in the park to enjoy the scenery in peace and quiet.

We actually discovered an entire part of Acadia, the Schoodic Peninsula, that most people don’t even know about.

A little research goes a long way to find secret spots inside the national parks.

Take A Private Tour

Taking a private tour is a great way to have a local show you all of the top spots within a national park.

This can be a great way to experience national parks less crowded.

Although private tours can be a more expensive option, you can often skip researching to find hidden gems in the park and sit back and let your tour guide show them to you!

You could also take a small group tour which is much less expensive.

Our favorite way to find and book private tours in national parks is through Viator.

As a bonus, taking a tour is often a way to skip needing a national park reservation. Commercial guides often include the reservation or don’t need to have one in the park.

Pick One Of The Least Visited National Parks

A great option to skip the crowds in national parks is to simply choose to visit one of the least popular national parks.

Instead of visiting popular parks like Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the most visited national park), consider heading to a lesser known park like Pinnacles National Park.

Mom and daughter hiking - RV living

Avoid These Most Visited National Parks To Skip Crowds

(The most crowded national parks visitors per year is taken from the NPS Stats Report from 2023)

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 13,297,647
  2. Grand Canyon National Park – 4,733,705 
  3. Zion National Park – 4,623,238
  4. Yellowstone National Park – 4,501,382
  5. Rocky Mountain National Park – 4,115,837
  6. Yosemite National Park – 3,897,070
  7. Acadia National Park – 3,879,890
  8. Grand Tetons National Park – 3,417,106
  9. Joshua Tree National Park – 3,270,404
  10. Olympic National Park – 2,947,503

Keep reading for our list of the least visited national parks!

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Skip The Crowds With These Least Visited National Parks In The Lower 48

With more and more national parks moving toward a ticketed reservation park entrance, it’s more important now than ever to either plan your visit in advance, or pick a less popular park to visit.

This list of least-visited national parks in lower 48 is based on park attendance from the 2023 National Park Service Stats Report.

Girl Looking At Water Isle Royale National Park Worst National Parks

Sissy Hiking In Isle Royale National Park

1) Isle Royale Is The Least Visited National Park

Park Location:

Michigan

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

28,965 per year 

Isle Royale is an island national park in Lake Superior. This Michigan national park is known as an almost untouched wilderness island.

The most popular park activities are hiking and camping. Lucky visitors to the island can also catch a glimpse of the moose residents.

Isle Royale is the least-visited national park in the lower 48 with an annual visitation of 28,965 per year. The main reason why it is one of the less visited national parks is due to its extremely remote location.

A trip to Isle Royale is one of the best places to view the natural wonders of the northern lights.

The only way to reach the island is via boat or seaplane. The boat trip from Michigan to the island is extremely long which limits visitors.

However, you can also access the island via a much shorter boat ride from Grand Portage, Minnesota. This was how we chose to get to the island.

Our family suffers from motion sickness out in the open water and was glad we opted to take the shorter boat ride from Grand Portage.

Although Isle Royale is not a crowded national park, it can still be a challenge to get a boat reservation.

Be sure to book your boat trip as far in advance as possible to secure your spot.

I will be honest and say that Isle Royal didn’t wow us like the other national parks. It was an extreme effort to get there and the scenery wasn’t what we expected it to be.

If we camped or stayed longer, we may have spotted a moose or had a different experience. Isle Royal is on our list of worst national parks.

This island experience is however a great national park to avoid crowds.

Also check out: 6 Worst National Parks And Where To Go Instead

Boat To Isle Royale Least Visited National Park Ideas To Skip The Crowds

Boat to Isle Royale National Park Grand Portage, MN

2) North Cascades Is The Second Least Crowded National Park

Park Location:

Washington

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

40,351 per year 

North Cascades National Park in Washington is the most underrated hidden jewel in the national park system.

This lesser-known park in Washington state is one of the least busy national parks. The beautiful glacial lakes surrounded by mountains are postcard perfect.

At 40,351 visitors per year, this is the second least visited national park in the US (lower 48).

The park attendance almost doubled last year between 2021 and 2022, so this park may not stay quiet and unknown for much longer!

This top 10 less crowded national parks is known for its mountain peaks full of glaciers and waterfalls. The lake colors are unreal!

The most popular park activities are hiking and backpacking. And how could you resist getting out on the water with that gorgeous watercolor of the park lakes?

The park also offers an incredibly scenic drive if you are short on time. Enjoy this least visited national parks USA while it’s still quiet.

 

3) Dry Tortugas Is The Least Visited National Park In Florida

Park Location:

Florida

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

84,285 per year 

Dry Tortugas National Park is a little piece of paradise south of Key West, Florida and the Florida Keys. This Garden Key remote island park is popular with beachgoers and history lovers alike.

This park is the home of Fort Jefferson which sits among the crystal clear water. The most popular park activities are touring the fort, snorkeling the coral reefs, and camping.

This park is the third least visited national park in US with 84,285 visitors per year.

Visitation is low due to its remote island location. The only way to access this park is by boat or seaplane.

Although Dry Tortugas National Park is not crowded, getting a boat, seaplane, or camping reservation can still be a challenge.

Be sure to book your trip as far in advance as possible to secure your spot.

Girl On Boardwalk Trail Congaree Least Visited National Park Ideas To Avoid Crowds

Sissy Hiking The Boardwalk Trail Congaree National Park

4) Great Basin Is One Of The Least Visited National Parks

Park Location:

Nevada

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

143,265 per year 

Great Basin is a desert beauty that lies in rural Nevada. This is one of the national parks gems less traveled.

This park is known for its gorgeous mountain peaks and desert valley above ground, and its stunning cave system underground.

The most popular park activities are hiking, the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, stargazing, and the Lehman Caves tours.

This gem in the top ten less crowded national parks has an annual attendance of 143,265 people which is partly due to its rural location.

Although this is not a crowded national park, be sure to secure your cave tour reservations ahead of your visit to be sure you have a spot. 

Girl Looking Out Over Water Voyageurs Least Visited National Park Ideas To Avoid Crowds

Voyageurs National Park

5) Voyageurs National Park Is One Of The Least Visited National Parks In The Lower 48

Park Location:

Minnesota

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

220,825 per year  

This unique mostly water national park showcases the history of the Native Americans and French-Canadian fur traders.

The park consists of islands and a maze of waterways along the United States-Canada border.

This park’s rural location is reflected in its annual visitation of 220,825. It’s worth the visit though if you are traveling in this area of Northern Minnesota.

This park is best explored by water. Boat and kayak rentals are popular.

Houseboat rentals are another interesting way to enjoy this park and stay overnight at the same time.

Taking a boat to see the historic Kettle Falls Hotel of 1918 is a fun day trip. Our family rented a pontoon boat and checked out the historic hotel.

Our favorite part was seeing the extremely sloped wooden floor in the hotel bar area. Locals refer to it at the Tilten Hilten!

Fishing is also a very popular park activity.

Something unique about this park is that you can camp on many of the little islands and along the shoreline of the park by obtaining a park permit.

6) Guadalupe Mountains Is One Of The Least Visited National Parks

Park Location:

Texas

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

227,340 per year  

Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas is a rugged desert paradise of mountains, dunes, and canyons.

It is located on the Texas-New Mexico border close to Carlsbad Caverns which is also on the least visited list.

Popular park activities include hiking and stargazing. The canyons and ancient marine reef fossils from a prehistoric sea are visitor favorites.

This park sees 227,340 visitors per year. The peak seasons are the spring and the fall when Chihuahuan Desert temperatures are the most comfortable to explore.

Cypress Swamp At Congaree National Park Worst National Parks

Cypress Trees In Congaree National Park

7) Congaree Is One Of The Least Crowded National Parks

Park Location:

South Carolina

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

250,114 per year 

The only national park in South Carolina, Congaree National Park is an eerie sight to see.

Most people believe that this park is a swamp but it is actually a flood plain and river park that protects many species of bottomland hardwood trees.

Congaree National Park visitors per year are only 250,114 because most people simply don’t know about it.

The park is free to enter, making it one of the cheapest national parks to visit.

What is the least popular national park? Many claim it is Congaree.

This park is very rural and also very buggy. So buggy that it has a mosquito meter at the door. So be sure to bring your bug spray. The bugs make this one of the most unpopular national parks.

The most popular park activities are hiking the boardwalk trail, canoeing or kayaking the paddle trail, and the annual Firefly Festival.

Our family’s favorite part of visiting Congaree was hiking the boardwalk. The eerie scenery made for some interesting shadows and photography.

Each year in late May and early June, the synchronous fireflies light up the skies in Congaree National Park.

This rare event only happens in this park and in the Smoky Mountains. The festival is a popular event though so make sure to get your reservation in advance.

Also check out: Things To Do In Congaree National Park

Ocean Cliff Channel Islands Least Visited National Park Ideas To Avoid Crowds

Channel Islands National Park San Juan Island

8) Channel Islands National Park Is A Must-See Least Visited National Park

Park Location:

California

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

328,746 per year  

Off the coast of Santa Barbara, California lies a chain of small islands so scenic and peaceful that you will feel like you have left the country.

Channel Islands National Park is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of California.

This least-visited national park island paradise is only reachable by boat which limits visitation to 328,746 people per year.

It is worth the trip to reach the islands and the boat ride itself is scenic.

We got the treat of seeing dolphins and whales from the boat on our March trip to the islands.

The most popular Channel Islands National Park activities are hiking, kayaking the sea caves, and camping.

Although this is a less crowded park and one of the least-visited parks, you need to secure your boat reservation to reach the islands in advance to guarantee your ticket.

This park rounds out the top 10 least visited national parks in the lower 48.

Also check out: 3 Most Unusual National Park Hikes

Sissy Sitting By The Lake In Pinnacles National Park

9) Pinnacles Is The Least Visited National Park In California

Park Location:

California

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

341,220 per year  

One of the newer national parks in the system is Pinnacles National Park.

This park still seems to be a bit of a hidden gem among the least visited national parks in California with an annual visitation of 341,220.

This park has some amazing rock formations, talus rock caves, California Condors, and a beautiful lake that almost looks like it has black water.

The drive out to this rural location keeps this gem as one of the most uncrowded national parks.

The most popular park activities are hiking, camping, and rock climbing.

We loved exploring the talus rock caves the most during our visit.

We highly recommend using headlamps to explore the talus caves. It is really dark in there and our headlamps allowed us to explore hands free.

It’s one of the least busy national parks in July or throughout the summer due to the extreme heat. Consider the weather when planning your trip.

 

10) Black Canyon Of The Gunnison Is One Of The Least-Visited National Parks In Colorado

Park Location:

Colorado

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

357,069 per year  

The Black Canyon Of The Gunnison is a stunning national park in Colorado that features some of the most dramatic and rugged scenery in the United States.

With its steep canyon walls, narrow chasms, sheer drops, and spectacularly carved rock formations, it’s no wonder why this is one of America’s best-kept secrets.

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park has 357,069 annual visitors, so you can often enjoy the park without the crowds.

Visitors come to experience the incredible beauty of this remote canyon with its geological wonders, like the Painted Wall.

The Painted Wall is the highest sheer cliff face in Colorado at over 2,200 feet tall. There are also many hiking trails that wind through the ancient canyons.

There are also many opportunities for wildlife watching, including bighorn sheep and golden eagles soaring above.

The most popular park activities, fishing or kayaking the Gunnison River, are a great way to enjoy the canyon from its base. This is a great park to explore while also avoiding the crowds. 

11) Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Park Location:

New Mexico

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

394,121 per year  

Under the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas and New Mexico lies what most people say are the most magnificent cave formations in the world.

The same ancient sea reef formations visible above ground in Guadalupe Mountains National Park formed the underground wonder of Carlsbad Caverns.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park draws 394,121 visitors per year and is the most crowded in the summer months and on weekends.

Check the website to find the most up to date park reservation information.

The most popular park activity is of course the cave tours. Even though this is one of the less crowded national parks, make sure to book your tour in advance to guarantee your spot.

Although the main park activities are the cave tours, above ground this park also has hiking and amazing star gazing.

Girl And Tree In The Redwoods Best National Parks To Visit In Winter

Redwood National Park

12) Redwood National Park

Park Location:

California

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

409,105 per year  

It is shocking to see this park on the least-visited national parks lower 48 list, but Redwood National Park attendance has dropped the last couple of years to 409,105 which makes it the twelfth least visited US national park.

I often think of this park as one that is popular and crowded, but the truth is that there are many different areas to visit, which helps to spread out the crowds a bit.

It is one of the less busy national parks, especially in the off season.

Redwood National Park is actually made up of many separate California State Parks along the coast of Northern California.

Our favorite park location during our visit was Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This is the famed Avenue Of The Giants area which is a must-see when exploring the redwoods.

The most popular park activities are hiking and enjoying the scenic drives.

Another amazing spot in Redwood National Park is Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

This area was especially lush and covered with ferns. It was also a great place to skip the crowds! Consider a winter visit with even more solitude with the big trees.

Also check out: 15 Best National Parks To Visit In Winter

Snowy Mountain and Lake in Lassen Least Visited National Park Ideas To Avoid Crowds

Lassen Volcanic National Park

13) Lassen National Park Is One Of California’s Least Visited National Parks

Park Location:

California

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

418,978 per year  

Lassen was a park that really surprised us with its beauty.

The Cascade mountains, alpine lakes, and volcanic features are what really make this an incredible place to visit. 

With 418,978 visitors per year, this is California’s third least visited park and 13th least visited national park in the lower 48.

It is most crowded in the summer months. This Northern California beauty is not to be missed.

The most popular activities in this park are hiking, driving the scenic Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, and paddling Manzanita Lake.

Our favorite part of the park was the volcanic features. We loved the bubbling mud pots and volcanic steam vents.

Get your National Park Camping Reservation Secrets  FREE GUIDE HERE!

Cliff Dwelings Mesa Verde National Park Worst National Parks

Mesa Verde National Park

14) Mesa Verde National Park

Park Location:

Colorado

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

505,194 per year  

We have back-to-back Colorado national parks on our list! Mesa Verde is the best national park to preserve and feature man-made history.

This gorgeous park preserves cliff-dwelling structures that you really have to see to believe.

Although this park only receives 505,194 visitors a year, you need tour reservations to get up close and personal with the cliff dwellings.

Tours are the most popular park activity and they sell out fast. It helps to book your tours as soon as advance as possible to make sure you get the one you want.

Our family loved our visit here so much that we ended up taking 2 different tours during our visit: The Cliff Palace Tour and the Balcony House Tour. 

Infographic showing 5 least-visited national parks in the lower 48

15) Big Bend National Park

Park Location:

Texas

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

509,129 per year  

The jewel of the Texas national parks is Big Bend. This is one of the least crowded national parks in the summer. The stunning desert treasure is a great park to visit to avoid crowds.

The park is huge, and there are many places to explore and find solitude. The most popular park activity is to get out on the river for the day.

This park is extremely rural. Its south Texas location in the middle of the desert on the Mexico-US border limits the visitors.

Big Bend sees 509,129 visitors, and most of those are in the peak season during the winter months. 

The summer heat can be unbearable, so consider the weather when you plan a trip to this park. Big Bend is one of the least crowded national parks in summer season.

Sand Dunes At Great Sands National Park Worst National Parks

Great Sand Dunes National Park

16) Great Sand Dunes National Park Is One Of The Lesser Known National Parks

Park Location:

Colorado

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

512,219 per year  

Another Colorado National Park that is great for avoiding crowds is Great Sand Dunes National Park. It is one of the national parks least visited.

This park receives 512,219 visitors per year, but there is a lot of space to duck away from the national parks crowds.

Our family visited during the fall season, and there was hardly anyone there. It was extremely windy, though.

This park is extremely remote but worth the drive. The scenery is amazing!

The most popular park activity is sledding down the side of the sand dunes. Hiking is also popular.

Don’t miss checking out the nearby hot springs-fed swimming pool at Sand Dunes Recreation.

They also offer RV campsites and cabins. This is where we stayed during our trip, and it was lovely to be able to come back and swim after exploring the sand dunes.

17) Petrified Forest National Park

Park Location:

Arizona

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

520,491 per year  

Petrified Forest National Park is the least visited national park in Arizona. As one of the least traveled national parks, it has a national park attendance 2023 of 520,491.

This rural park protects fossilized wood that you really have to see to believe. You would think it has always been stone.

The most popular park activity is hiking to view the petrified pieces.

Don’t miss taking a photo on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, on your way so you can sing the famous song as you do so!

This national park’s rural location helps to keep it as one of the least populated national parks, but it is worth the trip to view the petrified wood pieces.

Snowy Mountain and Lake in Lassen Least Visited National Park Ideas To Avoid Crowds

Lassen National Park

Least Visited National Parks Outside Of The Lower 48

This list of national parks to avoid crowds focused on parks with low visitation in the lower 48. What about the other national parks not located in the continental US?

With the exception of the Hawaii national parks, the other parks outside of the lower 48 are all low visitation parks or less popular national parks and great for finding solitude in nature.

Why? They are simply tough to get to!

Avoid crowds with these least visited national parks outside of the lower 48:

 

18) Gates Of The Arctic National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

11,045 per year 

Gates of the Arctic National Park, located in Alaska, is a stunning landscape of boreal forest and Arctic tundra. Visitors come to experience its vastness.

The park gets 11,045 visitors per year and has unique landscapes and activities to offer.

The most popular activity in this park is hiking in the beautiful mountain scenery and exploring the 6 designated wild rivers.

The remote beauty of this park is unmatched, with its glacial valleys, rugged mountains, and immense expanses of tundra all waiting to be explored.

This park is located so far north that it is even north of the Arctic Circle.

 

19) National Park Of American Samoa

Park Location:

American Samoa

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

12,135 per year 

Ever wondered what is the least visited national park? The National Park of American Samoa is an incredible destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Located in the South Pacific, the park is known for its lush rainforest landscapes and unspoiled beaches. It’s also one of the quiet national parks, just perfect for those seeking tranquility.

The most popular park activities are relaxing on the beach and hiking.

It’s one of the least visited national parks in the United States, receiving only 12,135 visitors each year.

 

20) Lake Clark National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

16,728 per year

Lake Clark National Park is a stunning park located in Alaska that offers visitors the chance to explore the breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife.

With only 16,728 visitors a year, the park is a popular destination for those looking to experience nature in its rawest form. Hiking is the most popular park activity.

The park itself covers approximately 4 million acres of the stunning Alaskan wilderness, with many opportunities for outdoor adventure.

 

21) Kobuk Valley Valley National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

17,616 per year 

Kobuk Valley National Park is a stunning national park in Alaska that is home to some of the most breathtaking sights in the United States.

Each year, 17,616 visitors come to explore this unique and remarkable park. 

The park is home to the majestic Kobuk River Valley and Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. The most popular park activities are exploring these breathtaking landscapes on foot or by ATV.

 

22) Katmai National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

33,763 per year

Katmai National Park is one of the most impressive and beloved national parks in all of Alaska, drawing 33,763 visitors a year.

The park is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the state that includes an awe-inspiring volcano, lush green forests, rugged mountains and canyons, wild rivers, and pristine alpine lakes.

This is the best bear viewing park in the world. There are over 2,200 brown bears in the park. Brooks Camps is where the bears can often be seen hunting for salmon.

The centerpiece of the park is Mount Katmai, a 6,716-foot volcano that last erupted in 1912. Visitors can hike to the summit for incredible views of the surrounding wilderness. 

Snow-capped mountains behind lake - national parks without reservations

Lassen National Park

23) Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

78,305 per year

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska is a stunning national park worthy of all the visitors it receives each year.

With over 13.2 million acres or 20,000 square miles, it is the largest national park in the United States. It also happens to be one of the least visited state of Alaska parks, with only about 78,305 visitors each year.

But don’t let the small numbers fool you. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is filled with incredible wildlife, rugged terrain, miles of trails, and stunning landscapes to explore.

It is home to the active volcano Mount Wrangell that you can still watch steam rising out of. This remote park is a great example of how to avoid crowds in national parks.

 

24) Virgin Islands National Park

Park Location:

US Virgin Islands

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

343,685 per year

The Virgin Islands National Park is a stunning paradise located in the Caribbean Sea that is filled with stunning natural beauty, marine life, and rich cultural heritage.

This park is known for its pristine white sand beaches, lush tropical forests, and an abundance of colorful coral reefs.

The most popular park activities are sailing, swimming, or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, or taking a hiking tour through its lush tropical forests. There are endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

With 343,685 annual visitors, it’s no wonder the remote islands of Virgin Islands National Park is a popular tourist destination. 

 

25) Kenai Fjords National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

387,525 per year

Kenai Fjords National Park is a stunning national park located in Alaska and is definitely worth visiting.

It contains a wealth of spectacular landscapes, ranging from deep fjords and huge glaciers to towering mountains and lush forests.

Kenai Fjords is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including whales, seals, sea lions, bears, and bald eagles.

It also offers amazing opportunities for adventure with popular park activities like kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping. 

Every year, the park attracts 387,525 visitors who come to explore its incredible natural beauty and spot some of the many species of animals that call it home.

 

26) Denali National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

498,722 per year

Denali National Park, located in Alaska’s interior, is a must-see destination for any nature enthusiast.

This vast expanse of protected land encompasses over 6 million acres of pristine alpine and taiga wilderness.

It also includes the peak of Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, rising to 20,310 feet above sea level.

It is one of the most remote national parks and untouched places in the United States, which has made it a popular destination for those seeking peace and serenity away from more densely populated areas.

Denali National Park receives over 498,722 visitors a year who come to marvel at the untouched landscape, highest peaks, and experience popular park activities, such as backpacking, camping, mountaineering, and wildlife viewing. 

 

27) Glacier Bay National Park

Park Location:

Alaska

Park Visitor Numbers For 2023: 

703,659 per year

Glacier Bay National Park is a must-see destination for any nature lover.

Located in southeastern Alaska, this park boasts stunning views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and a rugged coastline.

Glacier Bay is also home to a variety of wildlife including humpback whales, orcas, bald eagles, sea otters, and more.

The park gets an estimated 703,659 visitors a year and offers many activities for tourists to enjoy.

Visitors can enjoy popular park activities like kayaking among the glaciers, spoting wildlife from boat tours, taking hikes amongst the icy peaks, or exploring the rugged coastlines.

With so much to offer and breathtaking scenery everywhere, you look, Glacier Bay National Park is a must-visit national park.

Girl Walking In Pinnacles Park Warmest National Parks To Visit In Winter

Sissy Hiking In Channel Islands National Park

List Of The Top 10 Least Visited National Parks

This list is from data in the 2023 NPS Stats Report.

1) Gates Of The Arctic National Park, Alaska – 11,045 visitors per year

2) National Park Of American Samoa, America Samoa – 12,135 visitors per year

3) Lake Clark National Park, Alaska – 16,728 visitors per year

3) Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska – 17,616 visitors per year

4) Isle Royale National Park, Michigan – 28,965 visitors per year

5) North Cascades National Park, Washington – 40,351 visitors per year

7) Katmai National Park, Alaska – 33,763 visitors per year

8) Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska – 78,305 visitors per year

9) Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida – 84,285 visitors per year

10) Great Basin National Park, Nevada – 143,265 visitors per year

Things To Know Before You Visit A National Park

The most important thing to research far in advance before you visit a national park is the reservations or permits required.

Not all national park sites require reservations, especially not the least visited national parks in US, but you don’t want to miss out on any parks or activities you want to do because you missed out on getting a reservation.

Entrance Reservations

Some national parks require timed-park entry reservations to be able to enter or drive through the park.

You will want to find out when the reservation window opens so you can get the reservation you need.

Experience Tickets Or Permits

Some parks also require advance tickets or permits to access certain park events or activities.

Common activities that require permits are sunrise viewings, popular hikes, park events like the Firefly Festival, and backpacking.

Also Check Out: Hacks To Visit National Parks Without A Reservation

Why Listen To Us About The National Parks?

Our family is a bit national park obsessed. We have visited 38 US national parks with the goal of seeing all of the 63 U.S. National Parks.

During our years spent exploring national parks, we have discovered some amazing tips and tricks to share with you!

We are glad you are here. Sign up for our newsletter so you never miss our best information!

FAQs Least Visited National Park

What national park is the least visited?

Isle Royale National Park is the least visited national park in the lower 48 with 28,965 visitors per year. This attendance number was based on the least visited national parks 2023 report.

What are the least visited national parks lower 48?

These are the least visited national parks in lower 48 based on the number of visitors in park attendance from the 2023 NPS Stats Report: Isle Royal National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Dry Tortugas National Park.

What is the least crowded national park?

North Cascades National Park is the least crowded national park in the lower 48 with 28,965 visitors per year.

How do you avoid crowds in national parks?

The best way to avoid national park crowds is to visit during the off-season or shoulder season. Avoid peak season, weekends, and holidays. Another idea is to arrive at dawn or dusk for the least crowded time to visit national parks.

Once in the park, take a hike away from the main area to enjoy a little solitude. You can also visit one of the least visited parks on this list to avoid crowds

When is the best time to visit Glacier National Park to avoid crowds?

The best time to visit Glacier National Park to avoid crowds is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. While Glacier National Park crowds are low, the off-season weather can limit visitor access and park activities.

What are the specific benefits or advantages of visiting a less crowded national park compared to a more popular one?

Less popular national parks allow the visitor to get back to nature in peace. Skip the reservations, long lines, and mobs of tour buses and choose a less-visited park. You also have a better chance of viewing wildlife when there are less people.

Are there any potential downsides or challenges to visiting a less visited national park?

Less visited national parks are often in extremely rural or difficult to access locations. These parks usually require more planning and sometimes additional transportation costs. Sometimes fewer visitors also means the park offers less planned activities and amenities.

What are some practical tips or recommendations for planning and preparing a trip to one of these lesser-known national parks?

Be sure to research the weather by season to discover the best time for your visit. Also look into booking any required transportation such as ferry or seaplane concessionaires. These once-in-a-lifetime adventures are worth the additional cost and planning.

When is the Grand Canyon least crowded?

The Grand Canyon is the least crowded during the winter months. Not only are the crowds are less but the shuttle stops running so you can directly access the viewpoints in your own vehicle. Note that only the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open during winter. 

Which One Of These Least Visited National Park Ideas Would You Like To Check Out?

I hope this list of least visited national parks gave you some ideas for unique parks to visit when you want to avoid crowds. As much as we love the national parks, sometimes the crowds can ruin the experience. Give one of these parks a try instead!

If you enjoyed this, please be sure to PIN this and share it on social media. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter so you never miss out on our latest tips.

Want to know my secrets for booking hard to get national park campsites? Check out: How To Score Sold-Out National Park Campsites.

Looking for more national park inspiration? Check these out: 

Secret Ways To Skip Reservations For Entrance To Yosemite National Park

10 Best National Parks To Visit In Winter

Enjoy your adventure detour!

Man and Girl Hiking In Pinnacles Least Visited National Parks To Skip The Crowds
Scott and Van Russell
Scott and Van Russell

Scott and Van of The Adventure Detour are travel writers focusing on RV travel, family outdoor travel, national parks travel, and hiking. They have been full-time RV living and traveling across the US since 2015. In 8 years of full-time RVing, they have visited 38 national parks so far with the ultimate goal to see them all. They work as digital nomads while roadschooling their daughter nicknamed Sissy. On the way to all 50 states, they have visited and hiked through 42 states so far. The travel bucket list is forever growing!

Full-Time RV Family In Front Of Mountains

Hello!

We are so glad you found us. We are Scott, Van & Sissy. We turned our love of travel into a 7 year full-time RV living adventure.

Our goal is to guide you to unique US travel destinations, share RV travel tips, and help you navigate full-time RV living.

Something that makes us different is our unfiltered approach. We choose to share both the benefits and the challenges of traveling and the full-time RVing lifestyle.

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