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The Five Least Visited National Parks

We’re wrapping up The World Almanac for Kids 2008 and already starting work on the next World Almanac (*phew*). While looking up the most-visited sites administered by the National Parks Service in 2006, I decided to scroll down to see what were the least-visited of the 359 areas. I was wondering if they’d be mundane or just completely bizarre. I guess it’s no surprise that the least visited places are actually some of the most remote. They are neither mundane nor bizarre, just crazy inaccessible.

Looking for a place to truly get away from it all? Read on:


#355 Alibates Flint Quarries (1,882 visits) in northern Texas, you got lucky! The Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (1,559 visits) in Brookline, MA stole your spot on a technicality. The home to the landscape architect and co-creator of New York’s Central and Prospect Parks closed in late 2006 for major renovations.


#356 The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (1,265 visits) is pure wilderness in the far northwest of Alaska, just 3 miles from Russia. It’s not for the rookie backpacker. I liked this subtle smackdown from the webpage: “For those looking for a more predictable adventure into remote Alaska, the Administrative Offices… have a small interpretive center that offers limited exhibits and films as well as special programs.” (Translation: Hey girlie man, here’s a nice predictable museum. Leave the real hiking to us.)


#357 The National Park of American Samoa (1,239 visits) was created in 1988 and doesn’t have many amenities but the 13,500-acre tropical park does offer rainforest, pristine shorelines, coral reefs, and secluded villages. Too bad airfare from Los Angeles is more than $1000 on special.

Click through for the bottom two...


#358 Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River (135 visits) runs 196 miles between the Texas and Mexico border. It starts in Big Bend National Park and flows an additional 127 miles. The Lower Canyons are known for sheer walls, tricky rapids, and complete isolation, making for what the National Park Service calls “some of this country’s most inaccessible terrain.”

#359 Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve (60 visits) at the beginning of the Alaskan peninsula is 586,000 acres centered on Aniakchak, the most active volcano in the region. An explosion 3,500 years ago left a 6-mile-wide caldera 2,500 feet deep. It last erupted in 1931. There are no facilities, campgrounds, or even trails. Visitors must arrive by air taxi or boat. What NPS wants you to know before you go: “No visitor to Aniakchak should attempt to plan and carry out a trip based solely on the information in this website. For a safe and successful Aniakchak adventure, however, all visitors must be prepared for extreme weather and the likelihood of encounters with brown bears.”

2006 Recreation Visitors Ranked by Number of Visitors

All photos from nps.gov


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