Looking to Get Outdoors But Escape the Crowds? These are America’s 20 Least-Visited National Parks

Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska.
Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska. / GlovTech/iStock via Getty Images

During the busiest times of year, taking a trip to a national park can feel like visiting an amusement park. It's hard to commune with nature when dealing with long lines and crowded trails. Fortunately, not every National Park Service property is bustling with tourists. For a more tranquil experience, consider heading to one of the system's hidden gems.

As USA Today reports, these were the 20 least-visited national parks in 2020. A park's attendance numbers often have nothing to do with the quality of what's inside. Many properties on the list are situated in remote locations, like the Gates of Arctic in Alaska, which only saw 2872 guests last year. The National Park of American Samoa, Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys, and Virgin Islands National Park are all found on islands, making them harder to get to than centrally located parks like Great Smoky Mountains. The least-visited park in the mainland United States is Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, Michigan, and it's technically an island as well.

Though traveling to these places may be less convenient than going to a popular park, visitors will have a much easier time once they get there. Overcrowding is never an issue, so guests can spend less time dealing with traffic on the roads and on the trails and more time soaking in the sights.

You can read the full list of the 20 least visited national parks in 2020 below. To see which properties outperformed these numbers by millions, check out the list of the most popular national parks last year here.

  1. Gates of the Arctic
  2. National Park of American Samoa
  3. Lake Clark
  4. Glacier Bay
  5. Isle Royale
  6. Kobuk Valley
  7. Wrangell-St. Elias
  8. North Cascades
  9. Dry Tortugas
  10. Katmai
  11. Denali
  12. Kenai Fjords
  13. Congaree
  14. Great Basin
  15. Guadalupe Mountains
  16. Pinnacles
  17. Channel Islands
  18. Virgin Islands
  19. Carlsbad Caverns
  20. Voyageurs

[h/t USA Today]