To kick of U.S National Park Week, The United States National Park Service is granting visitors free entry to any U.S National Park on Saturday April 16th.
The theme for this week's National Park Week is to “sPark Connections”. Throughout the week they’ll be pushing certain initiatives such as “sPark creativity” day on April 17th and “sPark preservation” day on April 21st. You can check out the entire schedule here. Their campaign is strong and effective, but we’re most interested in April 16th the day where visitors can enter any of the 400 National Parks for absolutely free!
In the year 2021, National Park attendance skyrocketed. I’m sure you’ve seen the images and videos of overcrowded areas at the likes of popular NP’s such as Zion National Park, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks had millions of visitors, not even reaching the top of the list of most attended National Park locations! You can view the list here.
Surely, we don’t want to send you to the most overcrowded National Parks. Especially on Free National Park day. Heading down to a National Park, experiencing Nature at its finest, and soaking in whichever features the specific park has to offer can be an incredibly liberating feeling. Waiting in traffic, navigating busy hiking trails, and being in an overpopulated place in general can take away from that incredibly liberating feeling and sort of taint it.
If you’re yearning for the feeling we’re thinking of, and you know what we’re talking about then you’ve come to the right spot. We’ve got a list of underrated and under crowded U.S National Parks and we picked a few from all over the country so hopefully you can make the drive out this weekend to one of them.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Accumulating no more than 500,000 annual visitors which is 9x less than neighboring Yosemite National Park, this protected area is truly a hidden gem. Boasting bubbling mud pots, hot springs, and deep blue lakes this U.S National Park is certainly worth a visit.
Hence the name, this National Park is situated on an active volcano so perhaps that is something that can either lure or deter a traveler. The volcano hasn’t erupted since the year 1917. Scientist do admit if the volcano became active again, it would be a surprise and it certainly would affect infrastructure covering roads, buildings, and houses with lava.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Offering a unique deep chasm that cuts through the land sort of like a paper cut and lands that go untouched throughout the majority of the year it is clear that this National Park is for true explorers only. Situated in Western Colordo, this National Park receives only a fraction of the visitors that Rocky Mountain National park does.
The land in this National Park tells the tail of time as the 1.7 billion year old river cuts through the aged mountain range. Experience steep cliffs, deep valleys, and sunburnt rock faces at Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This National Park can be experienced in 2-4 hours depending on how many different cliffs you’d like to venture out onto.
Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park is situated in South Carolina and shows off its hardwood forests and biodiversity to its 150,000+ yearly visitors. Ideally, the best times to visit the park are from March-May and the park seriously does have something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for back country camping, yoga, hiking, fishing, or anything else nature related Congaree National Park has got you covered.
The park is crowded with fireflies and on summer nights beginning around 9pm or 10pm you can experience this natural phenomenon with your own eyes.
Find Your National Park
We hope that you're able to celebrate National Park week to some degree this time around. If you're heading out to a park this weekend, don't forget your Pure World Backpack! If you're not able to make it out to a park this weekend, don't worry at all! The cost to enter U.S National Parks is often very affordable, and here is a list of other days you can enter U.S National Parks for free as well here.
Adventure is calling! Use this link here to discover which National Parks are closest to you!
Written by @peaceofliv