The United States Park system is one of the best in the world, and its famous national parks, Zion, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon, receive millions of tourists every year. These parks are loved for their incredible natural wonders that take everyone’s breath away. They boast spectacular scenery, plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities, several miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, and magnificent viewpoints.
With numerous national parks in the country, some don’t always get the same attention and are rarely explored. Despite having plenty of fun adventures to offer, many travelers overlook these national parks and go for the most popular ones. The most obvious reason is their remote locations, making them hard to reach. But one can easily access some of these beautiful parks, and being the lesser visited, vacationers enjoy peacefulness and tranquility without the interference of crowds. Here are the 10 underrated US national parks to visit in 2023.
10 North Cascades National Park, Washington: For Spectacular Scenery And Glacier Views
North Cascades National Park is one of the underrated US national parks to visit in 2023, especially for travelers looking to explore the breathtaking scenery and plenty of gorgeous glacier views. This park receives under 18,000 visitors every year, making it one of the least visited national parks in the country. But those who make it to its grounds are rewarded with a mind-blowing natural environment with some of the largest glaciers. There are plenty of things to do in the park, including hiking, river rafting, and horseback riding.
: Diablo Lake, Mount Shuksan, Mt. Baker Ski Area, Ross Lake, Sahale Glacier, Sahale Mountain, Baker Lake, Gorge Creek Falls, Picture Lake, and more.
Staying in Seattle? North Cascades National Park makes a perfect day trip from the Emerald City as it’s only three hours away.
9 Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota: One Of The Few Places For Seeing Aurora Borealis
Seeing Aurora Borealis is something many travelers dream about, and seeing them is an opportunity of a lifetime. Voyageurs National Park is one of the few places to see the Northern Lights in the United States. Apart from this spectacular natural phenomenon, vacationers who visit this park are rewarded with plenty of magnificent forests, wetlands, and incredibly diverse wildlife, including moose and blue-spotted salamanders.
8 Denali National Park And Preserve, Alaska: Experience Unspoiled Nature In The Heart Of The Alaskan Peninsula
Covering an area of six million acres, Denali National Park and Preserve is a portion of the incredible Alaskan Range. The park’s name was derived from North America’s highest peak, the mountain seated right within its space. Initially known as Mount McKinley, Denali’s northern and southern slopes feature coniferous forests. One of the fun things to do in Denali National Park and Preserve is to explore its several lakes and magnificent rivers that meander through the mountain valleys. This national park is home to unique wildlife, including bears, foxes, beavers, black bears, squirrels, and elks.
: Denali (the highest mountain in North America), Mount Foraker, Denali Park Road,
Denali Visitor Center
, Wonder Lake, Ruth Glacier, Polychrome Overlook.
7 White Sands National Park, New Mexico: Explore The Largest Gypsum Dunefield In The World
White Sands National Park is one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world, known for being the largest gypsum dune field. This part of the gypsum sand dunes is one of the most unique, making the park well worth visiting. Because of its rough landscape, only a handful of fauna and flora thrive here, but the available ones are definitely extraordinary, including the White Sands Pupfish, which can’t be found anywhere else on earth. While it boasts one of the most mind-blowing sceneries in the United States, it is still among the underrated national parks.
Dunes Life Nature Trail, Raptor Lake, Alkali Flat Trailhead, and Interdune Boardwalk.
6 Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas: Home To Texas’ Highest Peaks
Guadalupe Mountains National Park boasts a unique terrain and is nothing like much of West Texas, which is mostly to have flat and barren. It is home to beautiful scenery and plenty of hiking trails that take tourists to some of the best bucket-list-worthy secret spots. It is visited by about 200,000 travelers, and those who make it here get to enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state.
Staying in El Paso? Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a perfect day trip since it takes less than two hours to reach.
5 Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota: Home To The World’s Densest Cave System
Home to the world’s longest and densest cave system, Wind Cave National Park is one of the underrated US national parks to visit in 2023. What is more enticing is its beautiful display of boxwork, a unique cave formation comprising thin calcite fins. It was discovered in 1881, and history has that it was once a sacred spot for Native Americans for many years. The park houses a mixed-grass prairie with native wildlife, such as prairie dogs, mule deer, coyotes, and elk.
There are several tours that the national park service offers within the park. These tours are led by guides who take visitors through the cave system’s narrow passages, allowing them to have an unforgettable experience of this unique phenomenon. Join one of these tours!
Top attractions to see:
The Visitor Center, Cold Brook Canyon Trail, and Ranking Ridge Trail.
4 Great Basin National Park, Nevada: A Perfect Retreat For Stargazing Enthusiasts
Many vacationers overlook the Great Basin National Park in Nevada because of the more popular national parks located in the nearby states; California, Arizona, and Utah. But this park is definitely worth exploring, thanks to its incredibly stunning scenery, comprising magnificent lakes, mountains, and wildflower fields. It also presents plenty of stargazing opportunities because it offers very clear views of the night sky, making it one of the best stargazing destinations in the country.
3 Kings Canyon National Park, California: Home To The World’s Largest Remaining Grove Of Sequoia Trees
Kings Canyon National Park is totally worth visiting, especially for nature lovers who’d love to engage in multi-day hikes. This place is brimming with unspoiled natural beauty, including the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees on earth. It features plenty of towering trees, deep valleys, and miles of hiking trails to explore. Kings Canyon National Park hikes are some of the best, and its landscape is always compared to that of Yosemite Valley, as there are a lot of similarities. It’s no wonder John Muir, one of the most famous naturalists and conservationists in America, referred to it as “a rival to Yosemite.”
Combine a trip to this park with Sequoia National Park to have the most fun, unforgettable experience. These parks have a lot of similarities, including plenty of common fauna and flora.
2 Glacier Bay National Park And Preserve, Alaska: Experience Some of Most Impressive Tidewater Glaciers In The World
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve cover 3.3 million acres of beautiful mountains, impressive glaciers, majestic fjords, and pristine forests. It is home to fantastic wildlife, including deer, bears, and whales. Some of the best attractions to see in this park include Johns Hopkins Glacier, Margerie Glacier, Lituya Bay, Muir Glacier, Glacier Bay, and Mount Fairweather. Glacier Bay National Park is one of the underrated US national ones that shouldn’t miss their bucket list in 2023.
1 Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona: Explore Vibrant Badlands And Rolling Hills In This Absolute Hidden Gem
Arizona is more than its world-famous Grand Canyon National Park. While Petrified Forest National Park is one of the United States’ most underrated national parks, its environment would definitely leave tourists in awe, thanks to its expansive vistas – unique landscapes and impressive eroding badlands. Plus, this hidden gem gives incredible access to Phoenix and the Grand Canyon as it only takes about three hours.
Top attractions near and within the park
Painted Desert Inn
, Rainbow Forest Museum, Agate Bridge, Jasper Forest, Pintado Point, Tawa Point, and Crystal Forest Trailhead