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(MSNBC)   Top 10 uncrowded national parks you can't visit because of high gas prices, massive blackouts   ( divider line
    More: Cool  
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22086 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Jul 2006 at 5:11 PM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

116 Comments     (+0 »)

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2006-07-24 04:49:25 PM  
I don't think the blackouts affect the remote national parks much. They are pretty much off the grid except for a few buildings in some of the parks.
2006-07-24 04:57:32 PM  
I think it was a joke about not being able to leave home. Personally, I think the NPS is paying Drew.

/plan to hit Arches next spring
//and that fine, fine Utah snowboarding
2006-07-24 05:16:28 PM  
Tripping mushrooms in Arches is fun, but tripping mushrooms in Canyonlands (40 miles, maybe 100, who knows, south of Moab) is more fun.
2006-07-24 05:16:57 PM  
Submitter was joking...

/not submitter
//good at noticing all tongues in cheeks
2006-07-24 05:17:29 PM
2006-07-24 05:19:03 PM  
thank you submitter. now i have somewhere to drive in my gas-sipping Hyundai Elantra! :-)
2006-07-24 05:19:04 PM  
Bill Bryson says that 90% of visitors to national parks never go more than 100 yards from the parking lot. And Bill Bryson never lies.

Cut the umbilical cord fatties!
2006-07-24 05:19:07 PM  
headline made me lol!
/easily amused
2006-07-24 05:21:51 PM  
I'm surprised Great Basin wasn't on the list. It's kind of hard to get further away from everything in the lower 48 than that.
2006-07-24 05:22:10 PM  
Not one Alaskan park listed. Want something 'uncrowded', then that's where you want to go.

Oops, what I mean is, that's an excellent list. Forget what I said and visit them all, regularly.
2006-07-24 05:23:29 PM  
I was in Sequoia last week - it was amazingly uncroweded and very cool.
2006-07-24 05:23:37 PM  
I wonder how much Sherman's Travel paid to get this greenlit and on MSNBC?
2006-07-24 05:24:23 PM  
I'd have to say I like Seqouia/King's Canyon better than Yosemite. Sure, you don't have the half dome in S/KC, but you don't have the crowds either. Also, Yosemite was too overdeveloped for my tastes.

Oh yeah, and there are even more BEARS over there...
2006-07-24 05:25:03 PM  
Hank Chinaski is either very very short, or encounters shin-high mushrooms very very frequently.
2006-07-24 05:25:10 PM  
TFA is right; the parks in southern Utah are amazing. Capitol Reef (monument? park? I don't remember) was just OK, but everything else... wow. Especially Arches and Bryce.

I'd add Glacier NP in Montana to the list. It was cloudy/foggy as hell and we could barely see anything the whole time we were there, and it was still about 100x better than Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado, plus way less crowded.
2006-07-24 05:28:26 PM  
JohnGaltDiscGolfer made me lol because he is teh funny!!!!psi!!lo!!!c!!1!ybin!!!
2006-07-24 05:28:44 PM  
My trip to Big Bend NP was my best vacation ever. And I've been to Europe and the Caribbean. Go if you get the chance.
2006-07-24 05:28:52 PM  
Wow, no mention of Chiricahua Nat. Monument/Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona?? Chiricahua is one of the least visited parks in america.
2006-07-24 05:28:58 PM  
I went camping in the Badlands, you couldn't ask for a more uncrowded place.
2006-07-24 05:31:06 PM  
Badlands is Badass

Wall Drug
2006-07-24 05:31:53 PM  
I, for one, am very happy that most people can't manage to get their fat asses, off road vehicles, mountain bikes, and GPS's into the Utah backcountry.

/Edward Abbey
2006-07-24 05:31:53 PM  

That's a great place. I was there when a tropical storm came through (some time around 1990); one which caused a lot of damage in the local cities (Sierra Vista, etc.).
2006-07-24 05:32:46 PM  
I've been to Naughtyland, but never Badland. Maybe next year. . .
2006-07-24 05:34:03 PM  
I loved being in the Badlands. Got to spend a couple days on my way to backpacking in the Black Hills.

That was one long drive. It was also lots of fun.
2006-07-24 05:34:34 PM  

Crowd-Free National Parks
1. Arches
2. Badlands
3. Big Bend
4. Biscayne
5. Cape Breton Highlands
6. Congaree
7. Grand Canyon - North Rim
8. Gwaii Haanas
9. Hawaii Volcanoes
10. Sequoia & Kings Canyon

Having been to Arches, Badlands, Big Bend, Hawaii Volcanoes, and Sequoia/King's Canyon, gotta say that I enjoyed Big Bend the best out of all of them. VERY remote too.

Surprised that the Apostle Islands weren't on the list since it's not exactly an easy destination. I guess Zion no longer qualifies as "uncrowded" but damn is that ever a nice one too. Earns it's nickname of "Yosemite Jr."
2006-07-24 05:36:02 PM  
I guess they don't count the thousands and thousands of asians at Sequoia.
2006-07-24 05:36:31 PM  
C'mon everyone - let's gas up the car and drive to the Hawaii Volcanoes
2006-07-24 05:36:32 PM  
The badlands are incredible.

Yes, that little speck is me.
2006-07-24 05:36:44 PM  
Been through the badlands on a motorcycle. Also rode through a herd of buffalo. Not as bad as Boston traffic.
2006-07-24 05:37:45 PM  
I did some camping in Arches and Canyonlands, etc in Utah and it was farking awesome.

I really need to go to more of these places before I die...

/headline made me LOL btw
2006-07-24 05:37:54 PM  
From TFA: "It's not all sand and surf on the Hawaiian Island of Hilo."

Funny....I never heard of the Hawaiian Island of Hilo before. That must be why it's so uncrowded.

Depending where you go, Sequoia-Kings Canyon can be very crowded. Redwood National Park has a lot fewer people. Probably because it rains 9 months out of the year.
2006-07-24 05:39:12 PM  
I'm kinda surprised not to see Great Sand Dunes NP on that list. Everytime I've been there it's been pretty sparse, people-wise.
2006-07-24 05:40:53 PM  

the same thing happened to me in Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park. Except we were in a jeep. But on a bike, lookin one of those critters straight in the eye?? Geez! Being in proximity to just one of those things is scary & awe-inspiring, i can't even imagine.
2006-07-24 05:44:13 PM  
whatever you do, don't go to Zion. Its really ugly and boring.

/just spent 2 days camping there, returning in 3 weeks.
2006-07-24 05:44:39 PM  
I've never been to any of the parks on the list, but I know that the Yellowstone backcountry was pretty sparse when I went in May.

/going to Biscayne this winter for some snorkeling action.
2006-07-24 05:45:01 PM  
Solid State Vittles: Surprised that the Apostle Islands weren't on the list since it's not exactly an easy destination.

You're not kidding. The kids and I standed ourselves on one of the islands for five days and we had the island all to ourselves for three of them (if you don't count the gajillion mosquitoes that followed us around like an evil black cloud).

I've been to all of the National Parks in Wisconsin and love them all.
2006-07-24 05:46:04 PM  
Been to Congaree National Park (known locally as Congaree Swamp) - it's actually pretty nice, as long as you don't go when it's crazy humid (so either February or October). Really wanted to hit up the Grand Canyon north rim last May, but the roads were still closed for the one week we could make it, so we just spent three nights in backcountry hiking down from the South Rim. Still beautiful except for all the fat braindead dayhikers who couldn't understand yielding to we who were going uphill with a quarter of our bodyweights on our backs. If you hike the Canyon in May, don't bother taking your tent's rainfly below the rim.
2006-07-24 05:47:53 PM  
The north rim of the Grand Canyon is very nice. But during the summer, I'm not sure if I'd call it exactly "crowd-free," probably just "A lot less crowded than the south rim, with the occasional multitude, in the major tourist spots around dinnertime."
2006-07-24 05:48:18 PM  
Budget cut - auction off these boondoggles !!
2006-07-24 05:50:10 PM  
Oh, and Isle Royale National Park should be on the list.

Only 20,000 visitors a year, only accessable by boats and aircraft (no airstrips, though, they've gotta be boat-planes), NO ROADS, NO LODGING. The boat trip is long enough and occurs infrequently enough that you're pretty much guaranteeing yourself at least one night's camping just to go at all.

Assuming only about 5 months during which visitors are likely to show up (it's completely closed in the Winter, anyway) you're looking at an average of less than 150 people there on any given day. Maybe a little higher, since most vistors probably spend several days there, but it'd still be really low.

I haven't been, but it's very high on my "to do" list. Plus, it'll give me a good excuse to go back to Grand Marais, MN, one of the prettiest towns on the North Shore (or that I've ever seen, period. Taking photos that people will think are post cards is easier there than almost anywhere else I've ever been)
2006-07-24 05:50:44 PM  
I third the vote for the Badlands. They and Teddy Roosevelt (especially the North Unit - hiked there two days a week for almost three months - saw four other hikers) are just incredible. Also, Florida has tons of uncrowded parks - no one wants to hike in the heat or the swamps. Torreya, St. Marks, Big Cypress, Bradwell Bay are just beautiful though
2006-07-24 05:51:12 PM  
The North Cascades National Park is awesome. You can drive it in an afternoon, with plenty of time to stop and view the scenery.

It does cost five bucks a day to stop at the trailheads and hike the trails, but that's nothing for what you get to see.
2006-07-24 05:51:44 PM  
Arches is spectacular, I don't know how they come up with the un-crowded part. In the past 10 years the amount of visitors there has sky-rocketed. 20 years ago no one had ever heard of the place. All them canyon-bikers that now invade Moab have taken it over.
2006-07-24 05:52:22 PM  
I'm surprised the Channel Islands NP aren't on there. They are just off the coast of Los Angeles, and they receive VERY few visitors. And even if the more crowded national parks, you can find a lot of peace and quiet once you get into the backcountry, especially in Glacier. Some other amazing lesser-known parks are Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
2006-07-24 05:54:06 PM  
Ah nice! I'll have to visit as many of those as I can.

I'm not sure if it qualifies as "crowd free" but Shenandoah National Park can be pretty low on people depending on when/where you go and it's absolutely beautiful. Most people stop at the rest areas and overlooks along the road close to the entrances.

Just drive far into the park, and I suggest hiking the trails and backwoods camping. Relatively few people actually wander into the woods (compared to those visiting the park), and you can really see some beautiful sights like waterfalls and flower-filled meadows.

I spent Y2K in Shenandoah in fact. It was very peaceful and pretty...
2006-07-24 05:54:36 PM  
Canyonlands is a whole hell of a lot less crowded than Arches. I was in both places back in March and the was NO ONE at Canyonlands. Beautiful place, though.

Natural Bridges is awesome and uncrowded, too. But it's a National Monument, not National Park. So I guess it didn't qualify.
2006-07-24 06:01:35 PM
2006-07-24 06:07:12 PM  
Camping in Northern Michigan is always fun.

/beerbutt chicken '06 starts this Friday
//woohoo! vacation!
///i can't wait...
2006-07-24 06:08:58 PM  
Been to many of the listed, they are all truly awesome places to see. Still want to see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
2006-07-24 06:11:14 PM  
Uncrowded because they are boring as hell and nobody wants to farking go there. Rock, rock, sand, look, a rock!
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