A friend just went to Smokey Mountain, said it's not crowded.[/quote]
Most visited NP in the US.
Loc: North Georgia, USA
If you want off the beaten path in Kansas, go to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve just north of Cottonwood Falls, KS. Stuff blooming there all the time, and a bison herd also.
If you are "into the wild," you might consider Isle Royale National Park off the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is rugged but beautiful. Another Michigan spot, although not a National Park but a National Lakeshore, is Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is stunningly beautiful.....but I'm a native so I am biased.
My Friend lives in Copper Harbor, His Brother and Sister run The Dreamland Hotel as it has been Owned from the beginning and has been passed down to 3 Generations now. But the Isle Royale Nat. Park is a blast for the the Beautiful Nature and Trails. I used to ride with my Friend when he had to serve 2 years in Detroit, back in the day every Michigan State Trooper had to work out of the Detroit Post. He rented a house next door to me as I lived in The Waterford/Clarkston area. So it just made sense for Me to work with him in Detroit. I was on every Crime Scene or a Fatal Car crash where I could get enough detail from the scene, I was a Forensic Examiner right here in Michigan, so it only made sense for me when I would get bored I would take off from being around a bunch of Dead Bodies as I would get bored and put the Uniform on. It used to be no matter what job you were doing, You were still a State Trooper. But, if you plan on going to Isle Royale, you better be in good shape because you will be hiking a lot of treacherous trails. In the 70's you were only permitted to go there at certain times and if you got caught going there without a Pass, You were getting Fined a $100. But, yes Michigan does have some Beautiful Parks. Right here in Lower Michigan we have some great Metroparks. We have one Metropark that has 4 Osprey Families, 5 Eagle Families, The Blue and The Green Herons, and so much more. If any UHH Member plans on coming to Michigan just contact me or Google for info. for Park Sites. I made the Cover of The Huron MetroParks that is a Group with a huge Membership.
MDI Mainer wrote:
The British online publication Nature TTL recently... (
If you go to White Sands NP, I suggest a diversion to Hueco Tanks State Park (east of El Paso). It was a stagecoach stop (might still be some ruins). Access is more restricted than when I lived down there; we used to go there often to climb the rocks and party. If you are there after a summer rain, you might see the aquatic life: barred tiger salamander, clam shrimp, and fairy shrimp. They are amazing to see.
White Sands has a lot to offer. I have been only once but loved it. I've been to Death Vally many times, in all seasons, high to low elevations. The first time, driving through, I thought, "Meh, what's all the fuss?" Years later went back with my soon-to-be husband and was introduced to the off-the-beaten path wonders. The dunes, the canyons, the surrounding mountains. Mahogany Flats for comet- and meteor shower watching. 100 year blooms (more frequent than 100 years now). An actual lake at Lake Manley (Badwater). Desert Bighorn on a canyon hike. So much to discover there.
another suggestion is to check out your local state and federal wildlife reserves. They're affordable and provide wonderful opportunities without the big crowds, in most cases.
If you want not crowded at all, then definitely Gateway to the Arctic NP.
A friend just went to Smokey Mountain, said it's not crowded.
This is off season. In season, Smokey Mountain NP is one of the most heavily visited NPs on the system. For sure, Alaska has some of the most beautiful and remote NPs in the system.
Here are a few spots. Covid definitely changed the number of people heading to the great outdoors, but I think that will diminish. These were pretty good even during Covid, especially in the off season. I’m from Utah, so I have a Western slant.
1. Great Basin NP
2. Bryce Canyon (only in the off season)
3. Yellowstone Lemhi Valley to Bear Claw Pass
4 Little Big Horn Historic Park
5. Grasslands NP
6. Sawtooth Mountains Montana
7. Mirror Lake area Utah (especially fall)
8. Outer Banks NC
9. North Rim of the Grand Canyon
10. Kolob Canyon Zion’s NP (off season only)
11. Joshua Tree NP
12 Channel Island NP
13. Monument Valley
14. The Navajo Reservation outside Mesa Verda (requires a guided tour by local Indians that you prearrange with the tribal council)
15. Black Water National Bird Reserve Maryland
16. Gunnison area Colorado and Utah
17 Escalante National Monument, the drive to Lee’s Ferry
Hope this helps. If you want to do wilderness areas, well, that is hard with equipment, but it opens a huge list.
In addition to state parks, there are many private entities which have preserved lands, even less crowded, and which offer spectacular opportunities for photography.
Here in Maine, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust owns about 38,000 acres (about the size of Acadia NP) open for public use and enjoyment.https://www.mcht.org/visit-a-preserve/
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