There are hundreds of excellent parks in the U.S. with some of them such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon national parks being famous across the globe. However, there are plenty of unknown parks across the nation that are sometimes underrated and overlooked. These are among the best of those.
1. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
(photo by stoneroadpress)
The name of this wonderful park describes the Wind Cave, which features passages that are filled with some beautiful and unusual formations. The 44-square-mile park is also home to a wide variety of interesting wildlife. The park was created in 1903 as a way to protect the scenic cave which is now known as the fourth biggest in the world.
You’ll be able to take guided tours of the cave and if you’re into hiking there’s a good chance you’ll come across animals such as elk, coyotes, mule deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and bison. There are about 450 bison living in the park and they wander around quite a bit while they graze.
2. Mojave National Preserve, California
(photo by tomsaint)
This beautiful park is located in sunny southern California. It’s quite remote, undeveloped and serene, making it an excellent location for some solitude. There are still plenty of things to do for those who are looking for adventure though as you’ll find numerous things to explore such as volcanic cinder cones and tall sand dunes.
The park is home to the biggest forest of Joshua trees on the planet. You’ll also find some historical remnants of military, mining, and ranching activities here. Three of America’s top four deserts are featured here in the Sonoran, Mojave, and Great Basin. The tallest peak in the preserve is Clark Mountain.
3. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana
(photo by kenlund)
This park named after a 19th-century smuggler and pirate known as Jean Lafitte. There are six different sections in the park and they all teach a lot about the history and influences of the local area.
The park stretches across the southern part of Louisiana from the Mississippi River Delta over to the western prairies. You’ll find an assortment of wildlife in the nature preserve and can listen to Cajun music inside an old theatre. You’ll also be able to view the site where the Battle of New Orleans took place in 1815.
4. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
(photo by azwegers)
Chaco Canyon lies in the north-western section of New Mexico and is quite remote, being miles away from main highways. It’s a historical site as the area was a major cultural and trading center for the Pueblo people between the years 850 and 1250.
The area was abandoned after that but it was never forgotten as it’s now a World Heritage site which features the Aztec Ruins National Monument. There are six fascinating archaeological sites in the park that can be traced back hundreds of years.
5. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
(photo by oakleyoriginals)
This lovely waterway in the north-western region of Arkansas was officially designated in 1972 as the first national river in America. It features lush forests, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful bluffs. The 135-mile long river is excellent for canoeing, kayaking, and rafting down. The river is home to three different official wilderness regions including Steel Creek.
There are plenty of opportunities along the river for swimming, primitive camping, and hiking. You’ll even come across an old zinc-mining town named Rush, which is now a virtual ghost. Some of the nation’s best scenery can be found alongside Buffalo National River.