Off the Beaten Path: America's Most Beautiful, Overlooked National Parks

By Jack Ripley | February 14, 2024

New River Gorge National Park

Welcome to our journey through America's hidden natural treasures! While names like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon often steal the spotlight, our nation is also home to a constellation of lesser-known national parks, each with its unique charm and breathtaking beauty. In this series, we'll embark on a thrilling exploration of these off-the-beaten-path gems, uncovering the enchanting landscapes, remarkable wildlife, and rich histories that make them stand out. So, grab your virtual hiking boots and join us as we venture into the heart of these hidden wonders.

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New River Gorge National Park, located in the heart of West Virginia, is a recent addition to the national park system, and it's quickly becoming a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. This park is famous for the dramatic sandstone cliffs that line the New River, offering world-class rock climbing opportunities and breathtaking vistas. Visitors can hike through lush forests, paddle along the river's gentle waters, or simply enjoy the serenity of the Appalachian landscape. The New River Gorge Bridge, one of the park's highlights, is an engineering marvel and a must-see attraction. While it may not be as well-known as some other parks, New River Gorge National Park invites adventure seekers and nature lovers to explore its pristine wilderness and rugged beauty in the heart of Appalachia.

Wrangell St. Elias National Park

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Shutterstock/Galyna Andrushko

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, nestled in the wilds of Alaska, is the largest national park in the United States and one of its best-kept secrets. This colossal wilderness is a sanctuary for adventurers and nature lovers alike. Within its borders lie towering peaks, immense glaciers, and pristine rivers, making it a paradise for hikers, mountaineers, and those in search of untamed beauty. The park's remote location means fewer visitors, offering a unique opportunity to experience rugged wilderness, observe diverse wildlife, and immerse yourself in the rich history of Alaskan pioneers. So, if you crave the ultimate off-the-beaten-path adventure, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park welcomes you to explore its vast, unspoiled wonders.