U.S. National Parks hit an all-time attendance high in 2016, and we are sure that 2017 is sure to top it! We wanted to share our favorite underrated parks to visit for all your fall adventuring! The crowds may be smaller, but the landscape is vast and breathtaking nonetheless!
PHOTO: Grace Sorge
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Feel as if you’ve stepped onto another planet. With the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado (the tallest such dunes in North America) are completely awe-inspiring. It takes hours to climb to the top of the dunes, but the feeling you get taking in the vistas. You can then descend by foot or by sled/sandboard and cool off in the Medano Creek at the bottom of the peaks.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Great Basin, Nevada’s only national park, has some of the most beautiful sites—both above and below the surface. During the winter, you can enjoy skiing and snowshoeing, but the warmer months are slightly more popular with loads of outdoor activities (including fishing, camping, and backpacking). We highly recommend you take the guided tours of the Lehman Caves.
North Cascades National Park, Washngton
The rare experience of spotting bald eagles and hearing the numerous waterfalls that give the park its name is well worth its rugged terrain and difficult hiking trails, which make it one of the least visited parks in America. Known for its variety of ecosystems and wildlife, if you want to see glaciers and temperate rainforests in one place, then Washington’s North Cascades National Park is your place.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Located in the Guadalupe Mountains east of El Paso, this park offers deserts, canyons, gypsum sand dunes, and jaw-dropping views of the night sky. There are hiking trails in a variety of difficulty levels, as well as campsites, horseback riding paths, and stargazing opportunities at a nearby observatory.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
South Carolina’s Congaree National Park is an ideal destination for those seeking some adventure. Home to one of the tallest deciduous forest canopies on earth, the park some of the best bird watching and wilderness tours, with opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and camping. The masses of Spanish moss make for show-stopping photo ops as well.