Visit the Lesser Known National Parks

Everyone knows the big national
…and lots of people visit them.  Take a look at these numbers: In 2003 almost 2 million people visited
Glacier NP; almost 3 million headed to
Yellowstone.  It gets worse:
Yosemite saw 3.3 million, and the Grand
saw a whopping 4.1 million people last year…3.9 million of which stared at the canyon walls and said in
forced awe: “Wow, you can see history before your eyes”.

All these parks get so much traffic you have to wonder if people know that there are actually lots of other parks out
there that, while not as majestic in some ways, still offer a much less congested alternative for families and
road-trippers alike.

For example, Nez Perce National Historical Park, which consists of some 38
major sites in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana, is both beautiful and historical. The sites pay tribute to the
Nez Perce, who hung out and shared Buffalo burgers with Lewis and Clark.

While the name leaves a bit to be desired (sounds like the historical  place where everyone used to wash their
underwear) Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nev., sees only 85,000 visitors a
year, and yet it is a very beautiful park, with killer scenery ranging from limestone caverns (i.e. the beautiful
Lehman Caves) to 13,063-foot-high Wheeler Peak and the only glacier in the Great Basin Desert.

Oh, and let’s not forget one of the coolest, least visited parks around, especially for paddlers, as the sea caves
are mind-blowing. Channel Islands National Park sits off the Coast of California
and a fulfilling visit can easily be squeezed into a weekend. You might remember
I was there just a few months ago.

The list goes on. What you ought to do this year, instead of heading to one of the crowded parks and joining the
hordes of Winnebago tards is do some research and find one of the smaller, lesser-known parks. You’ll be happy you