For those adventure junkies who love to take it to the limit but don’t like to take a number to get in line to do it, check out these 4 under-the-radar National Parks and Preserves. You’ll find stunning beauty, fantastic wildlife, and heart-pumping challenges. What you won’t find are any crowds.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska
No roads, plus no trails, plus no visitor services equals no crowds. Which isn’t to say there are no people here: Indigenous Alaskans have been tracking herds of migrating caribou through this landscape for 12,000 years (a Nunamiut Inupiat village lies within the park).
This 8.4 million acre wilderness is located entirely above the Arctic Circle and the diverse ecosystem varies from alpine tundra to boreal forest to granite and limestone peaks rising 7,000 feet; it’s also the site of six officially designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. Home to black and brown bears, wolves, moose, muskox and voracious mosquitos, the only way in and out is by hiking or flying (about 12,000 people do it each year); it’s recommended you pack along a satellite phone in case of emergency.