Bucket List January 12, 2023
Get Away From It All At These Rugged And Remote Wilderness Areas In The U.S.
After the whirlwind of the holidays, many of us crave space. Because while the holiday season is filled with fun and family, the need for peace and quiet come January is real. Luckily, there are lots of national forests, parks, and preserves across the country where one can do just that. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness,” said John Muir, and we wholeheartedly agree. Heed the call and escape from it all at these rugged and
remote wilderness areas in the U.S.
North Cascades National Park - Washington
North Cascades is a breathtaking and underappreciated national park that might make you believe you've arrived in Alaska, but it can be found less than three hours from Seattle, Washington, right on the border of the United States and Canada. It features absolutely incredible alpine forests and awe-inspiring mountain ranges, including more than 300 glaciers. The water here is some of the bluest you'll ever see, and every single moment spent here is worth a million photographs. This is one of those
little-known national parks in the United States
that just seems to be too unfairly pristine to be real - but it is. Of course, hiking through this gorgeous landscape is the most popular activity in the park, and you certainly won't have any shortage of spots to explore - there are over 400 miles of trails to trek, ranging from short, scenic strolls to extensive backcountry routes.
North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park - California
Redwood National and State Parks
encompass 139,000 acres of lush, old-growth forest in Northern California, and are one of our country's most precious and protected treasures. If you want to lose yourself in the forest à la John Muir, we recommend paying a visit to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This awe-inspiring, ancient forest is one of the most wondrous and ruggedly wild places in the country, and its massive size means it's generally not very crowded, either.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, CA 95531, USA
Channel Islands National Park - California
are five small (and criminally overlooked) islands off the coast of Southern California, and each one is a little slice of perfection with its own special features. History enthusiasts love Anacapa Island, where an old, 1930s-era lighthouse resides; wildlife watchers, meanwhile, are drawn to Santa Cruz for its rich and varied biology, which includes numerous rare, endangered, and threatened species. This rugged island is home to notable avian species such as bald eagles and bats, aquatic animals like whales and dolphins, and terrestrial creatures like the deer mouse and island fox. No matter which of the islands you choose to explore, you'll enjoy a sublime experience
at this unique national park.
Channel Islands National Park, Ventura, CA 93001, USA
Great Basin National Park - Nevada
One of Nevada's greatest treasures,
Great Basin National Park
is a place that will wholly surprise you. While technically located in the desert, this is a lush land with some of the most fertile and flourishing forests in the West. What's more, Great Basin National Park's remote location makes it one of the best places in the country for stargazing -- it's one of the darkest places in the entire country, in fact -- an adventure that absolutely deserves top spot on your bucket list.
National Forest Development Road 448, NF-448, Nevada 89311, USA
Bighorn National Forest - Wyoming
Wyoming is a nature lover's paradise, and
Bighorn National Forest
one of its most shining stars. One of the most remote and pristine places in the country, Bighorn National Forest is a national treasure sure to satisfy the wanderlust of all who explore its 1,107,571 pristine acres. Bighorn is home to literally thousands of miles of trails, myriad mountains, and dozens of lakes, and it's hard to imagine a better place to get away from the world -- especially within the park's Cloud Peak Wilderness. One of Earth's last true wilderness areas, this is an immensely beautiful forest that truly is a bucket-list must for all explorers.
Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming 82834, USA
Canyonlands National Park - Utah
Located in southeastern Utah,
Canyonlands National Park
is a relatively unknown member of the state's five national parks -- especially when compared to Arches and Zion. Yet this national treasure is certainly worth the trip, especially for those looking for a rough and rugged adventure. A hiking paradise, Canyonlands offers treks that range from accessible one-mile hikes to epic multi-day excursions. For those seeking a true adventure, there are two campsites located within the park. These sites, known as The Needles and Island In The Sky, offer the most impressive stargazing as well as the chance to watch the sunrise over the canyons in the morning. Remote and untouched landscape in its rawest form, paired with natural beauty and jaw-dropping wonders -- you're sure to fall in love with this magical place in the Beehive State.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah 84532, USA
Guadalupe Mountain National Park - Texas
When Gene Autry sang of the stars in Texas, he was certainly alluding to
Guadalupe Mountain National Park
. While several mountain ranges stretch across the North and West parts of Texas, none quite compare to the grandiosity of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This incredible park is home to the four highest peaks in the state, in addition to 80 miles of rugged hiking trails. Spanning 86,416 acres across West Texas, Guadalupe Mountain National Park is the kind of place where you can easily and intentionally get lost in nature; as such, be sure to plan accordingly so as to not
get lost in nature.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Salt Flat, TX 79847, USA
Voyageurs National Park - Minnesota
One of the
least-visited national parks in the country
, Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park is not to be missed. You'll find this gem way up at the tip-top of northern Minnesota, a stone's throw from the Canadian border, in a beautiful no-man's land that puts it stubbornly under the radar. Accessing Voyageurs National Park does require a bit of effort; you'll need to bring (or rent) a boat to explore it. But a bit of planning is worth what awaits: 655 miles of unaltered shoreline surrounded by dense, untouched forest and massive lakes, all interconnected by water channels that wind and weave through the area. If you're on the lookout for peace and quiet, and the feeling of being a real-life, modern-day explorer, you'll find it here.
Voyageurs National Park, Kabetogama Township, MN 56669, USA
Isle Royale National Park - Michigan
While Isle Royale National Park contains hundreds of small islands, its namesake Isle Royale is located off of the Michigan coast in Lake Superior. It's accessible by seaplane or ferry, and it boasts some excellent scuba diving sites around sunken shipwrecks - which isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Midwest... but that's just part of what makes this place so special. The entire park is petite compared to others on this list, consisting of just 894 square miles, 685 of which are pristine water. However, due to its isolation, this national park almost never sees crowds, averaging just 20,000 visitors each year and making it one of the country's
least-visited national parks
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, USA
Congaree National Park - South Carolina
Congaree National Park
stretches across more than 26,000 acres and is located a mere 18 miles from the state capital in Columbia. Congaree is particularly impressive for its striking biodiversity, as well as for being the largest expanse of old-growth, bottom-land hardwood forest left in the southeastern United States. These trees are some of the oldest in the country, and they're well-worth a trip to discover in their emerald-green glory. The quiet national park also transforms into a place of pure magic come nightfall, when, during certain time of the year,
light the forest floor.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina 29061, USA
Nantahala National Forest/Pigsah National Forest - North Carolina
national forests of North Carolina
are home to some of the best scenic overlooks, waterfalls, hiking trails, and natural beauty in the country. And when you visit PIgsah National Forest in North Carolina, you really get a national forest twofer; it's often paired with the neighboring Nantahala National Forest, as the duo lays claim to more than 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail. These forests are flush with old-growth stretches of oak, hemlock, tulip poplar, pine, sycamore, dogwood, and beech trees, which, as you can imagine, light the North Carolina landscape ablaze with vibrant colors each fall. For waterfall chasers, both national parks offer amazing opportunities. With the powerful Nantahala River running through the eponymous forest, Nantahala is home to hundreds of North Carolina waterfalls, including the show-stopping Upper Whitewater Falls. Known as the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains, Whitewater Falls boasts two tiers -- one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina -- totaling a stunning 811 feet.
Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina 28714, USA
Baxter State Park - Maine
Acadia National Park often steals the spotlight in the Pine Tree State, but
Baxter State Park
easily keeps pace with this national park -- minus the crowds. Baxter State Park in Millinocket offers over 200,000 beautiful acres of land on which to explore, unwind, and let go. It also offers a chance for adventure-seekers to challenge themselves on some of the state's hardest trails. Governor Percival P. Baxter gifted the park to the state of Maine in 1931; his only stipulation was that it remain "forever wild." Even though attendance has ramped up in the last few years, the park remains blissfully rugged, a place that's one of the most wild-feeling spots in all of New England.
Baxter State Park Road, Baxter State Park Rd, Maine, USA
Katmai National Park - Alaska
One of Alaska’s most famous wildlife species is the grizzly bear,
Katmai National Park and Preserve
is home to a thriving ursidae population. The reason? McNeil River’s salmon runs. All five species of Pacific salmon can be found in this region, much to the delight of the 2,200 bears who call Katmai home. However, while flush with bears and wildlife, Katmai National Park is one of the least-crowded (in fact, more bears than people are estimated to live on Alaska Peninsula), with the majority of guests visiting between May-September. Even during this "peak" season, with four million acres of remote, wild, and spectacular country, you're all but guaranteed peace and quiet. Just keep an eye out for bears!
Katmai National Park and Preserve, King Salmon, AK 99613, USA
Gates of the Arctic National Park - Alaska
A place located quite literally at the end of the world,
Gates of the Arctic National Park
is the northernmost national park in America -- and the second largest. Residing
the Arctic Circle, the aptly-named Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska presents a breathtaking landscape. You’ll see glaciers, tundra, mountains, and more: it’s got some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, which is saying a lot for a place that’s so unbelievably beautiful.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, 101 Dunkel St, Fairbanks, AK 99701, USA
What’s remarkable about spending time in nature is that, even if you’re alone, you’ll never feel lonely. When surrounded by the forest and wildlife, mountains and rivers, you’ll be in the very best kind of company — the kind that fills, not depletes, your bucket.
Looking for more awe-inspiring places to experience in this beautiful country of ours? It’s hard to compare to the beauty of
Maroon Bells. This place of sublime splendor is the culmination of more than 300 million years of geologic activity, including sedimentation, weathering, and erosion by wind, water, and ice. It’s one of Mother Nature’s finest masterpieces, and truly deserving of a place on your bucket list. For more travel ideas and inspiration, follow OnlyInYourState on Instagram and Facebook.
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Address: Canyonlands National Park, Utah 84532, USA Address: Baxter State Park Road, Baxter State Park Rd, Maine, USA Address: Channel Islands National Park, Ventura, CA 93001, USA Address: Congaree National Park, South Carolina 29061, USA Address: Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, 101 Dunkel St, Fairbanks, AK 99701, USA Address: National Forest Development Road 448, NF-448, Nevada 89311, USA Address: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Salt Flat, TX 79847, USA Address: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, USA Address: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, CA 95531, USA Address: Katmai National Park and Preserve, King Salmon, AK 99613, USA Address: North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA Address: Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina 28714, USA Address: Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming 82834, USA Address: Voyageurs National Park, Kabetogama Township, MN 56669, USA
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