9 National Parks You’ve Never Heard Of To Visit In 2022

New year, new adventures!  

Visiting a new national park is the perfect way to kick off the new year. 

While our home state of Utah is close to some of the most popular national parks, let's take a look at some of the parks that are under the radar. 

voyageurs national park

Voyageurs

 Located: Northern Minnesota 

Description: "A Park of Water, Islands, and Horizons"

Activities: Fishing, Birdwatching, Camping, Stargazing, Boating

Park Highlight: Anderson Bay

Anderson Bay is a prime example of the beautiful scenery at Voyageurs National Park. Composed of 80-foot tall granite cliffs that provide views of the Bay and Rainy Lake, Anderson Bay is one of the most photographed locations in the park. Hike the 1.75 mile loop to get a view from the top, or if you're looking for a longer hike, wander along the Cruiser Lake Trail system that crosses the Kabetogama Peninsula to connect with Lost Bay on Kabetogama Lake. 

Read more about Voyageurs National Park.

carlsbas caverns national park

Carlsbad Caverns 

 Located: Southern New Mexico

Description: "Beauty and Wonder; Above and Below"

Activities: Hiking, Spelunking, Batwatching 

Park Highlight: The Big Room

 The Big Room is the single largest cave chamber by volume in the United States, so it's no surprise that it's one of the most popular attractions at Carlsbad Caverns. The Big Room trail is 1.25 mile and on average takes around one and half hours to complete. With various types of limestone cave formations, the Big Room is a great place to explore underneath the surface. 

Things to know before you go to the Carlsbad Caverns.

Pinnacles national park

Pinnacles 

 Located: Central California

Description: "Born of Fire"

Activities: Hiking, Spelunking, Birdwatching, Climbing

Park Highlight: Bear Gulch Trail

See views of forest, cliffs, lakes and pinnacles formations on the Bear Gulch Trail. With a distance of 1.5 miles and 300 feet elevation gain, this short hike is anything from boring and is a must-see for any Pinnacles visitors. This trail starts at the Bear Gulch Day Use Area. Don't forget a flashlight for exploring the caves!

Learn more about Pinnacles National Park. 

congaree national park

Congaree 

 Located: Central South Carolina 

Description: "Home of Champions"

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Canoeing, Kayaking, Fishing

Park Highlight: Kayaking on Cedar Creek 

Experience the park from a different perspective through kayaking through the heart of the park. Paddle both up and downstream on the Cedar Creek and drift past tupelos and bald cypress trees. Don't forget to check water levels before heading to the park for any canoe or kayak advetnure. 

Plan your trip to Congaree National Park. 

Kenai Fjords national park

Kenai Fjords

 Located: Southern Alaska

Description: "Where Mountains, Ice, and Ocean Meet"

Activities: Hiking, Boat tours, Fishing, Mountaineering, Kayaking, Flight seeing

Park Highlight: Exit Glacier

While Exit Glacier is the only area in the park accessible via roads, it is still a breathtaking view of some natural Alaskan beauty. Watch the Exit Glacier flow down the Harding Icefield and explore the nearby trails to experience the unique ecosystem around glaciers.  

Learn more about Kenai Fjords

dry tortuga national park

Dry Tortugas

 Located: Off-shore Florida

Description: "Explore a 19th Century Fort and Snorkel Crystal Clear Water with Incredible Marine Life"

Activities: Fishing, Paddlesports, Snorkeling,  Boating, Geocaching, Camping

Park Highlight: Loggerhead Key

 Loggerhead Key is the largest island in the national park, and offers views of wildlife, lighthouses, and even shipwrecks. Once home to the historic Carnegie Laboratory for Marine Ecology, Loggerhead Key is named after the large quantities of Loggerhead sea turtles. Enjoy boating, swimming, and paddlesports.

Plan a visit to Dry Tortugas

north cascades national park

North Cascades

 Located: Northern Washington 

Description: "An Alpine Landscape With Jagged Peaks, Glaciers, Cascading Waters and Forested Valleys"

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Boating, Climbing, Wildlife viewing, Bicycling, Horseback Riding 

Park Highlight: Scenic Drive on  North Cascades Highway

One of the best ways to view the park is to take a drive along the North Cascades Highway, which spans roughly 30 miles and winds through old growth forests, waterfalls, and mountain scenery. With stops at North Cascades Visitor Center, Newhalem, Gorge Creek Falls, Diablo Lake Overlook , Happy Creek Forest Walk, and the Ross Lake Overlooks, you'll have plenty of places to hop out and take in breathtaking views. 

Learn more about the North Cascades Highway. 

scoville point isle royale

Isle Royale

 Located: Lake Superior, Northern Michigan

Description: "Your Invitation to a Superior Wilderness "

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Boating, Backpacking, Kayaking, Scuba Diving

Park Highlight: Scoville Point via the Stoll Memorial Trail 

Located 2.2 miles from Rock Harbor, Scoville Point is the perfect place to head further into the wilderness on Isle Royale. The figure eight shape of the trail allows variability with a loop or an out and back option. Enjoy views of forests, exposed rocks, and even from afar, Neys Provincal Park in Canada. Don't forget your bug spray!

Learn more on how to access Isle Royale

Wrangell-St. Elias

 Located: Southeastern Alaska 

Description: "America's Largest National Park"

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Backpacking, , Birding, Mountaineering, Boating, Floating 

Park Highlight: Kuskulana River Canyon and Bridge

While driving along one of the main park's road, McCarthy Road, park goers can find a single lane bridge rail road bridge over the canyon. The bridge is 525 feet long and 238 feet above the Kuskulana River, which gives a beautiful, yet slightly terrifying view of the landscape. The bridge can be traveled on via foot, wheelchair, and vehicle. 

Learn more about Wrangler- St. Elias 

What new park with you visit this year?