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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.