Home #WHERETONEXT USA National Parks Week Report: Lesser-Known Parks Outranking Popular Ones

National Parks Week Report: Lesser-Known Parks Outranking Popular Ones

In celebration of National Parks Week, Travel Lemming analyzed data to rank all 63 US national parks. Hidden gem parks topped the list, overshadowing iconic parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Travel Lemming Editor Chelsea Booker at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington

For National Parks Week, Travel Lemming released its annual data-backed ranking of all 63 US national parks. The report finds lesser-visited parks outshining iconic favorites, with Yosemite National Park falling to position #22.

Providing a unique numerical insight into America’s natural landmarks, Travel Lemming’s USA national parks ranking assesses each park across seven factors: affordability, accessibility, biodiversity, crowds, reviews, jobs, and weather.

Here are the main takeaways from the report:

● Shenandoah National Park ranks #1 overall for the second year in a row, with exceptional scores in accessibility and biodiversity.
● Several lesser-known national parks ranked in the Top 20, largely due to a lack of crowds, cheaper prices, and ease of access.
● Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley is the most affordable park, Hawaii’s Haleakalā National Park has the best weather, Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains is the most biodiverse and has the most jobs associated with it, Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic is the least crowded, and Missouri’s Gateway Arch is the most accessible.
● The most famous national parks tend to fare worse in the data; often due to crowds and affordability issues.

The top 10 national parks in the USA according to the data are:

1Shenandoah National ParkVA
2Joshua Tree National ParkCA
3Olympic National ParkWA
4Great Smoky Mountains National ParkTN, NC
5North Cascades National ParkWA
6Grand Canyon National ParkAZ
7Channel Islands National ParkCA
8New River Gorge National ParkWV
9Everglades National ParkFL
10Redwood National and State ParksCA

Travel Lemming Writer Meg O’Connor commented: “As a data scientist and a huge fan of the outdoors, I love how much variety the United States has in its terrain, flora, and fauna. These data-driven rankings provide a numerical glimpse into how diverse our National Parks really are, and I feel like I could live several lifetimes and never get bored of visiting them.”

“Since we truly have some stunning hidden gems in our park system, I think these rankings will help draw attention to some of the lesser-known but absolutely awe-inspiring parks in this country.”