We all know about the popular park destinations such as Yellowstone NP (USA), Banff NP (Canada), Grand Canyon NP (USA), Sergengti NP ( Tanzania), Sagarmatha National Park (Mount Everest, Nepal), Mount Fuji NP (Japan) and the list goes on. But, with over 6,555 national parks world-wide (IUCN figure, 2006), there are surely more than a few that are truly “off the beaten track.”
There are many parks with “wilderness areas,” however you define it – but many have no services, no water, no campsites, few trails and are only accessible by floatplane, charter plane or on foot! These are adventures for those who REALLY like to connect with wild-nature! Here’s some info on a few of the least visited parks in the world:
National Park of American Samoa
A reasonably new US National Park, established in 1988, American Samoa boasts some of the world’s most scenic beaches, tropical forests, rugged cliffs, coral reefs and rich cultural traditions. American Samoa is home to the flying fox, sea turtles more than 800 native fish and 200 coral species. Some visitors may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a humpback whale, migrating northward away from the bitter Antarctic winter.
To get there, you can take one of the two flights per week departing from Honolulu or if you’re in the South Pacific, several flights depart each week from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Learn more about this park >
Apolobamba National Park, Bolivia
All of Apolobamba NP is above 13,000 feet! Near the Peruvian border, the terrain is home to the Andean condor, vicunas (related to alpacas), the endangered spectacled bears and more. The Apolobamba mountain range is the home of the Kallawaya Indians, the shamans of the Andes.
Most travelers to Apolobamba hike in along the 65 mile Apolobamba trek (or similar route). How to get to Apolobamba >
The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska (USA)
Located on the Seward Peninsula and protected the remnant Bering Land Bridge between Asia and North America, The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is one of the most remote US park areas. Access to the park is by bush plane or boat during the summer and by ski plane, snowmobile or dog sled in the winter.
The most popular spot within the Preserve is the Serpentine Hot Springs. One of the least visited spot are the Devil Mountain Lakes, considered the largest maar in the world. Arctic foxes and Alaska hare are common; polar bear and Ribbon seals are also often seen. The recognizable Reindeer and Musk ox are both introduced species to the area. Learn more about this park>
Isle of Royale National Park, Michigan (USA)
Isle Royale NP is made up of Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior, several smaller islands and the submerged lands within 4.5 miles of the islands. The 209 sq miles of the park above water are unique in that it is the only known place where moose and wolves co-exist without bears. The Ecological Study of Wolves on Isle Royale (now in its 46th year) is the longest running large mammal predator-prety study on earth.
The park is only accessible by floatplane or ferry (in summer months). Because of its rugged terian, limited services, seasonal closures and limited accessablity, fewer than 20,000 people visit the park each year (compared to about 5 million who visit the Grand Canyon)! Learn more about this park >
Perito Moreno National Park, Argentina
This park, created in 1937, covers 115,000 ha of mountainous terrain cut by deep valleys. It is located in the NW of the Santa Cruz province. Travel to the park is by gravel road only and the park contains only rough camping areas and a sparse network of tracks. In the park you can find archeological sites including rock designs and drawings.
Ivvavik National Park, Canada
High mountains, broad rivers, endless tundra – a wilderness paradise! Ivvavik NP is 800km Northwest of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada and is accessible only by charter aircraft. “Ivvavik” means “nursery” or “birthplace” in Inuvialuktun (the language of the Inuit), because this region is the calving grounds for the Porcupine Caribou.
Ivvavik was the first NP to be established as a result of a land claim agreement with Native Peoples. Learn more about this park >