Largest and Smallest National Parks in America

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63. Gateway Arch
>Total land area: 193 acres
> Location: Missouri
> Privately owned land: 85 acres — or 44.2% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 486,021 — or 0.7% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: -71.4%

Gateway Arch National Park used to be called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Located in St. Louis, the famous arch was built to honor Thomas Jefferson and the role he played in America’s westward expansion. The park also features the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. The Courthouse is best known for holding the Dred Scott case — an enslaved man who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom.

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62. Hot Springs
>Total land area: 5,554 acres
> Location: Arkansas
> Privately owned land: 213 acres — or 3.8% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 1,348,215 — or 2.0% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: -4.9%

Hot Springs National Park’s nickname is “The American Spa.” The more than 40 hot springs in the park are a very popular natural destination for relaxation and healing. The NPS says the land was first reserved in 1832 to protect the unique geothermal spring water and associated lands for public health, wellness, and enjoyment.

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61. National Park of American Samoa
>Total land area: 8,257 acres
> Location: American Samoa
> Privately owned land: 0 acres
> Recreation visits in 2020: 4,819 — or 0.01% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: -65.3%

This is the only U.S. national park south of the equator. The island park is one of the most remote national parks in the system. Visitors get to enjoy tropical rainforests, coral reefs, and about 4,000 acres of ocean surrounding the islands.

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60. Virgin Islands
>Total land area: 15,052 acres
> Location: Virgin Islands
> Privately owned land: 1,706 acres — or 11.3% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 167,540 — or 0.2% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: -61.8%

The Virgin Island National Park, located east of Puerto Rico, covers roughly 60% of Saint John Island and almost all of Hassel Island. The park is home to the iconic Trunk Bay. The entire park, known for its steep mountains, deep valleys, and white-sand beaches, was a designated UNESCO World Network Biosphere Reserve until 2017.

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59. Indiana Dunes
>Total land area: 15,349 acres
> Location: Indiana
> Privately owned land: 829 acres — or 5.4% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 2,293,106 — or 3.4% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: 39.8%

Spanning 15 miles of coastline on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, Indian Dunes National Park has over 50 miles of dune trails, as well as beaches, wetlands, rivers, forests, and prairies.

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58. Congaree
>Total land area: 26,476 acres
> Location: South Dakota
> Privately owned land: 92 acres — or 0.3% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 119,306 — or 0.2% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: 36.3%

One of the newest parks in the National Park Service, Congaree received its designation as a national park in 2003 after years of campaigning. Once there, visitors can go on an owl prowl, a nighttime trek where the eerie calls of owls are heard. The park is named after the Congaree Native American tribe that once lived in the area before European settlers.

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57. Pinnacles
>Total land area: 26,686 acres
> Location: California
> Privately owned land: 11 acres — or 0.04% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 165,740 — or 0.2% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: -19.8%

The park was “born of fire,” the NPS explains, when multiple volcanoes erupted 23 million years ago. Lava flowed and later solidified, eventually becoming the ground for the Pinnacles National Park. The park is known for its rare talus caves – hikers’ favorite.

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56. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
>Total land area: 30,780 acres
> Location: Colorado
> Privately owned land: 33 acres — or 0.1% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 341,620 — or 0.5% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: 63.3%

The second least-visited of the four national parks in Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison encompasses the most scenic section of Black Canyon, a 2,000-foot deep, 48-mile long canyon with scrub oak foliage visible along the rim. Aspen groves along Oak Flat Loop Trail also provide autumn color.

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55. Cuyahoga Valley
>Total land area: 32,572 acres
> Location: Ohio
> Privately owned land: 3,601 acres — or 11.1% of total park
> Recreation visits in 2020: 2,755,628 — or 4.1% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: 20.6%

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which became a national park in 2000, features rugged gorges, tree-lined hills, and marshes. Also in the nearly 33,000-acre park is a trail that follows the route of the historic Ohio & Erie Canal, which linked the Midwest to the burgeoning markets in the east.

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54. Haleakala
>Total land area: 33,265 acres
> Location: Hawaii
> Privately owned land: 0 acres
> Recreation visits in 2020: 319,147 — or 0.5% of all NP visits
> 5-year change in visits: -73.8%

Haleakala National Park, meaning “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, is located on the island of Maui. The park is named after a dormant volcano of the same name and covers an area of more than 30,000 acres, most of which is wilderness. The famous Haleakala Crater, located at 10,023 feet above sea level, was where legend has it the demigod Maui lassoed the sun, slowing the sunset, thus making days longer.