Woodrow Wilson signed the bill that created the National Park Service on Aug. 25, 1916. Part of the Department of the Interior, today the NPS manages what it calls 423 units, generally known as parks. Across America, they cover 85 million acres. There recently have been battles about the use of park lands for commercial purposes, including companies drilling for oil and gas.
The most underrated national park is Glacier Bay in Alaska, according to a ParkSleepDrive analysis to find America’s most underrated parks — “the great places to visit, without the crowds.” (On the other hand, these are the most visited U.S. national parks in 2020.)
24/7 Tempo reviewed ParkSleepDrive’s list of most underrated parks. The travel blog examined the National Park Service’s 2020 Annual Park Ranking Report, choosing parks with fewer than a million visitors and the highest percentage of “excellent” reviews on Tripadvisor as the most underrated.
Most of the parks at the top of the list are in sparsely-populated states. The top two are in Alaska. Many of the top 20 are in Colorado, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Utah. Some have fewer than 100,000 visitors a year. Glacier Bay, which tops the list, had only 570,000 visitors in 2020. It received almost 93% “excellent” reviews.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is located near the southernmost part of Alaska, south of Yukon and west of British Columbia. It was created in 1925 and expanded in 1978. In total, it covers just over 5,000 square miles, which include tall mountains and glaciers. (As the weather cools, here is the best winter destination in every state.)