The difference is striking: In 2017, more than 11 million people visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park. How many people visited Gates of the Arctic National Park? Just over 11,000 — three orders of magnitude difference. But that's not because Gates of the Arctic is any less glorious than Great Smoky Mountains. The latter is within spitting distance of Nashville, Tennessee, while the former is inaccessible from major roads.
Many parks face the same fate as Gates of the Arctic. Through a combination of them being far away from population centers, hard to get to, or lacking convenient infrastructure, a handful of parks have fallen through the cracks. But that doesn't mean there aren't bucket-list-worthy adventures in each of them. Below, we give you five of the U.S. National Park Service's underdogs, numbered by their ranks on the most (or should we say least?) visited list.