Wanderlust Journey

Wanderlust Journey

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Least Visited National Monuments in the United States

May 12th · 1 Comment

Aztec Ruins - New MexicoThe Los Angeles Times took a look at some of the hidden gems our nation has to offer. Many of our nearly four hundred national parks are absolutely free to visit, even when it’s not National Park Week, so sometimes we overlook them. So it’s a nice treat when the LA Times pointed a few of these out:

  1. Aniakchak, Alaska – 14 visitors in 2009
  2. Cape Krusenstern, Alaska – 1,810
  3. Alibates Flint Quarries, Texas – 2,981
  4. Ft. Union, New Mexico – 11,070
  5. Agate Fossil Beds, Nebraska – 12,694
  6. Fossil Butte, Wyoming – 18,693
  7. Russell Cave, Alabama – 24,087
  8. Booker T. Washington, Virginia – 21,216
  9. Hagerman Fossil Beds, Idaho – 27,263
  10. Hovenweep, Utah/Colorado – 27,855
  11. Aztec Ruins, New Mexico – 38,234
  12. Salinas Pueblo Missions, New Mexico – 37,848
  13. George Washington Carver, Missouri – 38,899
  14. Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico – 43,016
  15. Buck Island Reef, U.S. Virgin Islands – 47,341
  16. El Morro, New Mexico – 48,245
  17. Pipe Spring, Arizona – 49,433
  18. Capulin Volcano, New Mexico – 50,935
  19. Tonto, Arizona – 60,534
  20. Chiricahua, Arizona – 60,851

Three fun factoids jump out at me from the list:

  • Aniakchak, Alaska, saw only fourteen visitors in all of 2009,
  • Alaska is hard to get to… the two least visited parks are in Alaska,
  • Most of the places on that list are in New Mexico and Arizona. Six of the sites are in New Mexico and three are in Arizona.
    • Of all the places on that list, I think the Aztec Ruins in NM look the most appealing. Park entrance is a mere $5, which is a pittance considering how enormous the site is. It’s a self-guided 700 yard walk through ruins build centuries ago. There’s also a semi-subterranean structure over 40′ in diameter. Pretty cool I think.

      Aniakchak is the least visited National Park for a reason, it’s remote and has horrible weather. As you would expect, none of the fourteen visitors in 2009 paid a fee and no one who visits in 2010 will have to pay a penny either. The Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve stretches over half a million acres of wilderness and there is plenty of rafting, hiking, and sport fishing. It’s main claim to fame? An “impressive six-mile wide, 2,500 ft. deep caldera formed during a massive eruption 3,500 years ago.” Sounds cool enough, I’ll let you know if I visit it!

      (Photo: quinnanya)

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 jammer(six) // May 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Cool. If we took the kids to Aniakchak, we could get their visitor count up from 14 to 20. 🙂