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Old 07-14-2016, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
6,507 posts, read 7,452,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LosHogan View Post
You're first mistake was going to Gatlinburg. The NC side of the Smokies are the way to go. Especially down near Bryson City and the surrounding area.

And FWIW, the peaks in NC are higher than those in the Adirondack range. Clingman's Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies, is over a 1000 feet higher than Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in the Adirondacks. None the less, upstate NY is beautiful and I love the lakes up there.


I live in East Tennessee and yes you are right about the tourist traps. Some people like that kind of thing, some do not. However there are plenty of ways to enjoy the mountains without dealing with the traffic and tourist traps. In fact the mountainous areas of East Tennessee that are NOT part of the park are really peaceful. Also even the NP is quite beautiful and enjoyable if you are visiting the area when its not a peak tourist time like mid summer, leaf time etc. Visiting midweek also helps a lot regardless of time of year. Also if your willing to hike then you will see the true beauty of the park without the crowds at all.


The north Carolina side is really nice and your right about Bryson City. Near Bryson city is a beautiful part of the park called Deep Creek. The town itself is also really nice.
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:47 AM
 
151 posts, read 85,812 times
Reputation: 346
Quote:
Great Sand Dunes definitely deserves it's NP status. They're by far the largest dunes in the country (And North America). It's way cooler in person than it sounds
Hate to be that guy, but actually the largest dunes in the country are the Algodones Dunes in CA. Here is a link you can check it out that has some good info. Sand Dunes of the Southwest - Algodones Dunes, CA
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Old 08-27-2016, 02:21 AM
 
7,906 posts, read 4,864,721 times
Reputation: 4101
Cuyahoga Valley National Park may be underrated, but it does not have the physical chomps and fauna of many of the stellar national parks. It's still beloved because it both preserves some remarkable natural areas in the heart of one of the nation's major metropolitan areas, but it also freezes those natural areas in their earliest stages of development. E.g., two of the CVNP's primary attractions are a working railroad and a canal towpath trail, highly regarded by bikers. You can't help when visiting CVNP wondering what great natural areas once graced the land now covered by concrete and other manifestations of human development throughout our nation.

Two highly underrated and lesser known parks IMO administered by the National Park Service, but not designated one of the 59 "national parks," are the New River Gorge National River in WV and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._United_States

The New River Gorge offers some of the best white water rafting in the U.S., and especially so east of the Mississippi River. So it's a great "action" park. It also offers great trails and glimpses into early human history. After braving Jump Rock, it's hard not to think of Huck Finn after creating a memory for a lifetime.

https://www.nps.gov/neri/a-river-runs-through-it.htm

https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/whitewater.htm

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/06...g?v=1458654668

Contrary to what most Americans have learned in history books, at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, you can stand where (Huffman Prairie Flying Field) man actually conquered the sky in a powered, heavier-than-air, controllable machine, as well as see that very first machine (the Wright Flyer III) at Carillon Historical Park. A visitor might have Huffman Prairie Flying Field entirely to one's self, especially during a weekday visit outside the summer travel season. For those who know the story of flight, and of the Wright brothers, it's chilling to think about what began on that simple pasture. If there's a more underrated property administered by the National Park Service, I would be surprised.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/Travel...The.World.html
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:48 AM
 
1,661 posts, read 1,993,051 times
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Overrated: Smokey Mountains NP
Underrated: Crater Lake NP
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Isanti County, MN
2,935 posts, read 4,537,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iaskwhy View Post
Overrated:
Hot Springs (Shouldn't even be a national park.)
Although we love Hot Springs and go there as often as we can, I have to agree with this. There isn't really much to see there that's "National Park" material, other than a few small pools and fountains featuring steaming water. I mean, don't get me wrong.....it's a wonder of nature that the springs exist and all, but we love Hot Springs more for its history, architecture, and lush mountain greenery than anything else. The springs and bath houses are cool to see, but very underwhelming in comparison to other National Parks we've experienced.

Again, that's not a slap against Hot Springs itself, because it's one of our favorite places and we go several times a year.
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Old 08-27-2016, 11:01 AM
 
2,200 posts, read 2,317,272 times
Reputation: 1941
Quote:
Originally Posted by waviking24 View Post
Overrated: Smokey Mountains NP
Underrated: Crater Lake NP
You accidentally inverted the correct answer.
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Old 08-28-2016, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
670 posts, read 1,226,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waviking24 View Post
Overrated: Smokey Mountains NP
Underrated: Crater Lake NP
Crater Lake is beautiful, but a scary drive to get up to the top.
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Old 08-28-2016, 06:23 AM
 
949 posts, read 610,845 times
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I think most national parks that the general population do not hear of much outside of the majors (top 10) are all underrated in one way or another, because they all offer visitors an experience unique to their location, history, geography.

For me, of all the major parks I've visited and have heard of, I found the Badlands Natl Park to be one of the most underrated, if measured by sheer volume of visitors when I was there as compared to the biggies such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon etc. Perhaps it's due to its location, somewhat isolated from major populations centers like the Smokies, or too close to the majors such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

For someone more familiar with Natl Parks defined by great mountain ranges, vast bodies of water, lush greenery and such, the sheer, stark beauty of the rock formations of the Badlands coupled with the vast expanse of the surrounding land and sky was a downright spiritual experience. Especially camping in the park, where its stark, surreal beauty was most appreciated at dawn and sunset in quiet solitude. Heh, this was the park that made me seriously consider chucking it all and becoming a park ranger instead.

Happy Centennial USNPS! Thanks for all the wonderful memories :-)
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,085 posts, read 1,068,230 times
Reputation: 1933
Quote:
Originally Posted by RuggedAlpha View Post
Hate to be that guy, but actually the largest dunes in the country are the Algodones Dunes in CA. Here is a link you can check it out that has some good info. Sand Dunes of the Southwest - Algodones Dunes, CA
It's okay to be that guy, but you're talking about A different measure. Algodones Dunes are the largest dune field (area containing sand dunes) in CA, and by some perspectives, the US. They top out at around 300 feet. Sand Dunes of the Southwest - Algodones Dunes, CA

The Great Sand Dunes, OTOH, cover a much smaller- but still impressive- area, but are much larger dunes themselves. Star Dune is the tallest sand dune in North America, at 750 feet. Sand Dunes of the Southwest - Great Sand Dunes, CO

Last edited by bartonizer; 08-28-2016 at 10:29 AM..
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
10,774 posts, read 9,406,760 times
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Underrated:
Big Bend NP (this truly is one of the best parks in the country and very little traffic. I love being in the Hot Spring looking over the Rio Grande and their cafe is really yummy. Santa Elena Canyon Trail is unmatched in the world, IMHO).
Jean Lafitte NP (in the swamps near New Orleans, there is an office in the FQ that most people think is the actual park but the actual park is on the West Bank and has great elevated trails through the swamp, better than the Everglades)
Death Valley NP (ideally you would visit in the winter because it gets 120 in the summer, but even in the summer it's worth a drive through and you can stay in the park without any notice). The trails are great and the natural swimming holes are 85 degrees year round.

Overrated: Grand Canyon National Park (just too crowded)

Meets expectations:
Yellowstone (simply wonderful)
Yosemite (except for the crowds it exceeded all expectations and if you go into the high country you can avoid crowds)
Carlsbad Caverns (nothing like it, otherworldly!)
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