You are here

Reader Participation Day: Which National Park System Unit Do You Want To Visit, But Probably Won't?

Alternate Text
Winter camp in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. NPS photo.

When I first saw the wintry slide show from Gates of Arctic National Park and Preserve, I immediately added the unit to my bucket list of national park adventures. Dogsledding through the park's snow-blanketed wilderness seemed to fit perfectly with my desire to see parts of Alaska that I could only imagine while reading Jack London tales while growing up.

Sadly, getting from here to there is not the easiest thing to accomplish. As the park staff note, "Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a remote wilderness area located above the Arctic Circle and far from any roads. Most visitors access the Park and Preserve by bush plane, starting from local villages. Others hike in from the Dalton Highway or the village of Anaktuvuk Pass."

Whether I ever reach Gates of Arctic remains to be seen. For now, it's just an entry on my bucket list. What about you? Which unit of the National Park System would you most like to see...but fear you won't for one reason or another (most likely distance and/or cost)?


I think we might have the same bucket list.

I've been to the Gates but lament that I probably will never get to Isle Royale.


I'll probably never get to visit any of the Alaskan parks not on the road network, but I'd say especially Gates of the Arctic, Noatak, Cape Krusenstern, Bering Land Bridge, Kobuk Valley, and Aniakchak -- just a little too remote for my limitations.

Outside of Alaska, it's a good bet I'll never visit American Samoa or any Pacific Island park outside Hawaii, or any of the Puerto Rico or Virgin Islands parks. And I'd be surprised if I ever get to Kalaupapa.

On the "mainland," Dry Tortugas, Cumberland Island and Cape Lookout seem like the least likely I'd ever visit, but who knows? I did make the effort to visit Isle Royale and St. Croix on past trips, and those seemed unlikely beforehand.

And Hohokam-Pima will probably never experience my presence, either! But who knows: I have been to Yucca House, so anything's possible!

Dry Tortugas


I will be spending most of the summer of 2014 in Alaska. Outside of receiving a large windfall or a free round-trip flight, I will have to choose between Lake Clark and Katmai. Maybe someday I will be lucky enough to return and do the other one - it will stay on my list.

I've been to Denali, but I'd like to see Wrangell-St Elias in Alaska. Maybe go in the fall for good colors ... ? Time is moving on, and $ is getting short, so maybe won't be able to do it..

Gee, thanks for plunging me into deep depression. I took a look at the long list of NPS areas and realized there is simply no way possible to visit all of them unless I go at it full time for the next five or ten years.

Talk about discouraging!

But in the meantime, I intend to fully enjoy the ones I am able to visit.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide