Hidden Gems in Death Valley National Park

Situated in eastern California and part of Nevada, Death Valley National Park is one of the largest national parks in America. A hub for hiking, mountain biking, and exploring, Death Valley boasts some of the hottest temperatures in the world and the lowest point in North America. Rife with sand dunes, salt flats, canyons, and expansive stretches of the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park has an abundance of hidden gems to explore.

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Twenty Mule Team Canyon

This breathtaking, less-traveled canyon offers spectacular views for miles. Drive through the ravine brimming with colorful badlands, and you’ll probably be the only ones there to enjoy it. Be wary of hiking in this area as it can get incredibly hot. If you do choose to hike, make sure to go at a cooler time of day.

Mosaic Canyon

Experience the geological wonder that is Death Valley National Park when you visit Mosaic Canyon. A canyon bordered by smooth marbleized rocks and stunning mosaic patterns, this off the beaten path destination will be a highlight of your trip.

Striped Butte

Head to Striped Butte located in the Butte Valley, one of Death Valley National Park’s most beautiful peaks. Due to its remote location, it’s not often visited by guests of the park making it a perfect hidden gem. Park at the base of Striped Butte and enjoy a hike to its glorious peak.

Eureka Dunes

Situated in the remote Eureka Valley in the northwestern region of the park lie the Eureka Dunes. Rising suddenly from the desert floor, these pale dunes are the tallest in California and are absolutely breathtaking.

Artists Palette

Artists Palette is characterized by the jagged peaks of a canyon covered in a variety of different naturally occurring colors. From purple and blue to orange and green, these spectacular colors are a result of the oxidation processes happening in the rock elements. Hike through the weaving canyons to get up close and personal with these lovely formations.

Barker Ranch

An abandoned mining ranch located in the park, Barker Ranch has gained notoriety for its association with the Charles Manson family. Head to Death Valley National Park’s Panamint Range to view this fascinating and mysterious ranch. 

Hidden Gems in Mount Rainier National Park

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Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, this national park is home to the Mount Rainier Stratovolcano, said to be one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Mount Rainier is Washington’s tallest mountain and the surrounding national park is brimming with gorgeous natural features. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Mount Rainier National Park, check out these hidden gems.

Silver Falls

Visit these dramatic waterfalls for a peaceful, uncrowded experience in Mount Rainier National Park. Fed by the shockingly clear blue waters of the Ohanapecosh River, you won’t want to swim in water’s frigid temperatures, but the falls are so beautiful you won’t need to.

Skyline Trail Loop

About five and a half miles long, the Skyline Trail Loop boasts phenomenal views the whole way through. Hike through fields dotted with wildflowers and take in vistas of majestic snow capped mountains. The pinnacle of this hike is breathtaking Panorama Point which is worth the trek.

Plummer Peak

A lesser-climbed peak in Mount Rainier National Park, Plummer Peak is great if you want to try your hand at mountain climbing when you’re just starting out. The 7th tallest peak in the Tatoosh Range, the views from Plummer Peak are spectacular.

Spray Park Trail

If you’re looking to up the intensity, the Spray Park Trail will offer you a more challenging climb. The Spray Park Trailhead is a bit remote, making this one of the park’s  less-traveled hikes. Take in views of massive glaciers, the striking Spray Falls and enjoy the solitude of nature. 

Inspiration Point

If you’d rather just take in the sights and skip the hike, head to Inspiration Point, a glorious overlook featuring magnificent views of Mt. Rainier. Continue down Stevens Canyon Road to Reflection Lakes for a wonderful view from another perspective.  

Hidden Gems in Zion National Park

One of the country’s most beautiful National Parks, it’s clear why Zion National Park is also among the most visited. Situated in southern Utah, the colorful canyons and sandstone cliffs make this a spectacular US destination. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds during your trip, you’ll want to check out the park’s off the beaten path destinations.

Mystery Canyon

A lesser-known alternative to the iconic Zion Narrows, Mystery Canyon offers an equally as impressive opportunity for technical canyoneering. Note that Mystery Canyon isn’t for the faint hearted as Zion’s slot canyons attract thrill seekers from around the world!

Observation Point

Due to the difficulty of this strenuous trail, Observation Point is one of the lesser-visited places in Zion to take in phenomenal views of the vast landscape. An 8-mile round-trip trail that ascends more than 2,000 feet, the views at Observation Point will certainly pay off if you’re adventurous enough to make the trek!

Secret Waterfall

Head to Pine Creek Canyon for Zion National Park’s best hidden treasure! This stunning 15-foot waterfall and swimming hole are well worth the effort it takes to get there. A short but rigorous hike is required to visit Secret Waterfall. 

Petroglyph Canyon

With special permission from the Zion National Park Visitor Center, visitors to Zion are able to access Petroglyph Canyon, a lesser-known hidden gem in the park. Explore cave drawings created by the region’s ancient cultures which have been preserved on the red sandstone walls of Zion for thousands of years.

Kolob Arch

Located inside a small remote canyon is Kolob Arch, one of the world’s largest free-standing arches. This gorgeous sandstone arch is a true feat of nature and is worth a visit to experience Zion away from all the crowds.

Watchman Trail

Often overlooked by visitors to Zion, Watchman Trail is a 3-mile trek leading to a lovely viewpoint offering scenic vistas of Watchman Peak. The Watchman Trail is a solid alternative to the more-trafficked Angel’s Landing trail.

Hidden Gems in Glacier National Park

In northern Montana bordering Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park, Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes combined to become the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. Both designated as World Heritage Sites, the spectacular landscape in this region is truly a geological marvel. From ancient glaciers to crystal clear lakes, Glacier National Park is brimming with hidden gems to explore.

Rising Sun

Located in the eastern part of the park on St. Mary’s Lake, Rising Sun is an amazing destination for a boat tour that won’t be crowded with masses of tourists. This area offers history unique to this part of the park, making it a true hidden gem.

Kintla Lake

A breathtaking body of water positioned in a remote part of Glacier National Park, Kintla Lake is one of the park’s most beautiful off the beaten path destinations. Due to the rugged and weathered path leading to the lake, Kintla Lake remains one of the park’s least visited sites, despite its incredible beauty.

Wild Horse Island

Wild Horse Island is located on Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Montana. This fascinating destination was once inhabited by the Salish and Kootenai tribes who used the vast lands to cultivate their horses and prevent them from being stolen by other tribes. Prime for wildlife viewing and only accessible by boat, this is a great hidden gem to explore during your trip!

National Bison Range

One of the country’s oldest National Wildlife Refuges, National Bison Range is home to one of the last bison herds on the continent. Just a few hours outside of Glacier National Park, it’s worth visiting this remarkable area to view bison and other native wildlife in their natural environment. You may also encounter elk, deer, sheep, and bears during your visit!

Bowman Lake

Located in the northwestern part of the park, Bowman Lake is a bit of a local secret. Due to its remote position in Glacier National Park, it’s not often visited by tourists as it’s difficult to get to. However, if you decide to make the journey, you won’t be disappointed by this magnificent lake!

Hidden Gems in Yellowstone National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s first national park, Yellowstone has an abundance of hidden gems to explore. Situated in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, this US national park is home to a variety of geysers, hot springs, and thermal areas that make its rugged landscape truly beautiful.

Point Sublime

You’ll find a fantastic location to bask in views of magnificent cliffs, waterfalls, and the Yellowstone River at Point Sublime. Found along the south rim of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, Point Sublime is a hidden gem with an impressive vista. 

Shoshone Geyser Basin

A true hidden gem, you’ll likely be some of the only visitors when you head to Shoshone Geyser Basin. Located on the west end of Shoshone Lake, this expansive geyser area is home to a variety of regularly-erupting geysers, hot pools, and hot springs of many different colors.  

Terraced Falls

These splendid waterfalls must be accessed by a hidden trail, making them one of the park’s true off the beaten path destinations. Cascading down 130 feet over several terraced levels, these falls are truly a sight to behold. 

Lone Star Geyser

A less-trafficked alternative to Old Faithful, Lone Star Geyser is equally as impressive. Just over 2 miles off the main road, the trek to this geyser is an easy one and you can expect regular minor emissions every 20 minutes, and larger ones every 2.5 to 3 hours. Experience the wonder of Yellowstone’s geysers without the crowds! 

Black Sand Basin

A hotbed of geothermal activity, the Black Sand Basin is home to a grouping of colorful geysers and hot springs that are often widely overlooked. You’ll be amazed by the vibrant colors this extraordinary natural area produces.

Specimen Ridge

Just along the south rim of Lamar Valley you’ll find scenic Specimen Ridge. A picturesque ridge brimming with volcanic debris and ancient gemstones, this is easily one of Yellowstone’s most interesting hidden gems. The 8.5-mile hike to get here is also incomparably breathtaking.