Yosemite was cooler when it was still underground

Hate crowds? Think Yosemite and the Grand Canyon stopped being cool when they started being popular? Then you’ll love this handy list of America’s 20 least-visited National Monuments.

Aniakchak National Monument, the least-visited one on the list, is on the Alaskan peninsula five hundred miles southwest of Anchorage and had just fourteen (not fourteen thousand; fourteen) visitors in 2009. Here’s why:

Are you contemplating running the Aniakchak River from its caldera headwaters through treeless tundra to the sea? A commercial guidebook says: “The weather on Aniakchak is severe; life-threatening conditions can develop rapidly. Extremely violent winds in the caldera, particularly near ‘The Gates,’ can shred tents and prevent air rescue.” A hefty budget and pre-tested skills and gear are absolutely necessary.

Soooo… Grand Canyon again this year?

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