Brothers Jim and Will Pattiz run the site More Than Just Parks, dedicated to sharing information on America’s National Parks. They’ve tackled the task of ranking all the parks in a list that may or may not be useful to you on your future travels.
Each of the 63 designated National Parks (National Monuments, Recreation Areas, Forests, etc. were not ranked) were rated in five equally-weighted factors: accessibility, recreation, crowds, amenities, and scenery. It’s sad that a park’s very attractiveness can lead to a low score due to crowds, but too many tourists can lead to dissatisfaction with the experience. In deciding whether to visit, you’ll need to weigh these factors for your own purposes. If a lack of accessibility and amenities don’t bother you, you could see the most glorious scenery there is, without crowds, despite a low score on this list.
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The top National Park on the list is Olympic National Park in Washington state, with a score of 48 out of 50.
My state’s only National Park, Mammoth Cave, ranked abysmally. It got docked for lack of recreational activities, which is true, and for lack of scenery. Seriously, scenery? What can you expect, it’s a cave! Bring lights. The park that came in dead last earned that score because it shouldn’t even be a National Park. See the full list of rankings, with an explanation for each score and often a video. -via Kottke