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The Five Worst National Parks In USA

Updated on December 29, 2014
Mt. Rainier National Park
Mt. Rainier National Park
The Joshua Tree....Yes, this really is a national park!
The Joshua Tree....Yes, this really is a national park! | Source
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park | Source

An ominous title for sure! Before we start, a few qualifying remarks are needed. First, this writer loves the National Park System. I have been to many of the national parks in the country and have found great enjoyment and peace while visiting them; I have stood in awe at the majesty of Yellowstone, have hiked most of Mt. Rainier National Park and stood in stunned silence in Yosemite. I have personally visited thirty-two of the fifty-eight national parks and will visit many of the remaining ones before my time on earth has ended. However, there are some that I will never see and this article will help to explain my reasons for those choices.

Secondly, this article is completely tongue-in-cheek and really needs to be read in that spirit. I fully realize that my tastes are individual in nature and as such I am more than willing to accept the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Now, if you can accept those two qualifications, I hope you enjoy my list of the Five Worst National Parks in America.

The National Park Service has been protecting and preserving the fifty-eight National Parks since 1916 and considering continual budget restraints they have been doing a bang-up job. Latest figures tell us that over 285 million visitors each year thrill in the natural beauty of these parks and despite a down economy the numbers continue to stay steady and strong. Americans do, indeed, love their national parks. My goal, because these are tough economic times, is to save you the trouble of spending money visiting parks that clearly lack the appeal of, oh say, Great Smoky Mountains or Yellowstone. In other words, why be miserable on vacation when you have had to work hard and save for your one vacation each year? Here, then, is my list of the Five Worst.

#5 JOSHUA TREE

No, this park does not consist of just one tree! It encompasses parts of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts and includes sand dunes, dry lakes, desert scenery (is there such a thing?) and yes, quite a few Joshua Trees. For the un-initiated, the Joshua Tree was so named by the Mormons when they crossed the Mojave Desert because it reminded them of Joshua in the Bible raising his hands in prayer. Okay, I get it, the tree is unique in appearance and has some religious significance, but still, IT IS JUST A TREE! Not only is it just a tree but it grows in abundance IN A DESERT! How long can you stand in temperatures that hover near 120 degree staring at a tree before you start to question your sanity?

#4 THEODORE ROOSEVELT

My first impression of Theodore Roosevelt National Park was: where is the park? The next thing I thought of: please Dear God, don’t let anyone who knows me drive by and see me looking at this sorry excuse for a park? I kind of understand the appeal of this North Dakota park; I mean, there are colored canyons and a cabin where our former President lived is in the park and there are hiking trails and all that….but…..IT IS IN NORTH DAKOTA! You can put a dress on a pig and at the end of the day you still have a pig. During the summer it is ungodly hot and in the winter it is ungodly cold and no matter what season it is ungodly windy. My son refused to tell his classmates where he went on vacation the year we visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park; he was ten at the time and even at that age he knew he risked being a social outcast if anyone knew his secret.

#3 GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS

This park uses Guadalupe Peak, the highest landform in Texas, as its main point of interest. Isn’t that a little like saying that a pimple is the best feature on your face? What does that say about your face? In the case of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the face is Texas, a state that will never be confused with natural beauty unless, of course, natural beauty to you means desert flora and fauna. The park is located in the Chihuahuan Desert and as such has about as much appeal as a pot roast after my grandmother burned it for Sunday dinner. The park was founded in 1966, meaning that for forty-six years now people have actually visited this park in sufficient numbers to warrant its continual operation. Like the old saying goes, “there is a sucker born every minute.”

#2 DEATH VALLEY

The website will tell you that Death Valley is the hottest, lowest and driest place in the United States where temperatures can reach 130 degrees during the day. If that doesn’t scream FUN VACTION I don’t know what will. Oh, wait, maybe the name itself will entice you to visit there….a valley associated with death! If someone can explain the allure of this place to me I am more than willing to listen. I have been there; I stood in heat so severe I could feel my brain boiling, and I looked out over a landscape so barren that it made me long for Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Now that, my friends, is a place to avoid at all costs.

#1 GATES OF THE ARCTIC

The northernmost park in the United States, Gates of the Arctic has no facilities, no roads, no trails, no campgrounds; what it lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in an abundance of grizzlies, wolves, and black bears more than willing to make your visit there a trip to remember. If your life-long dream is to become a meal for a predator then by all means spend thousands of dollars to fly there and then go for a casual stroll into the park. This park has been a part of the National Park System since 1980 and somehow, for some reason, despite all logic dictating that you stay away, a handful of visitors go there each year. No, I have never visited this park and no, I never will. Daddy didn’t raise no fool!

There you have it! Let the water-cooler debates begin. If you should choose to visit one of these parks despite my best attempts to convince you to stay away, then may the gods have mercy on your soul. I have better things to do like taking out the garbage or watching paint dry or having a tooth pulled without anesthetic.

Author's note

Hopefully you all realize this article is intended to be funny. Give me the option between visiting one of these parks and any major city in the United States and I would take these parks every single time.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Linda Compton profile image

      Linda Compton 5 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

      Hi Billybuc!

      Thanks for this great hub. Love your writing style and sense of humor. Beautiful photo, too. Be forewarned, I moved to the desert (by choice) and absolutely love it.

      Looking forward to more of your hubs. Cheers, Linda

    • profile image

      Sandy Malzahn 5 years ago

      I also enjoyed the story. Keep them coming

    • Stigma31 profile image

      Stigma31 5 years ago from Kingston, ON

      Now I think you peaked interest in some to go to these parks and see how really bad they are. It worked for the movies. Good reading, enough light revelry to keep reading on...voting up!

    • kingmaxler profile image

      kingmaxler 5 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

      Too funny! I too want to go and see these parks now just to see how bad they really are. Thank for the good writing and the healing laughter.

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 5 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Man what a relief... with that photo of Mt Rainier up front I thought I was going to read that in your Bottom 5 list... I have crawled all over them hills but never went to the summit... That place is great... Stunning even... You had me going there

      :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you all! I questioned whether to put a picture of Mt. Rainier but still unclear what I can use off of the web so erred on the side of caution. To MrMaranatha, I actually have summited it and it was one of the greatest adventures of my life.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 5 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed your hub. I have never been to any of these parks and after reading this, probably never will go. My daughter lived in North Dakota for a few months and hated their weather. She came home that quickly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Barbara Kay. What is left of my family lives in North Dakota and they love it and always have; I have visited several times and hated it. End of story! :)

    • MrMaranatha profile image

      MrMaranatha 5 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      I never Went to the summit... partly Because I caught Hypothermia on Kazama Ridge (60 below that night) during a weekend of Sno survival training at the age of about 13-14 with ESAR explorer scouts. I never fared well with extreme cold temperatures after that. It did not stop me form my explorer activities etc.. But I was careful of what activities I engaged in with that effecting my decisions somewhat... I bet going to the summit was really an ultimate for you!!!

    • profile image

      LindaS. 5 years ago

      It sounds to me like the Gates of the Arctic or death valleywould be wonderful backdrops to film an amateur version of survivor man! I couldn't imagine planning a loving family vacation and pass up visiting Mt. Rainer and trying to sell my family on going to Joshua Tree. Yeah, Id rather fold laundry.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      When I was a teenager I drove through Death Valley in August in a car that had no air conditioning. Talk about hot, I felt like I was a fish being baked in a sardine can.

      Enjoyed your hub and wanted to say Welcome to HubPages!

    • erag2011 profile image

      erag2011 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I can't wait to go again to USA and visit some of its amazing locations, but obviously not these ones.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Sounds like you need a trip to one of our national parks in southern B.C. It's actually bigger and nicer than the tiny part you get to see from the highway, but I still remember the first time our family drove through it.

      While driving through some picturesquely unending forest, we approached a large, carved, expensive-looking park sign saying "Entering (Name-Changed-to-Protect-the-National-Park-Service) National Park." We drove for about 5 - 10 minutes through the same unending forests through which we had already been passing.

      Then we encountered a large, carved, expensive-looking park sign that read "Leaving (Name-Changed-to-Protect-the-National-Park-Service) National Park. Please visit again." That was it - end of park visit - just about the biggest non-event imaginable. Oh, sure, they were really nice trees, but what the hey...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks RedElf, for the fan mail and your comments. I know the Park you are talking about and I laughed at your rememberance of that family trip.

    • CarliFrenneman profile image

      CarliFrenneman 5 years ago

      This article reminds me of the time I went to the headwaters of the Mississippi. I don't know what I expected, but it was the most unspectacular thing I've ever seen. Great article!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you CarliFrenneman

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      Deb 5 years ago

      After watching the memorial for the Ranger at Mt. Ranier, I gained a healthy admiration for one of the basic tenants of the National Parks Mission statement - to protect and preserve the land and regions of this magnificent country so it may endure for generations... even if it's not the best place to put out a blanket and picnic basket, it's still a valuable place and ecosystem to preserve and enjoy for generations to come. Who knows what benefits we might gleam from the natural flora and fauna that thrives in that clime?

      However... I agree - vacation and day-trip planning takes in a whole new set of standards, and you touched on many I would stay away from!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Without a doubt I agree with you; we must preserve these ecosystems at all costs....just as long as I'm not expected to visit all of them. :) Thank you for your insights.

    • erag2011 profile image

      erag2011 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Definitely, there are less and less of these amazing places around, so we must look after them...

    • erag2011 profile image

      erag2011 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Definitely, there are less and less of these amazing places around, so we must look after them...

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 5 years ago from USA

      LOL, too funny! Your taste sounds about like mine concerning desert scenery (or lack thereof), though my passion for bison ensures I'll make it up to Theodore Roosevelt at least once more in my life. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      kerryg....I love bison; thus my trip to Yellowstone at least every other year. However, I can do without lizards. Thanks for reading my hub.

    • profile image

      Jonathan 5 years ago

      Honestly, you're insane if you think about going to Death Valley in the summer. Visit in the winter, and it's an amazing place. Same goes for Joshua Tree, where there is way more to do than look at joshua trees. The many different rock formations alone make it worth the trip. If you don't like the desert, fine, but these are both amazing places. Also, I have a hard time taking a list seriously that doesn't include Hot Springs National Park as one of the five worst.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jonathan....lol...unfortunately, or fortunately, I have never been to Hot Springs...thanks for the tip and thank you for reading my hub.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Got me in the vacation spirit again. Thanks for some great writing yourself!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are more than welcome and thank you for the comments. Have fun on the vacation!

    • Mary Stuart profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Washington

      Oh shucks! I have long wanted to visit the Arctic. It calls to me. Perhaps now I won't feel so sad that I have never had the opportunity to visit the far north. Thank you for your honest opinions!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I spent a year teaching on the tundra of inner Alaska and it isn't all that worthy of praise. The east coast of Alaska is beautiful but unfortunately that is not where this park is. Thank you for commenting and following along.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Thanks for your insight and humor and advice. I love national parks also, so it's good to know which ones to avoid. Your analogy for Guadalupe Mountains was pretty funny. Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone are two of my favorites.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ytsenoh, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun writing it. I really do love the National Park System and so even the ones I wrote about in this hub have to be fairly good just because they are part of the system....still....it is in a desert!!!! Thanks for reading!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      My husband and I have a goal to get to all of the national parks some day. Glad to see none of my favorites made your worst list. Thanks for the funny look at the least-outstanding of our national parks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deborah, I'm glad you enjoyed it; I had fun writing it. I appreciate you reading it and commenting.

    • gryphin423 profile image

      gryphin423 5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for your interesting and insightful hub! Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      gryphin423, you are very welcome. I hope you found it at least slightly funny because that was meant to be the tone. I love the National Part System and by extension all of the parks, but these five are not high on my love list. :)

    • profile image

      soumentheanimater 5 years ago

      Its not really true, these parks are also nice to see. Rockies, Yellowstone and other mountains are my favorites.

      http://www.prowessweb.in

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Soumentheanimater, it is only true to me...I readily admit that many people will love the desert, but I'm not one of them. Besides, this was all tongue-in-cheek...I love the National Park System. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 5 years ago from Washington state

      While I have never been to any of these parks, I have to speak up and try to defend the glory that is Texas' nature! I have lived in Washington state most all of my life, but I regularly visit Texas on an approximate yearly basis. I have fallen madly in love with the place. It's warm, it's bright, and it's full of life, unlike here where it is miserable, dark, rainy, and "dead" for the majority of the entire year. In Texas, every corner yields a new bug I've never seen before, or a flower that only blooms two weeks out of the year, or a coatimundi, tarantula, javelina, pronghorn, or kingsnake. The wildness of its animals and rough cut edges of the state's geography are like treasure troves to me, full of caves and critters and sights just waiting to be explored.

      I find it very beautiful, and would arguably want to visit any park in Texas before visiting any park here in Washington. I know what to expect when I go to a park here in this cloudy, soppy Northwestern mud hole. Evergreen trees. Rain. A garter snake if you're lucky. Rain. Hipsters. Rain. A mountain. More rain... But in Texas, I am always surprised, and that's the way I like it!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shaddie, great response and I would probably love the Texas parks just as I love all of nature. Thanks for taking the time to educate me.

    • eternals3ptember profile image

      Col. Duke LaCross (...Okay, maybe I lied) 5 years ago from Sherman Oaks (Not the Nice Part, Unfortunantly)

      Oh come on, Joshua Tree isn't that bad... Well... Actually it is. Head north to the hills if you want scenery.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eternals, thank you for the truth! :) And I appreciate you dropping by my site. Hopefully you got a little laugh out of it.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I have passed through Joshua tree many times and am baffled by it. Ho hum, what is there to see. Never, ever had a desire to see death valley. Thanks for a witty and eye opening hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lamb! I was concerned that it was just me that found it terribly boring. :)

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      Enjoyed this article, good to know which parks to avoid :) Interesting, funny and useful!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Margarita....I love that name by the way....I appreciate you stopping by.

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 4 years ago

      Hi Bill, what a great hub. It is funny and informative! I'll be sure to stay away from those parks. I mean, a tree, seriously? ;)

      Voting up, funny and interesting.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      I hope the authorities will do something about the Joshua Tree Park and make it more tour friendly ...and this line [How long can you stand in temperatures that hover near 120 degree staring at a tree before you start to question your sanity?] is just a rib cracker for me. Thanks billybuc, when i want a smile i will just grab one from your hubs. Voted up, useful and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Robin, it has always been a mystery to me why anyone would go look at that tree. LOL...thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      dwachira, I'm happy that I could bring a smile to your face. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hey Bill. Great Hub, very funny. Don't know how I missed this one. Some of these NP's do make one wonder, what were they thinking?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bdegiulio, I admit to being somewhat of a snob when it comes to National Parks. We have such beautiful ones here in Washington, so that when I do see one in a desert I kind of turn up my nose at it. I'm glad you enjoyed my silliness.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Naimishika, you are very welcome. Thank you too!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Death Valley and the Joshua tree sounds very....chilly. Interesting to take a small peak :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Spy, I think that is a great description. LOL....thank you my dear!

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your lighthearted take on undesirable national parks, billybuc. Your writing here truly flowed. Kudos! And I'm not a big fan of Texas' "beauty" as well. Never quite cottoned to it when I lived there. I prefer green and lush to arid. Again, brilliant hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dancing...nice turn of phrase with the "cottoned to it." LOL Thank you for your kind words. I need to pay you a visit.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      Bill: I don't know anybody else who would write a hub like this. I loved it! One thing though, Roosevelt National Park is actually two parks, and if you go to the tip of the northernmost park you have a view of the Missouri valley that is breathtaking and you also might get to see a few Buffalo, too. I agree that most of these parks don't offer much, however. Loved some of your descriptions, especially the one about the pimple! Thanks for the laugh!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, thank you! I've actually seen the site you are describing and it is breathtaking; no way that was going to be mentioned in this spoof hub. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This is helpful for travelers. I can't believe there is a real park in death valley! Now I know where NOT to go on vacation. Very helpful!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, I'm ashamed to say that I visited Death Valley. Never again my friend.

      Thanks as always! I doubt the National Park Service will be hiring me anytime soon to write articles for them.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill, whilst I have heard of Joshua Tree (album by the great Irish band U2!!) and Death Valley, I have never been to your delightful selection, and now will take your advice and cross off my bucket list! LOL If you ever do get to this side of the pond, Europe has many National Parks worthy of a visit.Keep an eye out of a forthcoming hub of mine on one such must see. Loved your humour here, another great read!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, if I ever get over there I'm counting on your to be my tour guide. Thank you my friend; I always love to hear from you.

    • profile image

      Ryan 4 years ago

      Your list lost all credibility with the inclusion of Gates of the Arctic. Maybe you should head to Disneyland. It has a freeway and abundant parking right next to it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ryan, thanks so much for your comment and for realizing that the entire article was tongue-in-cheek. It's always nice to see people out there with such a great sense of humor as yourself.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      I could seriously use a vacation, even if it was to one of these dreadful places. Maybe a trip to the beach? No... A staycation? No.... Hawaii? Would love to! Oh right, I have to work tomorrow.

      Enjoyed your tongue in cheek look at our parks system. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donnah, I was telling Bev that the other day. Instead of writing about places I'd like to just once actually go somewhere that didn't involve a shopping cart. :)

      Thank you! I hope you get that vacation soon!

    • kiwi gal profile image

      kiwi gal 4 years ago

      Great reading, honest and open reading. Too expensive for me to even think of traveling at present still you create a great picture with your writing and this is great. Voted this up. Look forward to reading some more

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kiwi, thank you! I don't have the money to travel either, but if I ever do these places are not on my list. :)

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Excellent read! I have been to two of these places, Joshua Tree and Death Valley and you are right, they are far from incredible (beautiful in their own way but still not somewhere to go on vacation) and your words about the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, hillarious!!! I'm from South Dakota (much better then the Northern sister state in my opinion) so that "You can put a dress on a pig and at the end of the day you still have a pig" part, thanks, I really needed a laugh :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cassy, I don't know if you ever saw it, but the show West Wing had an episode where one of the govt. people had to meet with representatives from North Dakota; they wanted to drop the word "North" from the state name because tourists didn't want to go there because it sounded cold. The govt. official looked at them and said, "you have to be kidding; people don't go to your state because it is boring." True words! LOL

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 4 years ago from Northern California

      National parks are great! Yes, some are better than others. We drive by Joshua Tree and were so hot we fortunately didn't go. I could see Joshua Trees through the car window.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Starstream, that's the way to see it...with air conditioning at sixty miles per hour. LOL Thanks for stopping by.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 4 years ago from Northern California

      Yep! I think maybe it also would be great for a few minutes seeing it on tv during a winter storm.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Starstream, exactly the perfect time! LOL

    • Emayordomo profile image

      Emayordomo 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thanks for an amazing hub! Definitely no sugar coating in your writing which is great. Loved the way you wrote this article!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Emayordomo, thank you! No sense sugar coating when vacations cost so much. Hey, if deserts are your thing, you will enjoy Death Valley...I can't imagine it, but I guess it's possible. :) Thank you!

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

      I like your humorous commentaries of these parks. Voted funny.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blissful, there you are again. I'm glad you enjoyed this silliness.....but no matter how silly I'm being, I am never going to Death Valley! :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, yes you can put a dress on a pig and it is still a pig, this really made me laugh! I have only been to Yosemite of the parks you mention though I hope to visit the USA again in the future - this is very useful (and funny).

      Voted up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Amazingly I had a couple people irate over this one....the thought of me being facetious never entered their heads. I love the National Park System; I wish we had fifty more across the country...however, I am not going to any of these five. I'll leave that to someone a little more adventurous than I am.

      Thanks for the share and comment!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      I have seen Mt. Rushmore and that was pretty amazing. But I think it is in S. Dakota. I get N and S Dakota mixed up. Thanks for the list . I won't go out of my way to see these parks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, South Dakota is actually very pretty in the Black Hills area....North Dakota, not so pretty. :) Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I enjoyed your hub, but I must stand in defense of Joshua Tree National Park. It is much more than desert trees. Actually, I consider it magnificent and awesome. (Sorry, just trying to counterbalance your comments). I live about five miles from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, while not a park, it is still part of the National Park System. I did write a hub on its winning ABC's Good Morning America's "The Most Beautiful Place in America." Good job on the hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No apology needed, Cam! The hub was written entirely in jest and I expected a little backlash from those who love those sites. I truly love the National Park System and all the jewels of that system; if it were up to me we would double the number of parks.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • BlondieKayla19 profile image

      Kayla 4 years ago

      I've been to Mount Rushmore, and it is beautiful! Never to the rest of them. Thanks for the article! It's great!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Blondie; just a little fun, although I'm not sure anyone could pay me to return to Death Valley! :)

    • BlondieKayla19 profile image

      Kayla 4 years ago

      Your welcome! And yeah, Death Valley doesn't sound to pleasant.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blondie, it definitely is not pleasant! :) Thank you again!

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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I just had to come back and visit your hub. I had a hub publised a few months ago about the National Lakeshore near me. I pulled it off line to completely redo it. I just posted it so thought I would come here and make sure you hadn't stuck it in your list. haha. Just kidding. I know from your comment on my last post that you love the National Park system. I enjoyed your hub the second time as well.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cam, I do appreciate the second visit. I promise to leave your park alone and you are right, I really do love the entire National Park System. Thank you!

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      Billy we RV a lot in the summer, we are explorers. I too, have been to many of our parks and i too, have wondered WHY IN GODS NAME WE DROVE THAT FAR TO SEE THAT! This year we are taking a cruise, hoping getting out of the country may be more fun. As usual Billy Ilove your hub!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rusti, I love that line.....why did we drive this far???? My words exactly for Death Valley! LOL I hope you have a fantastic cruise....where are you going Rusti?

      Thank you my friend!

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      talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      This Hub on the five worst national parks really makes me laugh! Love the Death Valley one because it's hot as heck! No water, no amenities, and just about NOTHING ELSE rules that place. Will vote up and useful!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Taifonso, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks Death Valley is the pits. LOL Thank you!

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      yankeeintexas 4 years ago from Lubbock, Texas

      As a truck driver I have driven through, and by, many national (mostly by them since park roads are resticted). I have driven through the Guadalupe Mountain many times going to El Paso, TX, and I will agree that the place is not very impressive.

      I will say that I envy you, billybuc! I have always want to visit all the National Parks, and have only gotten to visit one or two. God bless on your adventures!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yankee, thank you! Funny, but one avenue in life I thought quite a bit about was being a truck driver. Something about it always appealed to me. Oh well, maybe in the next lifetime. :)

      Bless you as well my new friend!

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      Penelope and Sara 4 years ago

      As a person who has just been forced to move to North Dakota, after having grown up about an hour from Yellowstone, I fully support your comments on Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is no place to pick for a destination. However, if you are forced to travel through the area, it really is a pretty spot with some unique landscape, worth seeing from the windows of your car as you cruise by going 80 on the interstate.

      And to Carli who mentioned the anti-climatic visit to the headwaters of the Mississippi-I feel ya. My family visited the headwaters of the Missouri a couple of years ago in Montana, with all the anticipation that can be muster for the soon to be sight of three rivers converging together to give birth to a new river of mythical standards. Uh yeah, it was like watching three canals slowly run into each other.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Penelope and Sara, you have me laughing now. There is Yellowstone and then there are a bunch of wannabes, and Roosevelt is at the bottom rung of that ladder. You saw the headwaters, huh? That was probably good for a yawn or two. :)

      Thank you my funny friend (s)

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      Penelope and Sara 4 years ago

      If you are ever in the area of the headwaters of the Missouri (near Three Forks Montana) skip the river and check out the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Like most national attractions with the famed adventurers' names on it, they never visited the caves, but they are spectacular to see and make for a fun day trip into the area.

      And there's just one of me-don't ask about the username, it's a long story. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have been there Penelope...many times. :) I don't know why but I-90 and I are intimately familiar with one another. LOL

      Thanks for the return visit!

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      Doodlehead 4 years ago from Northern California

      I always did wonder exactly who would want to visit Death Valley.....but the only thing that place is good for is as a park.....my favorite is Sequoia National Park two hours south of Yosemite...where the big tress are and where fewer crowds are and where the little town of Three Rivers is!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've been there, Doodlehead, and it is spectacular and very peaceful.

      Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      If anyone want another point of view about Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I wrote a hub on it. I loved it and think it's worth a visit. To each his own. In fact, my husband and I are planning on seeing Death Valley in 2014. You're right about the National Park system - every park in it is actually worth a visit.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mperrottet, thanks for the recommendation. That's the problem with having a dry sense of humor...sometimes people take me seriously. :)

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      ElleBee 4 years ago

      Good think Rooseelt park, was in North Dakota, looks like that saved you from seeing anyone you knew! I hope you don't just hate the Dakotas in general though, because Mt. Rushmore is a pretty neat place.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ElleBee, I love the Black HIlls and Mt. Rushmore....it's North Dakota I have a problem with. LOL In all honesty, I love the National Park System. :)

      Thank you and have a great weekend!

    • joytruthlove profile image

      joytruthlove 4 years ago

      very enjoyable...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joy, thank you, and have a great weekend!

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      dallasd 4 years ago

      Although I have never been to these parks I want to go now. Just for the experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      dallasd, that is fantastic! I think the National Pars Service should pay me for the advertisement. LOL Thank you!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

      Very funny look at some out-of-the-way places. I visited Death Valley as a child with my family and found it very interesting. In the snapshots we were all wearing jackets and sweaters-- I'm thinking it was early Spring.

      I was a little surprised you didn't mention Petrified Forest. I was expecting a shaded woodsy place with upright trees-- and all they had was piles of rocks.

      Keep checking your mail for a note from the NPS, they are bound to send you an award of some kind.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rochelle.....LOL.....this has been a very well viewed hub; evidently I peaked some interest with it. :) Thank you, and of course, the Petrified Forest is in the top ten.

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      Hillary Bar 4 years ago

      Excuse me but Gates of the Arctic is for people who love going in the backcountry and have been planning for months. And excuse me but if you are going in bear country, then learn some bear safety and be smart. Do not feed a bear or aggravate it and learn how to handle yourself. They are just as grumpy or happy as any person. Do some research before you decide that every trip to a National Park is like one to Disney Land; that is the whole point. You are the visitor, and the animals etc. are not there to entertain you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hillary, you crack me up! The whole article was in jest. I love the National Parks and I hope you have a wonderful life in the backcountry. Thanks for the visit!

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      Tom 4 years ago

      All this hatred for desert scenery. Death Valley and Joshua Tree are gorgeous parks!

      I took a day trip to Joshua Tree one day in late December a few years ago and loved it. There are tons of great hikes, some interesting wildlife, and, of course, the awesome (and very photogenic) trees. I even got to see some petroglyphs.

      The only problem? It was too cold! Freezing cold, in fact, especially up at Keys View (an overlook at the top of a crest that overlooks the Coachella Valley.) The lower temperatures made the hikes really pleasant, but towards the end of the day (I went up to the viewpoint to watch the sunset over the San Bernardino mountains) the wind got so frigid that I couldn't stand to be out of my car for more than a few minutes.

      One thing I've discovered, though, is that you really have to get out and walk around to really discover the beauty and diversity of some of these parks. Driving through is never enough - a lot of the best stuff can only be seen while hiking. I wouldn't have been nearly as impressed with Joshua Tree if I hadn't gotten out of my car and taken some of the hikes.)

      With all that said, I can understand why these places would be unbearable in the summer. Death Valley is actually quite beautiful and there are some gorgeous hikes, but unless you go some time between November and April you're not going to be able to enjoy those hikes.

      As someone who has visited northern Canada and Alaska (but not the national parks,) I've also got to STRONGLY disagree with your statements about the North. The tundra and the northern mountains are among the most gorgeous (and unpolluted) places on Earth. I'm very anxious to get to Gates of the Arctic (and the neighboring national park, Kobuk Valley) some time in the next few years. I could spend weeks in those kinds of locations.

      Anyway, not saying you're wrong - obviously things like beauty are very subjective - just putting up defenses for some (now underrated) national parks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Tom, thanks for the visit and the passion in your remarks. I am a huge fan of the entire National Park System, and the entire article was done with tongue firmly planted in cheek. :)

    • profile image

      Tom 4 years ago

      Haha nice. Glad I've only been to the great parks. But you did mess up on the #1 worst national park. Which actually should go to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. IN OHIO. Of all places. I've never been, but come on. look at the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_Valley_Natio...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tom, thank you for not taking this seriously. I have never seen Cuyahoga, but now you have me curious. :)

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 4 years ago from Missouri

      Good to know! I won't both with those parks unless I'm just passing through.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Valene, of course I love all national parks, but I won't go out of my way to see these five. :) Thank you!

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      Ben 3 years ago

      Joshua Tree is unforgettable. Can't wait to go back (obviously in the winter)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Probably the best time, Ben. I hope you have a great trip and thank you for the visit.

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      Jake 2 years ago

      Half of the parks in Alaska have no trails and no roads. If you included them that's all your list would consist of.

      Joshua Tree is great if you like climbing or scrambling on rocks (in fact, the rocks are its distinct geographic feature, not the trees it's named after). Death Valley is the hottest place in America -- sure that makes it unbearable in summer, but it's actually quite nice in the winter and spring, with plenty of unique geographical phenomena (see racetrack playa, and the crater which came about literally because the earth decided to spontaneously erupt).

      I've been to Guadalupe and I do agree there, I wasn't that impressed, it seemed like someone just decided that the second biggest state in the Union had to have more national parks. Pinnacles I also think probably should have stayed a national monument.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jake, thanks for weighing in on this. It is watercooler debate at its finest. In truth, I love the National Park System, and any national park is all right by me.

    • profile image

      old hiker 2 years ago

      We just hiked in Death Valley and Joshua Tree a couple of weeks ago. Like anywhere you visit for an outdoor vacation, you go when the seasons allow you to enjoy it...these two are parks that are best enjoyed in cooler months! The varying desert ecosystems are actually quite beautiful, and the lodging (the historic and lovely Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley, and the quirky and very fun 29 Palms Inn outside of Joshua Tree) were terrific. And there's nothing like seeing the Milky Way with no light pollution, and being serenaded by coyotes in the middle of the night...it puts things into proper perspective. You should go to these parks...you will love them! We are so fortunate to have such a fabulous national park system in our country. Every single one is a treasure!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Old hiker, I completely agree with you. This article was actually written as a joke. I've spent most of my adult life hiking and mountain climbing, and I've probably visited twenty-five national parks. I love the National Park System, and I'm glad you do as well.

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      James Packard 2 years ago from Columbia, Missouri

      There's something to the notion that everything esteemed is highly disappointing. Some of the most incredible places you'll go will, more often than not, be some of the biggest let-downs. When something is hyped up so much, it can't always meet expectations.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      JPac, good observation. I actually love nature and the National Park System. This was written more as a spoof than anything else. I'm a bit surprised by the sudden increase of viewings of this one.

    • JPac1 profile image

      James Packard 2 years ago from Columbia, Missouri

      I'm sometimes surprised by the same thing... not sure how that happens. It is interesting all the ways you can end up driving traffic.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      it really is, JPac. This one came out of nowhere...it was dead from the neck up and all of a sudden hundreds are reading it.

    • profile image

      old hiker 2 years ago

      I think this is why your blog is getting attention...:)

      https://www.yahoo.com/travel/america-s-worst-natio...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the link. It's a strange world we live in with the internet. I appreciate it, Old Hiker.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Thanks for the warning :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Robert. LOL

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      Bob 2 years ago

      No accounting for taste. Visit Death Valley when its not hot and witness its striking beauty. Better yet, don't. More for me, less people. Bye

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bob, evidently you missed the part in this article, twice, where I said this was all in fun.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      It make me wonder after reading this, how some places get chosen to be a national park. Death Valley? They certainly are unique place, and maybe that is the key. - Interesting hub, Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you colorfulone. I actually love the national parks system, but Death Valley? I'll pass I think. :)

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      SweetiePie 20 months ago from Southern California, USA

      I am very protective of my Joshua Tree and my Death Valley. If Joshua Tree had not been turned into a national park, a lot of mining interests would have come into the place and mined the heck out of it. Same with Death Valley. There are actually some really cool sights at both parks, and I love the desert heat. Maybe it is not for everyone, but it is part of my California soul. I know this hub is in fun though. I still think Joshua Tree is amazing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      SweetiePie, I think all National Parks are amazing, so there! LOL All in fun, my friend. Been there, loved it.

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