America boasts some of the most unique and spectacular landscapes in the world, and protecting them though turning them into national parks has helped bring them this fame. It also guarantees that they will be saved from overdevelopment for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. However, the most popular national parks can become crowded during their peak season, detracting from the natural experience.
There are three lesser known monuments that have local support for upgrading their status to the national park level. You should go see these natural wonders before they attain this status and see an influx of tourists:
Phtoto credit: CC BY-SA 3.0
Chiricahua National Monument
These incredible rock structures were formed from a massive volcanic eruption around 27 million years ago. The eruption laid down 2,000 feet of ash and pumice that were hardened and eroded, creating unbelievable formations.
Located 120 miles east of Tuscon, Arizona, you can enjoy the park via an 8 mile scenic drive and 17 miles of day use trails.
Click here if you would like to support Chiricahua becoming a national park.
Photo credit: Daniel Mayer (talk) (Uploads) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Idaho surprises people with its beauty, and no it’s not just potato farms. Idaho is home to some of the most unique landscapes you can find in our country, yet (except for a sliver of Yellowstone that lies within Idaho) the state has none of its own national parks… yet.
Craters of the Moon is fighting to become one though. The national monument is home to black lava fields that you never imagined were anywhere outside of Hawaii. Some are less than 2,000 years old and they predict there will be a lot more fresh lava in the not too distant future.
There is a campsite located within the park, leading you to the 7 mile Loop Road through the flow where you will find the trail heads. The trails lead across the black rock, through lava tubes, and into caves. All this is located 90 miles from Twin Falls, Idaho.
Photo credit: Daniel Schwen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Colorado National Monument
If this land gets the national park status that it’s looking for the name will be changed to Rim Rock Canyons National Park. You can find it between Grand Junction, Colorado and the eastern border of Utah.
For years the 23 mile Rim Rock Drive has been dropping jaws. It has that classic American West look with its red rocks, dramatic canyons, and desert feel. It is a perfect addition to a road trip, but also offers hiking on 40 miles of trails and back country camping with a permit.
Click here to support Rim Rock Canyons proposed national park.