10 Smallest U.S. National Parks

While many national parks are known for their vast expanses, these parks feature quite a bit in under 40,000 acres! For even more fun facts about America's national parks, read "National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States, 8th Edition": http://bit.ly/10SmallestGNP8

  1. 1

    Hot Springs (5,550 acres)

    The smallest of America's national parks, Hot Springs attracts vacationers looking to relax as well as patients seeking a cure for all sorts of illnesses.

  2. 2

    American Samoa (13,500—9,500 land, 4,000 marine)

    American Samoa is a small archipelago that boasts deep blue waters, coral reefs (teeming with fish), secluded beaches, and what just might be the most pristine air in the world.

  3. 3

    Virgin Islands (15,000 acres)

    Virgin Islands National Park is made up of more than half of the island of St. John, as well as 8.8 square miles of marine habitat.

  4. 4

    Congaree (26,000 acres)

    Though less than 20 miles south of urban Columbia, South Carolina, Congaree immerses visitors in otherworldly landscapes.

  5. 5

    Pinnacles (27,214 acres)

    With nearly half its acreage designated as wilderness, Pinnacles is a wonderland of wild animals and plants.

  6. 6

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison (30,750 acres)

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park protects the most spectacular 14 miles of a 53-mile-long gorge carved by the Gunnison River, whose headwaters lie high in the Rocky Mountains.

  7. 7

    Cuyahoga Valley (33,000 acres)

    Cuyahoga Valley was pieced together amid a modern landscape of towns, highways, farms, and city parks, which provide a variety of experiences unique to this national park.

  8. 8

    Haleakalā (33,265 acres)

    About two-thirds of the park is federally designated wilderness. One of the park's main missions is to preserve and protect unique and fragile ecosystems, from sea level to summit.

  9. 9

    Wind Cave (33,851 acres)

    When rangers at Wind Cave describe it as the "best of both worlds," they are referring to the realms above and below the Earth's surface.

  10. 10

    Bryce Canyon (35,835 acres)

    Despite only being around 56 square miles in area, Bryce Canyon National Park's high altitude (8,000-9,000 feet) and pristine air allow for views of up to 200 miles.

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