The wildest place in every state
While the impact of humans can be seen and felt nearly every place on earth, there are still some spots where wildlife and natural beauty persist. These untouched, often protected wilderness areas are located throughout the entire country, and offer a chance for people to reconnect with nature. In alphabetical order, here are the wildest places in every state.
Located on the Alabama-Georgia border, Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge is home to alligators, snakes, deer, coyotes, and various waterfowl. It is a mix of wetlands, croplands, woodlands, old fields, grasslands, and open water.
Perhaps the wildest state in the entire country, Alaska is home to plenty of remote and untouched lands. Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge consists of 2,400 islands, headlands, rocks, islets, spires and reefs, with a total area of 4.9 million acres—more than half of which is wilderness.
The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge consists of nearly 1 million acres of desert, and is home to a number of endangered species. There are seven rugged mountain ranges in this space, as well as active lava flows.
Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas holds the title of having the world’s largest green tree reservoir, and is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It boasts an intricate system of rivers, creeks, swamps, and lakes that are home to various wildlife populations.
Home to the world’s tallest living tree species, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a tourist hotspot. Despite its iconic status, it still hosts a large elk population, and consists of 14,000 acres of protected wilderness area.
Weminuche Wilderness is home to Red Creek Lake, said to be one of the most remote lakes in the lower 48, as it is located 20 trail miles from the nearest road. Located within San Juan National Forest, it is nearly as large as Rhode Island, and the largest wilderness area in the state.
Home to more than 500 types of trees and wildflowers, Devil’s Den is the largest nature preserve in Connecticut. It’s also home to red foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and more than 140 different species of birds. It boasts a patchwork of woodlands, wetlands, and rock ledges that are perfect for bird-watching and hiking, as well as deer hunting.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Protecting one of the largest remaining expanses of tidal salt marsh in the mid-Atlantic region, it has also been designated a Globally Important Bird Area.
The Florida Everglades are a harsh landscape that have remained virtually untouched by humans thanks to their unique habitat. On the southern tip of the state, Everglades National Park is a 1.5-million-acre wetlands preserve and home to endangered species including the leatherback turtle, Florida panther, and West Indian manatee.
A visit to the Okefenokee Swamp Park in southern Georgia is like taking a step back in time. With plenty of bears, alligators, and water moccasins roaming around, this wetland is a truly wild spot. It’s best accessed via kayak or canoe—just watch out for the carnivorous plants.
The second-highest point on the island of Kauaʻi, Mount Waialeale also holds the distinction of being the second-wettest place on earth. This harsh terrain and unrelenting bad weather are what make it one of the wildest places in the state.
Salmon River in Idaho is located in the central part of the state, and is known for its white water rafting. Over 1.5 million acres have no trails, and there are just a handful of service roads and airstrips that provide access.
Shawnee National Forest is home to the bald eagle, and offers spans of woodlands, hills, and lakes. Established in 1933, it houses the roadless Garden of the Gods Wilderness, which is home to a stunning rock formation known as the Garden of the Gods.
There’s only one designated wilderness area in Indiana, and that’s Charles C. Deam Wilderness, established in 1982 and encompassing nearly 13,000 acres of the Hoosier National Forest. There are 37 miles of hiking trails featuring hardwood forests with a variety of terrains.
The Driftless Area is probably the wildest place in Iowa, and is also known as the Karst region. It boasts steep slopes and cliffs carved by ancient glacial stampedes, and is almost completely off-limits to the public. It’s also home to the endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail, as well as several other snail species considered to be glacial relicts.
The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas boasts a unique combination of rare inland salt marsh and sand prairie, and was established in 1955 to protect habitat for migratory waterfowl. More than 340 species have been recorded in the refuge, including several endangered and threatened species.
Another state with only one wilderness area, Kentucky is home to Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1997 to protect bottomland hardwood forest, a diminishing habitat type. Thanks to its diverse ecosystem, it is home to freshwater mussels, amphibians, fish, and mammals, as well as migratory songbirds and waterfowl.
Established as a wintering area for migratory waterfowl in 1958, Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge is home to white-tailed deer, small game mammals, songbirds, raptors, water birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Another bottomland hardwood forest area, it has also been designated a Globally Important Bird Area.
As the highest mountain in the state, Mount Katahdin is located within Baxter State Park, a 200,000-acre endowment donated by a former governor. There are plenty of places to hike, camp, and explore in this remote northeastern space.
The Susquehanna River is the longest river on the East Coast of the United States which drains into the Atlantic Ocean, and runs through Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. It is ideal for those who enjoy boating, fishing, camping, and watching wildlife.
Home to various endangered bird species, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a bird-watcher’s paradise. Established in 1944 to provide habitat for migratory birds, it also features gray and harbor seals, though they can only be viewed by boat. There are natural dunes, oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, and freshwater ponds in the 7,600-acre space.
The least-visited park in the lower 48, Isle Royale National Park is surrounded by Lake Superior and offers unparalleled solitude for those wanting to explore pristine beaches and untouched forest. Plenty of moose still roam the area, if you’re lucky enough to spot one.
Located within the Superior National Forest, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the most remote places in the state, and offers more than 1 million acres of pristine wilderness to explore. Wildlife in this area includes bears, moose, wolves, loons, and eagles.
The Black Creek Wilderness Area in Mississippi only permits foot travel within its boundaries, and was established in 1984. The creek features 5- to 20-foot banks with plenty of white sandbars, and is Mississippi’s only designated Wild and Scenic River.
Home to the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge established in 1994, the refuge encompasses over 17,000 acres of riverine habitat. There are plenty of wild turkeys, beavers, and monarch butterflies in the area.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana is known for its harsh, rocky terrain and dense forests. Home to grizzly bears and plenty of wolves, it offers more than 1 million acres of protected green space.
High in the sandhills of Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll find the spot furthest from a road within the state. It is also home to wetlands, and supports wildlife such as migratory birds, turtles, coyotes, and deer. It contains two Research Natural Areas, a Registered Natural Landmark, and is a top ecotourism site.
Located in the Jarbidge Mountains of northern Elko County, the Jarbidge Wilderness is one of the most remote regions in the United States, with peaks more than 10,000 feet high. Known for having some of the cleanest air in the country, it’s also home to healthy populations of elk and mountain lions.
The largest wilderness area in the state, Pemigewasset Wilderness was designated in 1984, and consists of nearly 50,000 acres of dense forests marked with waterfalls, mountain ponds, and craggy peaks.
The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey is named in honor of the late conservationist Congressman from the state, and was previously two distinct refuges, before they merged in 1984. The coastal wetlands are home to a number of waterfowl, and 78 percent of its 47,000 acres is salt marsh.
The first designated wilderness area in the world, Gila National Forest is home to the critically endangered Mexican Gray Wolf species. Because it is so remote, it is able to support this fragile population in an area that transitions from grasslands, to woodlands, to high peaks.
Far from the flashing lights and towering skyscrapers of New York City, the Adirondack Park was created in 1892 and is a constitutionally protected Forever Wild area. At more than 6 million acres, it’s home to many game and wildflower species.
Originally established in 1983 in order to provide nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for migratory birds, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge also provides habitat and protection for endangered and threatened species such as loggerhead sea turtles. It is home to more than 350 bird species, and is part of the protected Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Where the Great Plains meet the rugged Badlands is where you’ll find Theodore Roosevelt National Park, one of the wildest places in North Dakota. It is home to populations of bison, elk, and prairie dogs, and is best-known for the South Unit’s colorful Painted Canyon and the Maltese Cross Cabin, where its namesake President once lived.
Sheepskin Hollow State Nature Preserve offers no roads, and lies in a remote, isolated area of Ohio’s unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. Plenty of fish, frogs, and salamanders, as well as various trilliums thrive in this remote spot.
The Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge features a network of underground caverns, sinkholes and streams that support various wildlife, including the endangered gray bat. Some of the plants and animals found in this region are unique to the specific cave or spring in which they are found.
Even deeper than the Grand Canyon, Hells Canyon is home to world-class whitewater boating against a backdrop of spectacular mountain peaks. The harsh terrain supports Rocky Mountain elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer, and chukar.
One of the most remote spots east of the Mississippi, Susquehannock State Forest in Pennsylvania is free from light pollution, such that stargazers can see the Milky Way cast a shadow in the night sky.
With habitats including fields, woodlands, fresh and saltwater ponds, and dunes, Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge is home to cottontail rabbits and various migratory birds. It was established in 1974 after Ann Kenyon Morse donated the first 365 acres of land.
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge offers the most remote spot in the entire state—nearly seven miles from the closest road. It’s made up of 66,000 acres of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches, and maritime forest. It is home to the loggerhead sea turtle and red wolves.
Located within Badlands National Park, Sage Creek Wilderness Area offers an isolated place to get away from it all, and is home to abundant mule deer, bison, and bighorn sheep. There are no designated trail systems or services of any kind.
Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts lush forests and an abundance of breathtaking wildflowers which bloom year-round. In fact, it’s home to more than 1,500 species of flowering plants, more than any other North American national park.
Boasting the second-largest canyon system in the country, Palo Duro Canyon State Park features a rugged beauty and unconquerable terrain. Its diverse habitat is home to wild turkeys, white-tailed and mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, roadrunners, as well as several snake and lizard species.
Known for its dramatic landscape, Canyonlands National Park is also home to The Maze, a dizzying trail that is remote and offers little in the way of markings. Much of the park is only accessible by foot, horseback, mountain bike, or four-wheel drive, which allows populations of birds, lizards, deer, and coyotes to thrive.
Located within Green Mountain National Forest, Lye Brook Wilderness features ample ponds, bogs, meadows, and densely wooded space where deer roam freely. It also includes about four and a half miles of the Appalachian and Long trails.
Established in 1974, after a donation by the Union Camp Corporation the previous year, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is home to a number of birds, butterflies, and mammals, including black bears, bobcats, minks, and bats. Its 49,097 acres are comprised of five major forest types, marshland, and Lake Drummond.
Olympic National Park in Washington is comprised of nearly 95 percent designated wilderness lands that are off-limits to roads. It includes areas with glacial peaks, temperate rainforests, and rugged coastline.
Located within Blackwater State Park, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge is home to bears, beavers, and nearly 600 different plant species. Established in 1994, it conserves the largest shrub and bog wetland complex in the southern Appalachians.
Home to amazingly unique rock formations, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a network of 21 islands and 12 miles of coastline. Its mainland ice caves are a huge draw, and the park is home to deer, black bears, snowshoe hares, and various bird species.
The Teton Wilderness in Wyoming bridges the area between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. It’s also bordered by two other wilderness areas, making it one of the most remote and wildest places in the United States.
Source: Read Full Article