Backpackers.com — Hilarity has its place everywhere, especially the outdoors. Half of the joy of backpacking and camping is sitting around the fire telling dirty jokes. It is, you know it is.
So we decided to highlight some seriously hilarious one-star Yelp reviews of National Parks — 20 of them. Nine of these come from Hartley Brody of the Adventure Blog, who we have highlighted in the past. We collaborated with Hartley on the rest of these, all for your enjoyment.
To be fair, most of these parks receive 4-5 stars in Yelp reviews — as if Yelp reviews really matter when it comes to the majesty of National Parks. We have picked the worst things said about these epic lands … because, you know, it’s pretty funny.
We’ll list them in alphabetical order, so a couple of the biggies will be right at the end.
One-Star Yelp Reviews of National Parks
1. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is known for its arches. So, yes, in practice people like to pose in front of them. We found a nice pic uncluttered by all those selfish people. This one-star Yelp review, while undeserving, does bring up the larger issue of crowds at National Parks. This is a good thing, in that more people visit beautiful places, and negative, in that it’s hard to find solitude in the wilderness.
So it goes.
2. Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park is 379 square miles of “sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States.” It is vast and powerful. Not exactly the mecca of cell service — in fact, some people travel to National Parks to avoid things like technology.
3. Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is a land of giant natural amphitheaters and hoodoos, which lies in the southwest corner of Utah. Red rocks and a landscape that amazes is no match for park rangers, apparently, whose rudeness enabled a one-star Yelp review of this legendary site. We’ll grant the reviewer this: a bad Park Ranger experience can certainly dampen spirits.
4. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Located in New Mexico, the Carlsbad Cavern National Park has one epic feature: the cave. It makes us wonder why one would travel to the Cavern if not interested in big caves and rocks? There’s not always an answer…
5. Crater Lake National Park
Southern Oregon is home to Crater Lake National Park, which is a large swath of land that includes Crater Lake itself, a caldera, or destroyed volcano. Crater Lake is the second deepest lake in the U.S. at 1,943 feet deep, and the 9th deepest in the world. So yes, it is amazingly deep. But why is it creepy?
6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
It’s hard not to laugh at this one. But it makes us wonder what constitutes a “true national park.” Is it the epic breadth of epicness? Is it the plethora of animals, plants, and weather? Or is it a certain feeling that wells up inside upon walking untouched land, protected land, land that is true and free? In our estimation Cuyahoga Valley National Park embodies each of these, especially as the only National Park in Ohio, and a historic location for many Native American tribes.
7. Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is, indeed, a large desert full of low-lying scrub, sand, and a sparse few animals. But “ugliest place on Earth” is pretty harsh. With salt-flats, badlands, sand dunes, canyons, valleys, and mountains all in one massive territory, it’s hard to consider the whole thing a waste. But, hey, maybe this one-star Yelp reviewer went on July 1, got roasted, and nearly died. That might make a place ugly (though still not to us, probably).
8. Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve is a total of 6 million acres in Alaska. Some of it requires a bus for easy transportation. It would follow that to see certain parts of this 6 million acres the bus must stop, so that people can get out and see these various parts of Denali. Perhaps renting a car would be the way to go…
9. Grand Canyon National Park
The legendary, the magical, the unbelievable Grand Canyon National Park. Home to, of course, the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon actually has the most one-star Yelp reviews of National Parks, probably because it has the most reviews overall, and is generally considered the biggest and best-est thing to see in the U.S. There are lines, and camping fees, and herds of tourists. Though it’s hard to believe that the canyon, usually considered at the least “grand,” is actually mediocre. Perhaps low-lying clouds got in the way…
10. Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, making this area of the U.S. one of the most beautiful and rich in protected lands. Over the course of time, yes, the Federal Government must raise prices. But Teton is $30 per vehicle entry for seven days, which, at the time of writing, is the standard for most National Parks in the U.S. Inflation does suck. We agree.
11. Haleakala National Park
Due to its location (Hawaii), Haleakala National Park is not known to some, but it has about 1,450,000 visitors per year — so, a lot. And a lot come for that sunrise, or sunset, or anything with the sun. Local legend has it that Maui, the demigod, imprisoned the sun in this area to lengthen the day. There is ample coast to walk, as well as a dormant volcano to explore. Perhaps more than a Google search will entail.
12. Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is stunning. A desert with classic, strange-looking trees, the park lies to the east of Los Angeles and is known, as this one-star Yelp review states, known for an amazing night sky. It’s also known for massive rock faces that climbers salivate over, and a wild landscape to explore for hours. In the peak of summer? Probably hot as hell.
13. Mammoth Caves National Park
Mammoth Caves National Park is another dark and dank place to explore. A cave-lover’s dream. And maybe it has a good restaurant, we’re not sure. This one-star Yelp review was the only one that seemed not quite as bad as all that — getting good grub is important. But when camping in the National Parks, bringing your own food is advisable. Especially in a cave!
14. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park was the fifth National Park established in the U.S. It is, indeed, a juicy peak of steak. We’d argue, of course, that the land surrounding the epic mountain is just as juicy as the white-capped summit. Set in Washington, there is abundance of dripping evergreen forest, subalpine meadows, waterfalls, and 25 glaciers. But this one-star Yelp review has one great thing going for it — it’s poetic. And makes us think of steak.
15. Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is, indeed, a strange one. Located in northeastern Arizona it hosts forests of felled, petrified logs, which are eerie, and stacked in certain places to evoke a dead-has-risen sort of look. While it’s certainly a desert that one must drive through, and has less trails and lush forest than other places, there is a unique beauty to this land. There are also countless fossils here, making it as culturally relevant as anything. Is there more wood in the gift shop than the entire forest? Probably not.
16. Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park is the most recent addition to the National Park Service, having been signed in by President Barack Obama on January 10, 2013. There is some Obama-hate going on in this one-star Yelp review, blaming various office hour and ranger issues on the Federal Government. But the park, Pinnacles, itself, is actually mesmerizing in many ways. We even wrote about a must-do hike there.
17. Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is one of the classic, epic places in California to explore great huge trees. Like the tree pictured above, General Sherman Tree, which is the largest recorded tree on Earth. California is known for serious mosquitos in the summer months, and yes, they likely will bite you right on the face (and everywhere else), if you don’t have bug spray or a net. This sounds like a case of no preparation, but perhaps the bugs have gotten as big and long-living as the trees? Perhaps.
18. Yellowstone National Park
Oh, Yellowstone National Park. Oh, Old Faithful. Oh, bears and geysers and the “true” National Park of the U.S., if there ever was one. We assume the Central Park comment has to do with the crowds found in Manhattan, which are relatively fewer in Yellowstone, but we’ll grant that this place gets crowded. We have to remember that bears are part of the enjoyment, and the lack of skyscrapers. Yellowstone is still a must — even for Manhattanites.
19. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a crown jewel of the West. Massive granite slabs like half-dome adorn this expansive wilderness, which is one of the most popular and well-traveled in California, a notoriously crowded state. You’d think a one-star Yelp review of this National Park would be about those crowds — but no, it turns out the trees and grey rocks are just as bad. We’re not sure what one should expect to see, other than trees and grey rocks, so…
20. Zion National Park
Last alphabetically, but far from last in the eyes and hearts and minds of people across the U.S. Zion National Park has a spiritual feeling to it. The massive red rocks and running water, towering slot canyons and diverse wildlife make this place feel like an incomparable oasis in southern Utah. But for some, this breathtaking wonder could come off as boring. Oh well.
There you have it. One-star Yelp reviews of National Parks — 20 of ’em. These made us laugh and giggle and point at our computer screens. It turns out online reviews aren’t everything. Who knew?
Images in order: Arches National Park by Skeez via Pixabay; Badlands Canyon National Park via Wikimedia Commons; Sunset at Bryce Canyon by Andrew Smith via Flickr; Carlsbad Caverns by John Fowler via Flickr; Crater Lake by Jonathan Miske via Flickr; Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park by Erik Drost via Flickr; Death Valley National Park courtesy Travel Corner, All Rights Reserved; Denali and Mount McKinley by Christoph Strässler via Flickr; Grand Canyon via Wikimedia Commons; Willow Flats and Teton Range via Wikimedia Commons; Haleakala National Park by cvigneau via Pixabay; Climbing the Old Woman Rock via Wikimedia Commons; Great Onyx Cave by James St. John Follow via Flickr; Mt. Rainier courtesy mrsammy7, All Rights Reserved; Stacked Logs in Painted Desert by Andrew Kearns via Flickr; Sunset and Pinnacles National Park by Stanislov Sedov via Flickr; General Sherman Tree by Jim Bahn via Wikimedia Commons; Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley via Wikimedia Commons; Yosemite Valley by Mark J. Miller via Wikimedia Commons; Zion National Park courtesy Department of the Interior