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I understand that parks such as Yosemite are expected to reach a visitor peak on the upcoming memorial day weekend, and are thus best avoided if one does not enjoy hiking in a crowd.

What national parks or other natural points of interest in Northern California would be least crowded on Memorial Day weekend? How about the Mt. Shasta area or King's Canyon NP?

  • The least crowded national park in California, regardless of the time of year, will be Channel Islands National Park off the Ventura coast. Access is controlled, and it's both difficult to get to and primitive once you're there. But some of us enjoy that kind of thing. :) CHIS tops many lists of "overlooked national parks." – choster May 21 '14 at 14:57
  • @choster - thanks, though that not quite Northern California :) – nbubis May 21 '14 at 18:09
  • Hence the comment rather than an answer. But also, anything north of the 105 is Northern California to me. – choster May 21 '14 at 19:05
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So 'points of interest' is probably way too broad, so I'll focus on the National Parks.

There are 59 National Parks in the United States and territories, across 27 states (and territories). California has nine of these:

  • Channel Islands
  • Death Valley
  • Joshua Tree
  • Kings Canyon
  • Lassen Volcanic
  • Pinnacles
  • Redwood
  • Sequoia
  • Yosemite

Some of those, as indicated in @choster's comment, are debateable whether they're in 'northern California', and it also took me some effort to find lists of numbers. However, there are a few articles around about the least visited parks in the US, most being top 10 least visited, and as such don't have any California ones (pretty much always Alaska). However:

Hidden Gems: 25 Least Crowded U.S. National Parks [50 PICS]

is one list that DOES feature Californian parks, two to be precise - at 15th, the least visited Californian park is Channel Islands, as suspected. However, at 18th on the list with an annual visitor rate of 352,517 (2012) is Redwood National Park. Which is definitely in Northern California.

As a result, that looks like the best option in terms of National Parks, and I'll leave you with the official website for Redwood National Park, which comically leads with 'More than tall trees'. I actually nearly went there a couple of years ago - was between that and Yosemite. Yosemite was spectacular, but now I want to visit Redwood :)

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