Uncrowded, untamed, unforgettable

If you're craving a taste of nature with a generous helping of solitude, this roundup of the West's untapped national parks, reserves and monuments is a 12-course feast.

THEY ARE THE WEST'S UNTAPPED TREASURES, national parks and monuments that get a fraction of the visitation seen by the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or Yosemite. These unheralded parks offer all the drama and grandeur of their more famous cousins: giants of the ancient forest, mysterious caves, sun-warmed islands, and geologic marvels.

Weekend use will always be higher than midweek, and you'll have to plan ahead to get a camping space at some smaller destinations. But if you're craving a taste of nature with a generous helping of solitude, this roundup is a 12-course feast.