10 Naturally Quiet Places Around the World

A peaceful hiking trail atop Seven Star Mountain in Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan.
A peaceful hiking trail atop Seven Star Mountain in Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan.

Pakawat Thongcharoen / Getty Images

To be somewhere that is free of human-made noise is an increasingly rare occurrence in modern life, but such quiet places do still exist. Some locations, like Haleakalā Crater in Hawaii, are literally quiet—little to no noise whatsoever is observed there. While other places, like Zabalo River in Ecuador, are quiet in the sense that they are relatively free of human-made noises, like planes, cars, and other machinery, allowing for the sonic beauty of nature to permeate one’s entire being. 

Here are 10 naturally quiet places around the world that bring tranquility to those who visit.

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Hoh Rain Forest

A peaceful path through Hoh Rainforest

Kgrr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

On Earth Day 2005, acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton designated the One Square Inch of Silence project to preserve the quiet of Hoh Rain Forest, located within the 922,000-acre Olympic National Park. Hempton’s project is built upon the premise that in order for one inch of space to be truly free of noise pollution, miles of space surrounding that inch must be free of the sources of unwanted noise. As part of the project, Hempton persuaded three airlines to reroute training and maintenance flights around the airspace overhead, significantly reducing sound infiltration to the area. The quiet of Hoh Rain Forest is further maintained by the abundant and absorbent moss that grows throughout the park.

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Kronotsky Nature Reserve

A brown bear walking up a grassy mountainside in Kronotsky Nature Reserve.

Anton Petrus / Getty Images

In the Russian Far East lies a vast expanse of land full of mountains, volcanoes, geysers, and lakes known as Kronotsky Nature Reserve. Despite its awe-inspiring landscape, the 4,240-square-mile area is restricted to only 3,000 tourists per year and the scientists who study there—making the reserve a haven for natural quiet. The sheer size of Kronotsky Nature Reserve, and the lack of human interference on its grounds, allows for minimal sonic disruptions but for the occasional sounds of geysers bursting skyward, the slight rustling of the wind, and hungry bears pawing for a meal.

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Haleakala Crater

 Haleakalā Crater and the ocean beyond.

lamoix / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Haleakalā Crater on the island of Maui in Hawaii sits atop a 10,023-foot-tall, dormant volcano known as Haleakalā, and is among the quietest places on Earth. The crater floor is made of dried lava and, due to lack of vegetation, is void of noise-making animal life. Other factors, like elevation-induced cool temperatures, which slow the movement of sound, and the crater’s wind-blocking bowl shape, are also responsible for the shocking silence experienced on Haleakalā Crater.

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Yangmingshan National Park

Sunrise on Seven Star Mountain at Yangmingshan National Park

Frank Chen / Getty Images

With over 4 million visitors per year, Yangmingshan National Park in Taiwan might not seem like a likely candidate for the world's quietest places. However, the 43-square-mile park provides a dose of tranquility for tourists and residents of the nearby city Taipei with its beautiful cherry blossom trees and scenic walking trails up into the dormant volcano Seven Star Mountain. In 2020, Quiet Parks International, along with the Taiwanese government, designated Yangmingshan National Park as the first ever Urban Quiet Park.

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Kelso Dune Field

The windswept Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Park

H Ji / EyeEm / Getty Images

Although the Kelso Dune Field in California’s Mojave National Preserve is a majestic hiking destination, visitors to the park can expect to find solitude in the sand. The 45-square-mile area consists of countless rolling sand dunes, some as tall as 600 feet, that dampen the ability of sound to travel. Not only do the dunes create a natural sound barrier, but relatively few planes fly overhead. With such little noise pollution and few avenues for sound to move long distances, the Kelso Dune Field is an ideal location for peace and quiet among the desert landscape.

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Zabalo River

Zabalo River in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador

Anthony Patterson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The lush, tropical rainforests and pristine rivers of the Amazon basin are under constant threat of destruction, but some places there have managed to hold onto their natural splendor and remain free of invasive, human interference. Home to the indigenous Cofán tribe, Zabalo River was designated as the First Certified Wilderness Quiet Park by Quiet Parks International in 2019. QPI awarded Zabalo River this esteemed designation for its “healthy balance of bioacoustic activity” and “average noise-free intervals lasting several hours.”

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Boundary Waters Canoe Area

A pristine lake in Boundary Waters Canoe Area

George Paters / Getty Images

Located on the United States-Canadian border in Superior National Park in Minnesota, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area covers more than 1 million acres of pristinely beautiful and naturally quiet landscapes. The great expanse of land and water is popular among wildlife enthusiasts for its recreational canoeing, fishing, and hiking opportunities, but because motorized vehicles are restricted, the area is largely free of aggressive sound disturbances.

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Doñana National Park

A sand dune with woodlands behind it in Doñana National Park

O. Alamany & E. Vicens / Getty Images

Along the bank of the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia on the southern coast of Spain sits the 209-square-mile Doñana National Park. The expansive nature reserve is best known for the many biomes contained within its boundaries—from marshlands and dunes to woodlands and lagoons. A UNESCO Heritage Site since 1994 and a partially protected area, the Doñana National Park has all of the elements necessary for experiencing natural quiet, like its relatively few visitors in proportion to its size, its sound-restrictive geographical features, and lack of busy roads and other modern infrastructure. Visitors will marvel at the many migratory birds, like the booted eagle and the whiskered tern, which are part-time residents of the park.

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Marconi Beach

The white sand beach on a blue sky day at Macroni Beach

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Part of Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, Marconi Beach is adequately isolated from obtrusive automobile noise by the steep, 40-foot sand cliff that runs alongside it. Guests to the famous beach can take in the gorgeous ocean views in relative quiet from the elevated observation deck at Marconi Station.

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Wadi Rum Protected Area

A red rocky valley with mountains surrounding it in Wadi Rum

Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost / Getty Images

Wadi Rum Protected Area (also known as Valley of the Moon) in southern Jordan is a 280-square-mile natural and cultural site that affords residents and visitors alike the chance to experience blissful natural quiet. Home to the Zalabieh tribe, who provide eco-tours and accommodations to tourists, Wadi Rum features mountains, caverns, gorges, cliffs, and other rocky desert landscapes with ancient petroglyphs and inscriptions found throughout. Despite the popularity of Wadi Rum, its massive size allows for folks to find their own quiet solitude among its majestic red sand and rock.