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The 10 Quietest Places on Earth

posted in: Guides  |  posted by: Jennifer Gregory on January 4, 2009  |  14 Comments

Our technologically enhanced world may be quicker and smarter, but it’s one other thing as well – it’s louder. No matter where you go you’re sure to be greeted by the sounds of radios, construction, and the never ending rings of your neighbor’s cell phone.

While complete and utter silence might be just as bad, it’s important to find time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and listen to more natural sounds. Things like the sound of your own breath or your heart beating – things you probably haven’t heard in ages over the constant dull roar created by the rest of the universe. We’ve compiled a list of some of the quietest places in the world. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to visit one or two of them soon.

The Hoh ValleyWashington

The Hoh Valley

In Washington State you’ll find the rainforests that make up Olympic National Park. This park is known for being the largest area in the United States without roads, which does a lot to keep it quiet to begin with. There’s a special initiative, though, known as the Square Inch Project.

The Hoh Valley

They believe that keeping one square inch of space quiet (ie. no human sound) will cause the lack of sound to radiate over thousands of acres. They may be on to something here.

The Grand CanyonArizona

The Grand Canyon

When we think of the Grand Canyon we think of a touristy trek through state parks. Fortunately, there are some box canyons down there that are quieter than the sound created by your last breath.

The Grand Canyon

The sound of the Colorado River running through the main canyon is the only other audible sound, and we’re willing to accept that as well.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The area surrounding the volcanoes on Big Island is virtually silent. That is, until the helicopters start flying overhead, but that’s a battle the Park Service in Hawaii will continue to battle. As you explore the volcanoes themselves the only sounds you’ll hear are those created by the earth itself as the lava rumbles beneath the surface.

Cape CodMassachusetts

Cape Cod

Cape Cod may not seem like a quiet place to the uninitiated. After all, thousands of people visit each summer. Take an early morning walk along the beach, though, and you’ll be surprised.

Cape Cod

The waves crashing along the shores will be the only sound you hear and there’s nothing quite as comforting as being wrapped up in the sound of the ocean.

The Gobi DesertMongolia

The Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert is about as far away from civilization as you’re ever going to get. Ancient cities disappeared long ago, and the only visitors are a few brave nomads and the occasional paleontologist searching for signs of history.

The Gobi Desert

You might hear the occasional sound of a bird or vulture here, but it’s not very likely.

The Kalahari DesertAfrica

The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is enormous, with parts of the desert oozing into at least 6 different parts of Africa. There’s absolutely nothing here to make noise. Not even a bird like you found in the Gobi Desert. You may stumble upon a giraffe, but the last time we checked giraffes didn’t really make any noise. There’s no sound out there – but there’s nothing else, either!

Anza-Borrego State ParkCalifornia

Anza-Borrego

Anza Borrego is the largest park in the state of California. A mere four hour drive from civilization, you’ll be surprised to find such a large quiet place in California.

Anza Borrego

The area is mostly desert and is inhabited by the Borrego sheep, which is now listed as an endangered species. Unless you hear the sheep, you aren’t likely to hear anything else!

Loch LomondScotland

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond is one of the most gorgeous lakes in Europe. The loch and its surrounding towns are far enough from London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh to keep the average tourist away but close enough for the ambitious visitor to make the half day trip.

Loch Lomond

The mountains and forests surrounding Loch Lomond protect it from the sounds created by the rest of the outside world. Balloch, the main town on the loch, can be busy but if you travel to the towns on the norther edge, like Luss or Rowardennan, you’ll find a very peaceful atmosphere. The only sounds you’ll hear from those locations areĀ  the occasional cow and perhaps the waves crashing on the loch.

The Muir Woods – California

Muir Woods

Another California destination, the Muir Woods rest a mere 12 miles away from San Francisco, so it seems odd that this wooded area might end up on a list of quiet places. Wouldn’t the noise pollution carry that far? The park was named after conservationist John Muir and, believe it or not, park services have instituted “quiet days” during which sound is prohibited. Relax amongst the giant redwoods in complete silence.

Victoria Falls – Zambia

Victoria Falls

You are absolutely right – the crashing of a 350 foot waterfall is not quiet. It does seem pretty quiet, though, because it is absolutely impossible to hear anything over that sound when you’re visiting the falls close up. You’ll have to see it for yourself!

Everyone deserves a little bit of peace and quiet once in a while. Take the time to visit one of these places and you’ll understand exactly what that means!

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23


Responses to this Article


14 Responses to “The 10 Quietest Places on Earth”

  1. Spot@Boutique Hotel says on

    I think, in general, deserts tend to be earth’s quietest places, partly because they are mostly uninhabited but mostly because sand dunes really soak up sound. I think the most quiet quiet I’ve ever experienced was in the Namibian desert.

  2. Taylor@Salvage Drums says on

    The Hoh Valley in Washington state is a must visit for anyone who truly appreciates natural beauty. It is so quiet and peaceful there it is amazing. In the city you would never find silence like that.

  3. Jerry@Graphic Design Seminars says on

    All these places are filled with so much beauty. It would nice to experience these parks in their natural environment’s.

  4. Anon says on

    Although I’ve never been to a sandy dessert, I have had the opportunity to visit the Great White North (northern Canada). No matter what part of the year you go, you can always find places where you hear the sound of nothing. The most memorable for me, was sitting around a friend’s cabin in the still 10C weather hearing nothing but the water dropping on the patio as the ice on the roof slowly melted.

  5. Sandy says on

    You seem to have completely neglected a couple of continents (Antarctica & Australia) that are also have the lowest populations.
    Muir Woods? Pulease!

    Try the Kimberley region of north western Australia, or any of the other ~60 million acres of national park or 17 world heritage areas in Australia. Now that’s empty & quiet.

  6. Vincent says on

    Death Valley should definitely be on the list. After living there for 2 years I found the weekly drive from Death Valley to Las Vegas absolutely stunning. Especially at night, you could pull off the side of the road, turn off the engine, get out of the car and hear absolutely nothing. No cars, planes or animals. There are so few cars on this road that it could be and hour or so before you would see even one. Very eerie but yet peaceful.

  7. Tim says on

    I’ve been blessed to visit 3 of those listed: Grand Canyon, Loch Lommond, and Hoh Valley. I love places like these. Of the three, Grand Canyon, all by myself, in winter (with snow muffling what little sound there was), was intensely quiet. My blood going through my brain was loud by comparison (no exaggeration here–that is the sound I remember). I hope I can visit the others some day.

  8. John says on

    You are somewhat right about Victoria Falls – it’s like constant white noise. The wonderful thing is spending the night in the nearby town – when you wake up in the morning you can hear the falls before the city wakes up, even though they are several miles away.

  9. devin109 says on

    How is it that 6 out of 10 of these places happen to be in the United States which covers a very portion of the earth’s surface. Furthermore, The US is one of the most industrialized nations on earth even further diminishing this list to a the log of a ethnocentric traveler

  10. Owen says on

    I’m glad to see Muir Woods made the list. I think it has to be the quietest place I’ve ever visited. This is due to its location in a valley and the softness of the trees’ bark and needles lining the forest floor. Because the forest is made almost entirely of Red Woods and ferns, it’s rare to even hear a bird. Death Valley is quiet, but the occasional breeze, car motor, or coyote carries fairly well across the hard packed earth.

  11. Pat says on

    It’s hard for me to believe that 6/10 of the quietest places on earth are in the United States. How about anywhere in Northern Canada, or in the Mountains of Japan, or the Beaches of some Caribbean islands?

  12. Cat says on

    Joshua Tree is SO ridiculously quiet.

  13. Vlad says on

    +1 for Death Valley. Some other places mentioned here don’t even come close to deafening silence of a place that has practically no traffic, very little wind, no yapping tourists, not even noisy animals. The terrain is also ideal for sound dispersion – it’s barren, but getting any echo off those canyons is almost impossible. You can sit at the bottom of Ubehebe Crater all day without hearing a whisper from anywhere.



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