Hiking in the Hoh rainforest, the most silent place in the continental US — Photo courtesy of Amanda Castleman
Hike the Hoh
The quietest place in the continental United States lies in Olympic National Park, muffled by the Pacific Ocean and the hemisphere’s best and largest temperate rainforests. Look for a salmon-colored rock on a mossy log, 3.2 miles up the Hoh River Trail, which marks the One Square Inch of Silence. Activists hope to create the planet’s first Quiet Zone here to celebrate the park system’s centennial in 2016.
Sleep in the world’s most silent suite
Arizona’s Grand Canyon Caverns rents out the “largest, deepest, darkest, oldest and quietest motel room,” a rock chamber 220 feet below the surface. Nothing lives in America’s biggest dry cavern, aside from guests… who hear only their breaths and heartbeats.
The crater atop Hawaii's Mount Haleakala — Photo courtesy of Michael Oswald
Climb into a Hawaiian crater
Ocher lava fields dominate the 10,023-foot summit of Mount Haleakala, a national park on the island of Maui. Descend into the planet’s most massive dormant volcano, a place so silent that microphones record only the sound of their metal fatigue.
Gaze at Russia’s only geyser basin
A thousand miles north of Japan, Kronotsky Nature Reserve sweeps from tundra to forests of Siberian dwarf pine and Eurasia’s highest active volcano. Only scientists–and a handful of tightly controlled tourists–can venture into these 2.8 million acres.
The "singing" Kelso Dunes of the Mojave — Photo courtesy of Binksternet
Slide down the Kelso Dunes
Deep in southern California’s Mojave National Preserve sprawls 45 square miles of America’s tallest and most extensive dunes. At the right moisture levels, sliding sands there produce booming or “singing” sounds.
Trek among the Big Five in Tanzania
One of Africa’s largest and most remote protected areas, the wilderness of Selous Game Reserve shelters hippos, elephants and black rhinoceroses. This World Heritage Site remains relatively undisturbed by humans… and our noise.
The world's biggest swathe of intact Amazonian rainforest, Guyana — Photo courtesy of Amanda Castleman
Get in tune with Guyana’s nature
Eighty percent of this South American country remains wild, sheltering the globe’s largest swathe of intact Amazonian rainforest. Visit the Interior, where places like Maipaima Eco Lodge and Rock View Lodge blend Amerindian hospitality with unspoiled beauty.
Meditate with Buddhist monks
Thailand’s Wat Suan Mokkh offers 10-day silent retreats each month. Participants focus on mindfulness in open-air halls among a beautifully manicured forest.
Prairie at Grasslands National Park, Canada — Photo courtesy of Eric Lindberg
Concentrate in Canada’s sea of grass
Songbirds trill and prairie dogs chirp among the rustling prairie of Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, but few man-made sounds intrude.
Listen to your scalp in a lab
The quietest place on earth–the Orfield Anechoic Test Chamber–just lost out to a new Microsoft studio in Redmond, Washington. But the Minnesota facility still welcomes guests to experience 99.9% silence, which can spark sound hallucinations: the longest anyone has ever lasted inside is 45 minutes.