The image of the frontiersman blazing a trail through the wilderness is an archetype of American culture. It has been immortalized by paintings and poems depicting the rugged trailblazer seeking solitude and space from the expanding civilization of the 13 original colonies.
The romanticized ideal of the untamed wilderness emboldened thousands of Europeans to go west until the western frontier closed at the end of the 19th century.
With every inch mapped and cataloged, and with ongoing population growth, it’s harder nowadays to traverse unspoiled terrain in the United States. Today over 80% of the world’s population lives within one hour of a city. In high-income countries like the United States, the percentage is more than 90%.
While living near urban centers tends to bring area residents social and economic benefits, the adventurous among us may be pleased to learn there are still some corners of our country that remain extremely remote — places referred to fondly (or not) as the middle of nowhere.
24/7 Wall St. identified the location in each state with the longest estimated travel time to the nearest city using data published Jan. 10, 2018 in Nature. Travel times take into account all forms of travel, as well as the quality of transportation infrastructure.
The middle of nowhere is harder to find in the Eastern United States, the oldest-settled part of the country. Three of the smallest states — Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — have the shortest travel time from their most remote area to the nearest city. Connecticut’s travel time — measured by foot, boat, car, or plane — is the shortest, 52 minutes.