Interesting question... for me, I guess the answer is a matter of perspective.
I mostly avoid the high profile, popular (and yet really beautiful) hiking areas in CA (like the Sierra Nevada in summer) or most National Parks during their busy seasons.
I instead visit lesser-visited (and less restricted/policed) National Forests to avoid the crowds, permit hassles, restrictions on camping areas, etc. Or if I do visit the popular areas, I tend to go out of "season" like late fall trips into the Sierra. The funny thing is, I've really come to love my local National Forest backcountry and in most cases, have begun to think of it as being amongst the most beautiful places I'd like to spend my limited time.
Are the cliffs, peaks, rivers, etc. as dramatic as those contained within our National Park system? No, not typically, but there's something about it being local, and developing a long term sense of place or connection to it, that I find compelling. It's far more of an attraction to me than hiking any trail in Yosemite.
I go backpacking largely to get away from the crowds, distractions, noise, and business of City life. Escaping into these less crowded, and arguably more wild spaces is more in line with that philosophy.