Nature

10 Most Visited National Parks in 2019

Final counts are in and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited National Park in the U.S. during 2019 — and it wasn’t even close. 

According to the National Park Service, 12.5 million people visited Great Smoky Mountains in 2019. The next closest was Grand Canyon National Park with 5.97 million visitors. (See complete list below in graphic at end of story.) Note: This list is for the 62 locations that have “National Park” as part of their name.

Overall, visitation to U.S. National Parks — at more than 325 million total visits — surpassed 2018 by more than 9 million.

“The 419 parks in the national park system provide a vast array of opportunities for recreation and inspiration for visitors of all ages,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. “With at least one located in every state, national parks offer nearby history, culture and adventure.”

Additional highlights from the 2019 visitation report include:

  • Recreation visitor hours have remained above 1.4 billion over the past four years.
  • In the past five years there have been nearly two billion recreation visits to national parks.
  • Thirty-three parks set a new recreation visitation record in 2019.
  • Fourteen parks broke a record they set in 2018.
  • There were two longstanding records broken in 2019: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with 432,818 recreation visits, broke a record they set in 1976 and Capulin Volcano National Monument broke a 1968 record with 81,617 recreation visits in 2019.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park held on to third place and set a new visitation record at 4.67 million.
  • Zion National Park stayed in fourth place with 4.49 million visits in 2019.
  • Yosemite National Park recovered from a drop in 2018 visitation attributed to wildland fires and moved past Yellowstone National Park for fifth place.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the NPS to collect and retain revenue and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience. At least 80 percent of the money stays in the park where it is collected, and the other 20 percent is used to benefit parks that do not collect fees. Read more about your fee dollars at work.

Last year national park visitor spending contributed more than $40 billion to the U.S. economy. The 2019 report on the economic benefits from visitor spending is expected later this spring. 

For an in-depth look at 2019 visitation statistics, including individual park figures, please visit the National Park Service Social Science website.

 

Rank Park Recreational Visits
1 Great Smoky Mountains National Park 12.5 million
2 Grand Canyon National Park 5.97 million
3 Rocky Mountain National Park 4.7 million
4 Zion National Park 4.5 million
5 Yosemite National Park 4.5 million
6 Yellowstone National Park 4 million
7 Acadia National Park 3.4 million
8 Grand Teton National Park 3.4 million
9 Olympic National Park 3.2 million
10 Glacier National Park 3 million

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