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According to the National Park Service, the National Park System had a total of 277,299,880 recreational visits in 2002. When you consider that the population of the entire United States in 2002 was 280 million, it becomes clear that there was virtually one visit to the national park system per U.S. resident!
Here are the top 20 National Parks in terms of recreational visitation in 2002. Note that the statistics listed below are for National Parks only (recreational areas, national historical monuments etc. are not included):
|Great Smoky Mountains||TN, NC||9,316,420|
Animandel - Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that the Great Smoky Mountains were the most visited of the national parks. However, I would never have guessed they would have twice as many visitors as any of the other national parks.
Maybe I should cancel my trip to the Grand Canyon and spend some time in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee next year instead.
Sporkasia - I have lived in the North Carolina mountains and I wasn't far from Tennessee at the time, so I wasn't surprised to see the Great Smoky Mountains at the top of the list. During the summer and fall, people cover the mountains in that area like ants on an anthill. Honestly, it is an amazing thing to see when all those winding roads are covered in lines of cars winding up and down the mountains.
Reading the list of most visited national parks in the United States, I was surprised to learn that The Grand Canyon was not the most visited. For some reason, it's the first one that pops to mind when I think of the national parks. I also thought Yellowstone would be higher on the list.