Which U.S. National Parks Have the Most Visitors?

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  • Written By: L. S. Wynn
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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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):

National Park State Visitors
Great Smoky Mountains TN, NC 9,316,420 Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Grand Canyon AZ 4,001,974 Grand Canyon National Park
Olympic WA 3,691,310 Olympic National Park
Yosemite CA 3,361,867 Yosemite National Park
Cuyahoga Valley OH 3,217,935 Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Rocky Mountain CO 2,988,475 Rocky Mountain National Park
Yellowstone ID,MT,WY 2,973,677 Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton WY 2,612,629 Grand Teton National Park
Zion UT 2,592,545 Zion National Park
Acadia ME 2,558,572 Acadia National Park
Glacier MT 1,905,689 Glacier National Park
Mammoth Cave KY 1,891,307 Mammoth Cave National Park
Haleakala HI 1,521,080 Haleakala National Park
Hot Springs AR 1,440,227 Hot Springs National Park
Shenandoah VA 1,389,244 Shenandoah National Park
Mount Rainer WA 1,310,390 Mount Rainer National Park
Joshua Tree CA 1,178,376 Joshua Tree National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes HI 1,110,998 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Everglades FL 968,909 Everglades National Park
Sequoia CA 920,292 Sequoia National Park

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Post 3

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.

Post 2
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.
Post 1

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.

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