This Was the Most-Visited National Park Last Year
And it won by a landslide
National parks have always been a wonderful way to see the unspoiled beauty of the United States, and their popularity only grew during the pandemic as travelers looked for nature-driven vacations and ways to explore the great outdoors. But even as the world has opened up again, national park visits continue to rise in popularity. The National Park Service just released data from 2022, and 312 million people visited national parks last year, a 5% increase from 2021. The report also named the 15 most visited parks in the country, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park took the number one spot for the second year in a row.
Not only did Great Smoky Mountains beat out all other national parks for the top spot — it won by a lot. A whopping 12,937,633 people visited the park in 2022, while Grand Canyon National Park came in second with 4,732,101 visitors. That’s a pretty big jump when you see the numbers. Zion National Park wasn’t far behind in third place with 4,692,417 and Rocky Mountain National Park came in fourth with 4,300,424.
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There were some surprises on the list, too. “Many parks with record visitation in 2022 are on what we would call ‘the road less traveled,’” National Park Service director Chuck Sams said in a release. For the past two years, the NPS has been focusing on efforts to get more visitors into lesser-known parks, and it seems their hard work has paid off. Two midwest parks made the list — Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Indiana Dunes National Park — and Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas also snagged a spot in the top 15.
Here is the complete list of the most visited national parks with the number of people who took the time to experience their splendor in 2022:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee) – 12,937,633
- Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – 4,732,101
- Zion National Park (Utah) – 4,692,417
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado) – 4,300,424
- Acadia National Park (Maine) – 3,970,260
- Yosemite National Park (California) – 3,667,550
- Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) – 3,290,242
- Joshua Tree National Park (California) – 3,058,294
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio) – 2,913,312
- Glacier National Park (Montana) – 2,908,458
- Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana) – 2,834,180
- Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming) – 2,806,223
- Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas) – 2,646,133
- Olympic National Park (Washington) – 2,432,972
- Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah) – 2,354,660
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