NPS: Unprecedented Visits

Birthday-Celebrating Park Service Smashes Visitation Mark

Buoyed by a yearlong birthday bash, the National Park Service crushed its all-time visitation record by nearly 17.5 million.

The system’s 413 units, which includes national parks, battlefields, historic sites, monuments and other designations, attracted 324,696,417 recreational visits in 2016, according to preliminary numbers. That bests last year’s record of 307,247,252.

The agency added four units during its centennial year, but those don’t nearly account for the visitation increase. The 59 national parks themselves, for instance, had an increase just under 7 million over 2015.

Great Smoky Mountains became the first national park to top 11 million visits and Grand Canyon just missed attracting 6 million in a record-setting year. Yosemite National Park topped 5 million in attendance for the first time in its history, seeing an increase of more than 858,000 from 2015.

When the visitation reporting is certified, several of the most-visited national parks will have set attendance records. The top nine all attracted at least 3 million visits, with No. 10 Glacier National Park falling just short of that mark.

Blue Ridge National Parkway was the most visited unit in the system, drawing 15,176,689. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the most-visited unit in 2015, finished second by a scant 21,000 visits.

See below for final preliminary visitation, as well as monthly top 20 rankings.

MORE: How Increased Visitation Stressed the Parks.

***

*Top 20 National Parks, ranked monthly by cumulative attendance in 2016. With gain/loss from the same month last year.

*NOTE: December lists all parks that exceeded 1 million visits

Click a Month: December |November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January

December: Zion surged ahead of Yellowstone for No. 5, Cuyahoga Valley leaped over Joshua Tree for No. 12, Shenandoah overtook Mount Rainier for No. 17, and Death Valley jumped from No. 22 to No. 19, bumping Sequoia from the top 20. … Yosemite moved up one notch to third from last year’s final standings, Zion overtook Yellowstone for No. 5. Bryce Canyon made the biggest jump, improving from No. 14 to No. 11 with a 633,809 increase in visits. … Four hot spots — Grand Canyon (No. 2 in December visits), Hawaii Volcanoes (No. 3) and Haleakala (No. 7) — were among seven parks that drew at least 100,000 visits in December.

Rank National Park (previous month, previous year) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1, 1) NC/TN 11,393,406 +680,732
2 Grand Canyon (2, 2) AZ 5,958,287 +437,551
3 Yosemite (3, 4) CA 5,008,463 +858,246
4 Rocky Mountain (4, 3) CO 4,519,538 +363,622
5 Zion (6, 6) UT 4,295,128 +646,282
6 Yellowstone (5, 5) WY/MT/ID 4,257,962 +160,252
7 Olympic (7, 7) WA 3,386,717 +122,956
8 Acadia (8, 9) ME 3,303,162 +491,978
9 Grand Teton (9, 8) WY 3,171,553 +21,632
10 Glacier (10, 10) MT 2,947,1613 +581,105
11 Bryce Canyon (11, 14) FL 2,379,613 +633,809
12 Cuyahoga Valley (13, 11) OH 2,354,546 +69,934
13 Joshua Tree (11, 12) CA 2,308,455 +282,699
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (14, 13) HI 1,869,860 +37,200
15 Arches (15, 15) UT 1,579,701 +180,454
16 Hot Springs (16, 16) AK 1,544,300 +126,138
17 Shenandoah (18, 17) VA 1,440,035 +118,162
18 Mount Rainier (17, 18) WA 1,352,797 +115,566
19 Death Valley (21, 20) CA 1,285,796 +130,953
20 Haleakala (20, 19) HI 1,274,454 +57,682
21 Sequoia (18, 22) CA 1,241,676 +144,212
22 Capitol Reef (22, 24) UT 1,057,347 +116,318

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

November: Twenty parks already have seen an increase of at least 104,000 visits, the equivalent of jamming in the entire city of Richmond, Calif.. … Both Olympic and Acadia overtook Grand Teton to move into Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. … Joshua Tree left Cuyahoga Valley into No. 12.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 10,733,999 +588,910
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 5,279,237 +377,969
3 Yosemite (3) CA 4,416,186 +771,154
4 Rocky Mountain (4) CO 4,420,234 +363,622
5 Yellowstone (5) WY/MT/ID 4,222,791 +160,252
6 Zion (6) UT 3,840,468 +619,346
7 Olympic (8) WA 3,219,917 +104,237
8 Acadia (9) ME 3,166,206 +491,978
9 Grand Teton (7) WY 3,238,148 +175,496
10 Glacier (10) MT 2,793,953 +581,105
11 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 2,226,701 +614,840
12 Joshua Tree (13) CA 1,790,913 +427,110
13 Cuyahoga Valley (12) OH 2,049,052 +25,128
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (14) HI 1,534,842 +25,302
15 Arches (15) UT 1,452,633 +169,137
16 Hot Springs (16) AK 1,306,404 +49,652
17 Mount Rainier (17) WA 1,303,528 +160,115
18 Shenandoah (18) VA 1,259,959 +62,557
19 Sequoia (19) CA 1,119,558 +134,950
20 Haleakala (20) HI 1,061,371 +57,682

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

October: Twenty-one parks now have topped the million mark in attendance for 2016, including Death Valley at No. 21. … The top 20 remained intact, with Rocky Mountain overtaking Yellowstone for No. 4 and Grand Teton improving to No. 7 over Olympic. There otherwise was only minor reshuffling at the bottom: Hot Springs leapfrogged Mount Rainier to No. 16 and Shenandoah jumped over Sequoia into 18th.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 9,920,0417 +482,528
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 45,279,237 -+304,541
3 Yosemite (3) CA 4,416,186 +575,635
4 Rocky Mountain (5) CO 4,420,234 +296,500
5 Yellowstone (4) WY/MT/ID 4,222,791 +156,600
6 Zion (6) UT 3,840,468 +365,891
7 Grand Teton (8) WY 3,238,148 +168,094
8 Olympic (7) WA 3,219,917 +112,053
9 Acadia (9) ME 3,166,206 -+417,814/td>
10 Glacier (10) MT 2,793,953 -+460,758
11 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 2,226,701 -+564,010
12 Cuyahoga Valley (12) OH 2,049,052 +9,099
13 Joshua Tree (13) CA 1,790,913 +310,084
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (14) HI 1,534,842 -1,812
15 Arches (15) UT 1,452,633 +129,746
16 Hot Springs (17) AK 1,306,404 +35,112
17 Mount Rainier (16) WA 1,303,528 -+159,710
18 Shenandoah (19) VA 1,259,959 +60,188
19 Sequoia (18) CA 1,119,558 +113,225
20 Haleakala (20) HI 1,061,371 +43,442

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

September: Eight parks already have topped 3 million in visitation, up two from September of last year. … Great Smoky Mountains exceeded a million visitors for the fifth straight month. … Shenandoah returned to the rankings at No. 19, while Death Valley dropped out. … The first eight units stayed in the same order as last month, with Acadia breaking the staring by rising to No. 9. … The national-park units alone are 5.2 million visitors ahead of last year’s record-breaking pace.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 8,566,587 +482,528
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 4,834,874 -+304,541
3 Yosemite (3) CA 4,058,963 +575,635
4 Yellowstone (4) WY/MT/ID 3,970,778 +156,600
5 Rocky Mountain (5) CO 3,868,676 +296,500
6 Zion (6) UT 3,525,502 +365,891
7 Olympic (7) WA 3,062,279 +112,053
8 Grand Teton (8) WY 3,047,467 +168,094
9 Acadia (10) ME 2,821,844 -+417,814/td>
10 Glacier (9) MT 2,722,656 -+460,758
11 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 2,073,706 -+564,010
12 Cuyahoga Valley (13) OH 1,821,176 +9,099
13 Joshua Tree (12) CA 1,773,910 +310,084
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (14) HI 1,401,073 -1,812
15 Arches (15) UT 1,336,774 +129,746
16 Mount Rainier (16) WA 1,227,701 -+159,710
17 Hot Springs (17) AK 1,154,454 +35,112
18 Sequoia (18) CA 1,048,604 +113,225
19 Shenandoah (NR) VA 1,002,105 +60,188
20 Haleakala (19) HI 962,255 +43,442

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

August: Seventeen national-park units top the million mark in attendance for the year, two more than a year ago this time. … Great Smoky Mountains topped 1 million in monthly visitation for the fourth straight month. … With 841,036 in August, Yellowstone was No. 2 in monthly visitation for the third straight month and surged to No. 4 in overall attendance in 2016. … Though slightly reshuffled, the parks comprising the top 20 stayed intact for the first time this year.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 7,401,489 +414,153
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 4,256,868 +251,625
3 Yosemite (3) CA 3,531,561 +575,635
4 Yellowstone (5) WY/MT/ID 3,269,024 +135,059
5 Rocky Mountain (6) CO 3,157,566 +229,740
6 Zion (4) UT 3,027,677 +365,891
7 Olympic (7) WA 2,680,454 +112,053
8 Grand Teton (8) WY 2,555,016 +150,430
9 Glacier (11) MT 2,253,854 +343,345
10 Acadia (10) ME 2,251,410 +326,700
11 Bryce Canyon (13) FL 1,700,704 +443,847
12 Joshua Tree (9) CA 1,629,290 +288,635
13 Cuyahoga Valley (12) OH 1,614,508 +9,099
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (14) HI 1,274,599 -1,792
15 Arches (15) UT 1,135,868 +100,551
16 Mount Rainier (20) WA 1,032,122 +143,887
17 Hot Springs (16) AK 1,014,611 +35,112
18 Sequoia (19) CA 905,496 +94,243
19 Haleakala (18) HI 861,258 +45,290
20 Death Valley (17) CA 857,644 +42,946

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

July: Smoky Mountains had its third straight month of at least 1 million visitors. … Yellowstone nearly became the second park with a million-visitor month, checking in at 980,702. … Thirty-two units had at least 100,000 visitors this month. … Mount Rainier entered the rankings while Capitol Reef dropped out.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 6,194,858 +416,404
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 13,376,604 +164,773
3 Yosemite (3) CA 2,706,398 +387,408
4 Zion (4) UT 2,429,747 +223,448
5 Yellowstone (6) WY/MT/ID 2,412,773 +133,216
6 Rocky Mountain (5) CO 2,330,636 +168,389
7 Olympic (7) WA 1,953,547 +97,305
8 Grand Teton (9) WY 1,847,939 +94,598
9 Joshua Tree (8) CA 1,434,109 +200,991
10 Acadia (13) ME 1,408,165 +150,222
11 Glacier (16) MT 1,387,569 +56,067
12 Cuyahoga Valley (10) OH 1,269,751 -47,683
13 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 1,209,485 +1201,282
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (12) HI 1,090,538 -21,637
15 Arches (14) UT 932,917 +70,786
16 Hot Springs (17) AK 824,601 -4,596
17 Death Valley (15) CA 815,797 +112,566
18 Haleakala (18) HI 751,431 +40,529
19 Sequoia (19) CA 692,132 -+54,822
20 Mount Rainier (NR) WA 666,459 +37,894

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

June: Great Smoky Mountains had its second straight month of million-plus visitation. … With 838,316 visitors, Yellowstone moved from 12th to No. 6, a week after moving from unranked (No. 23) to No. 12. …Grand Teton and Acadia also moved up six sports. … Glacier, Sequoia and Capitol Reef moved into the top 20. … Everglades and Saguaro, hot spots hitting the summer, both left the top 20, as did Shenandoah.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 4,753,255 +416,404
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,914,019 -+32,037
3 Yosemite (5) CA 1,328,607 +180,857
4 Zion (4) UT 1,385,696 +117,481
5 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 745,063 +50,038
6 Yellowstone (12) WY/MT/ID 535,189 +17,102
7 Olympic (6) WA 779,702 +42,617
8 Joshua Tree (5) CA 1,221,059 +200,662
9 Grand Teton (15) WY 507,539 +67,501
10 Cuyahoga Valley (9) OH 728,159 -19,969
11 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 557,862 -+120,993
12 Hawaii Volcanoes (7) HI 777,338 +14,585
13 Acadia (19) ME 365,403 -+73,718
14 Arches (16) UT 503,549 +26,239
15 Death Valley (10) CA 606,907 +112,844
16 Glacier (NR) MT 503,549 +26,239
17 Hot Springs (14) AK 508,385 -2,112
18 Haleakala (13) HI 528,689 +40,529
19 Sequoia (NR) CA 508,385 -2,112
20 Capitol Reef (NR) AK 508,385 -2,112

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top




May: Yellowstone moved from unranked (No. 23) to No. 12. … Bryce Canyon (UT) moved up five spots to No. 11. … Sequoia and Virgin Islands dropped out of the top 20 from Nos. 18 and 19.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 3,370,140 +340,935
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,914,019 -+32,037
3 Zion (4) UT 1,385,696 +117,481
4 Yosemite (5) CA 1,328,607 +180,857
5 Joshua Tree (3) CA 1,221,059 +200,662
6 Olympic (7) WA 779,702 +42,617
7 Hawaii Volcanoes (6) HI 777,338 +14,585
8 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 745,063 +50,038
9 Cuyahoga Valley (9) OH 728,159 -19,969
10 Death Valley (10) CA 606,907 +112,844
11 Bryce Canyon (16) FL 557,862 -+120,993
12 Yellowstone (NR) WY/MT/ID 535,189 +17,102
13 Haleakala (11) HI 528,689 +40,529
14 Hot Springs (14) AK 508,385 -2,112
15 Grand Teton (17) WY 507,539 +67,501
16 Arches (15) UT 503,549 +26,239
17 Everglades (12) FL 468,142 –148,742
18 Saguaro (13) AZ 448,708 -+15,788
19 Acadia (NR) ME 365,403 -+73,718
20 Shenandoah (20) TX 341,741 -+43,663

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

April: As indicated here last month, NPS attendance seemed to be below 2015 levels, but a reporting glitch appears to account for that. Zion National Park, which last year was the poster park for overcrowding, showed negative attendance for March, 2016. This month, Zion is No. 4 among the big national park units. Joshua Tree made a large surge to more than 1 million visitors, vaulting to No. 3 overall. … Bryce Canyon had the ninth-best April with 137,698 and debuted in the rankings at No. 16.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 2,352,185 +340,935
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,394,748 +54,104
3 Joshua Tree (5) CA 1,000,681 +157,829
4 Zion (14) UT 937,720 +69,553
5 Yosemite (3) CA 902,853 +163,225
6 Hawaii Volcanoes (4) HI 607,903 +14,585
7 Olympic (8) WA 490,598 +34,239
8 Rocky Mountain (6) CO 485,352 +50,038
9 Cuyahoga Valley (13) OH 484,964 +19,912
10 Death Valley (12) CA 484,770 +112,844
11 Haleakala (7) HI 417,207 +35,702
12 Everglades (10) FL 397,432 -148,742
13 Saguaro (9) AZ 387,543 +10,423
14 Hot Springs (11) AK 359,872 -15,919
15 Arches (15) UT 323,745 +26,239
16 Bryce Canyon (NR) FL 265,493 +26,306
17 Grand Teton (16) WY 208,282 -48
18 Sequoia (19) CA 207,632 +20,997
19 Virgin Islands (17) VI 185,816 -27,373
20 Shenandoah (NR) TX 182,681 +39,621

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

March:Yosemite climbed to its accustomed spot as the No. 3 most visited park. … Zion dropped five spots to No. 14 and is 289,315 visits behind last year’s attendance at this time. … The national-park units are about 210,000 behind last year’s visitation through March. … Yellowstone dropped out of the top 20, to No. 25.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 1,316,631 +100,267
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 853,655 -0
3 Yosemite (4) CA 628,371 -+170,070
4 Hawaii Volcanoes (3) HI 477,917 +24,956
5 Joshua Tree (5) CA 430,650 —195,770
6 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 354,636 +36,281
7 Haleakala (6) HI 317,980 +34,919
8 Olympic (7) WA 311,533 +18,437
9 Saguaro (10) AZ 309,614 -+10,209
10 Everglades (11) FL 279,725 -157,466
11 Hot Springs (12) AK 267,666 -15,919
12 Death Valley (14) CA 264,574 0
13 Cuyahoga Valley (13) OH 263,350 +8,400
14 Zion (9) UT 186,435 -289,315
15 Arches (NR) UT 158,215 -388
16 Grand Teton (16) WY 155,934 -48
17 Virgin Islands (15) VI 155,138 -13,519
18 Big Bend (17) TX 149,184 -+11,396
19 Sequoia (18) CA 127,922/td>

+9,889
20 Biscayne (20) FL 116,008 -+2,948

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

February: As might be expected with the beginning of the year under winter’s icy grip, the warm-weather parks started, well, hot. Except Great Smoky Mountains, which stayed in its usual top spot, that is. Hawaii Volcanoes at No. 3, Haleakala at No. 6 were prime early-year exceptions, as was Saguaro at No. 10, Virgin Islands at No. 15, Big Bend at No. 17, and Biscayne at No. 20. … In an interesting development, Olympic topped Rocky Mountain for seventh place by just seven visitors. … Overall, the NPS is about 700,000 behind last year’s pace.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (10 NC/TN 623,944 +6,415
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 416,092 -0
3 Hawaii Volcanoes(3) HI 332,008 +24,124
4 Yosemite (5) CA 275,096 +11,462
5 Joshua Tree (4) CA 229,575 -139,972
6 Haleakala (7) HI 209,073 +26,997
7 Olympic (8) WA 200,337 +17,694
8 Rocky Mountain (6) CO 200,330 +16,279
9 Zion (11) UT +10,173
10 Saguaro (9) AZ 186,373 +5,697
11 Everglades (NR) FL 174,438 -113,370
12 Hot Springs (13) AK 161,303 -2,455
13 Cuyahoga Valley (10) OH 157,467 +8,400
14 Death Valley (12) CA 155,153 0
15 Virgin Islands (15) VI 99,981 -9,900
16 Grand Teton (14) WY 98,098 -492
17 Big Bend (17) TX 75,915 +6,419
18 Sequoia (16) CA 70,620 +5,687
19 Yellowstone (20) MT/WY/ID 64,964 +2,530
20 Biscayne (18) FL 64,816 +1,346

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

January: The NPS is more than half a million behind last year’s pace, which is surprising since this is its centennial year and the system is coming off back-to-back, record-break attendance. Is this the calm before the storm?

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains NC/TN 379,730 +6,415
2 Grand Canyon AZ 191,781 -0
3 Hawaii Volcanoes HI 167,814 +11,708
4 Joshua Tree CA 166,876/td>

-2,221/td>
5 Yosemite CA 139,780 +11,462
6 Rocky Mountain CO 115,207 +16,279
7 Haleakala HI 107,269 +12,528
8 Olympic WA 97,571 +17,694
9 Saguaro AZ 88,440 -+5,697
10 Cuyahoga Valley OH 85,195 -+8,400
11 Zion UT 81,557 +3,239
12 Death Valley CA 79,547 0
13 Hot Springs AK 71,988 -2,455
14 Grand Teton WY 47,501 549
15 Virgin Islands VI 45,838 -9,900
16 Sequoia CA 41,007 +5,687
17 Big Bend TX 36,716 -+6,419
18 Biscayne FL 35,755 +1,346
19 Mount Rainier WA 34,786 +6,123
20 Yellowstone MT/WY/ID 30,621 -+2,530

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

Click here for 2015 park standings

July: Smoky Mountains had its third straight month of at least 1 million visitors. … Yellowstone nearly became the second park with a million-visitor month, checking in at 980,702. … Mount Rainier entered the rankings while Capitol Reef dropped out.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 6,194,858 +416,404
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 13,376,604 -+164,773
3 Yosemite (3) CA 2,706,398 +387,408
4 Zion (4) UT 2,429,747 +223,448
5 Yellowstone (6) WY/MT/ID 2,412,773 +133,216
6 Rocky Mountain (5) CO 2,330,636 +168,389
7 Olympic (7) WA 1,953,547 +97,305
8 Grand Teton (9) WY 1,847,939 +94,598
9 Joshua Tree (8) CA 1,434,109 +200,991
10 Acadia (13) ME 1,408,165 +150,222
11 Glacier (16) MT 1,387,569 +56,067
12 Cuyahoga Valley (10) OH 1,269,751 -47,683
13 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 1,209,485 +201,282
14 Hawaii Volcanoes (12) HI 1,090,538 -21,637
15 Arches (14) UT 932,917 +70,786
16 Hot Springs (17) AK 824,601 -4,596
17 Death Valley (15) CA 815,797 +112,566
18 Haleakala (18) HI 751,431 +40,529
19 Sequoia (19) CA 692,132 -+54,822
20 Mount Rainier (NR) WA 666,459 +37,894

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

June: Great Smoky Mountains had its second straight month of million-plus visitation. … With 838,316 visitors, Yellowstone moved from 12th to No. 6, a week after moving from unranked (No. 23) to No. 12. …Grand Teton and Acadia also moved up six sports. … Glacier, Sequoia and Capitol Reef moved into the top 20. … Everglades and Saguaro, hot spots hitting the summer, both left the top 20, as did Shenandoah.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 4,753,255 +416,404
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,914,019 +32,037
3 Yosemite (5) CA 1,328,607 +180,857
4 Zion (4) UT 1,385,696 +117,481
5 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 745,063 +50,038
6 Yellowstone (12) WY/MT/ID 535,189 +17,102
7 Olympic (6) WA 779,702 +42,617
8 Joshua Tree (5) CA 1,221,059 +200,662
9 Grand Teton (15) WY 507,539 +67,501
10 Cuyahoga Valley (9) OH 728,159 -19,969
11 Bryce Canyon (11) FL 557,862 +120,993
12 Hawaii Volcanoes (7) HI 777,338 +14,585
13 Acadia (19) ME 365,403 +73,718
14 Arches (16) UT 503,549 +26,239
15 Death Valley (10) CA 606,907 +112,844
16 Glacier (NR) MT 503,549 +26,239
17 Hot Springs (14) AK 508,385 -2,112
18 Haleakala (13) HI 528,689 +40,529
19 Sequoia (NR) CA 508,385 -2,112
20 Capitol Reef (NR) AK 508,385 -2,112

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

May: Yellowstone moved from unranked (No. 23) to No. 12. … Bryce Canyon (UT) moved up five spots to No. 11. … Sequoia and Virgin Islands dropped out of the top 20 from Nos. 18 and 19.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 3,370,140 +340,935
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,914,019 +32,037
3 Zion (4) UT 1,385,696 +117,481
4 Yosemite (5) CA 1,328,607 +180,857
5 Joshua Tree (3) CA 1,221,059 +200,662
6 Olympic (7) WA 779,702 +42,617
7 Hawaii Volcanoes (6) HI 777,338 +14,585
8 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 745,063 +50,038
9 Cuyahoga Valley (9) OH 728,159 -19,969
10 Death Valley (10) CA 606,907 +112,844
11 Bryce Canyon (16) FL 557,862 +120,993
12 Yellowstone (NR) WY/MT/ID 535,189 +17,102
13 Haleakala (11) HI 528,689 +40,529
14 Hot Springs (14) AK 508,385 -2,112
15 Grand Teton (17) WY 507,539 +67,501
16 Arches (15) UT 503,549 +26,239
17 Everglades (12) FL 468,142 -148,742
18 Saguaro (13) AZ 448,708 +15,788
19 Acadia (NR) ME 365,403 +73,718
20 Shenandoah (20) TX 341,741 +43,663

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top




May: Yellowstone moved from unranked (No. 23) to No. 12. … Bryce Canyon (UT) moved up five spots to No. 11. … Sequoia and Virgin Islands dropped out of the top 20 from Nos. 18 and 19.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 3,370,140 +340,935
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,914,019 +32,037
3 Zion (4) UT 1,385,696 +117,481
4 Yosemite (5) CA 1,328,607 +180,857
5 Joshua Tree (3) CA 1,221,059 +200,662
6 Olympic (7) WA 779,702 +42,617
7 Hawaii Volcanoes (6) HI 777,338 +14,585
8 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 745,063 +50,038
9 Cuyahoga Valley (9) OH 728,159 -19,969
10 Death Valley (10) CA 606,907 +112,844
11 Bryce Canyon (16) FL 557,862 +120,993
12 Yellowstone (NR) WY/MT/ID 535,189 +17,102
13 Haleakala (11) HI 528,689 +40,529
14 Hot Springs (14) AK 508,385 -2,112
15 Grand Teton (17) WY 507,539 +67,501
16 Arches (15) UT 503,549 +26,239
17 Everglades (12) FL 468,142 -148,742
18 Saguaro (13) AZ 448,708 +15,788
19 Acadia (NR) ME 365,403 +73,718
20 Shenandoah (20) TX 341,741 +43,663

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

April: As indicated here last month, NPS attendance seemed to be below 2015 levels, but a reporting glitch appears to account for that. Zion National Park, which last year was the poster park for overcrowding, showed negative attendance for March, 2016. This month, Zion is No. 4 among the big national park units. Joshua Tree made a large surge to more than 1 million visitors, vaulting to No. 3 overall. … Bryce Canyon had the ninth-best April with 137,698 and debuted in the rankings at No. 16.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 2,352,185 +340,935
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 1,394,748 -+54,104
3 Joshua Tree (5) CA 1,000,681 +157,829
4 Zion (14) UT 937,720 +69,553
5 Yosemite (3) CA 902,853 +163,225
6 Hawaii Volcanoes (4) HI 607,903 +14,585
7 Olympic (8) WA 490,598 +34,239
8 Rocky Mountain (6) CO 485,352 +50,038
9 Cuyahoga Valley (13) OH 484,964 +19,912
10 Death Valley (12) CA 484,770 +112,844
11 Haleakala (7) HI 417,207 +35,702
12 Everglades (10) FL 397,432 –148,742
13 Saguaro (9) AZ 387,543 -+10,423
14 Hot Springs (11) AK 359,872 -15,919
15 Arches (15) UT 323,745 +26,239
16 Bryce Canyon (NR) FL 265,493 -+26,306
17 Grand Teton (16) WY 208,282 -48
18 Sequoia (19) CA 207,632 +20,997
19 Virgin Islands (17) VI 185,816 -27,373
20 Shenandoah (NR) TX 182,681 -+39,621

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

March:Yosemite climbed to its accustomed spot as the No. 3 most visited park. … Zion dropped five spots to No. 14 and is 289,315 visits behind last year’s attendance at this time. … The national-park units are about 210,000 behind last year’s visitation through March. … Yellowstone dropped out of the top 20, to No. 25.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (1) NC/TN 1,316,631 +100,267
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 853,655 -0
3 Yosemite (4) CA 628,371 +170,070
4 Hawaii Volcanoes (3) HI 477,917 +24,956
5 Joshua Tree (5) CA 430,650 —195,770
6 Rocky Mountain (8) CO 354,636 +36,281
7 Haleakala (6) HI 317,980 +34,919
8 Olympic (7) WA 311,533 +18,437
9 Saguaro (10) AZ 309,614 +10,209
10 Everglades (11) FL 279,725 -157,466
11 Hot Springs (12) AK 267,666 -15,919
12 Death Valley (14) CA 264,574 0
13 Cuyahoga Valley (13) OH 263,350 +8,400
14 Zion (9) UT 186,435 -289,315
15 Arches (NR) UT 158,215 -388
16 Grand Teton (16) WY 155,934 -48
17 Virgin Islands (15) VI 155,138 -13,519
18 Big Bend (17) TX 149,184 +11,396
19 Sequoia (18) CA 127,922/td>

+9,889
20 Biscayne (20) FL 116,008 +2,948

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

February: As might be expected with the beginning of the year under winter’s icy grip, the warm-weather parks started, well, hot. Except Great Smoky Mountains, which stayed in its usual top spot, that is. Hawaii Volcanoes at No. 3, Haleakala at No. 6 were prime early-year exceptions, as was Saguaro at No. 10, Virgin Islands at No. 15, Big Bend at No. 17, and Biscayne at No. 20. … In an interesting development, Olympic topped Rocky Mountain for seventh place by just seven visitors. … Overall, the NPS is about 700,000 behind last year’s pace.

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains (10 NC/TN 623,944 +6,415
2 Grand Canyon (2) AZ 416,092 -0
3 Hawaii Volcanoes(3) HI 332,008 +24,124
4 Yosemite (5) CA 275,096 +11,462
5 Joshua Tree (4) CA 229,575 -139,972
6 Haleakala (7) HI 209,073 +26,997
7 Olympic (8) WA 200,337 +17,694
8 Rocky Mountain (6) CO 200,330 +16,279
9 Zion (11) UT 194,805 -10,173
10 Saguaro (9) AZ 186,373 -+5,697
11 Everglades (NR) FL 174,438 -113,370
12 Hot Springs (13) AK 161,303 -2,455
13 Cuyahoga Valley (10) OH 157,467 +8,400
14 Death Valley (12) CA 155,153 0
15 Virgin Islands (15) VI 99,981 -9,900
16 Grand Teton (14) WY 98,098 -492
17 Big Bend (17) TX 75,915 -+6,419
18 Sequoia (16) CA 70,620 +5,687
19 Yellowstone (20) MT/WY/ID 64,964 +2,530
20 Biscayne (18) FL 64,816 +1,346

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

January: The NPS is more than half a million behind last year’s pace, which is surprising since this is its centennial year and the system is coming off back-to-back, record-break attendance. Is this the calm before the storm?

Rank National Park (previous month rank) State(s) Month +/- 2014
1 Great Smoky Mountains NC/TN 379,730 +6,415
2 Grand Canyon AZ 191,781 -0
3 Hawaii Volcanoes HI 167,814 +11,708
4 Joshua Tree CA 166,876/td>

-2,221/td>
5 Yosemite CA 139,780 +11,462
6 Rocky Mountain CO 115,207 +16,279
7 Haleakala HI 107,269 +12,528
8 Olympic WA 97,571 +17,694
9 Saguaro AZ 88,440 +5,697
10 Cuyahoga Valley OH 85,195 +8,400
11 Zion UT 81,557 +3,239
12 Death Valley CA 79,547 0
13 Hot Springs AK 71,988 -2,455
14 Grand Teton WY 47,501 549
15 Virgin Islands VI 45,838 -9,900
16 Sequoia CA 41,007 +5,687
17 Big Bend TX 36,716 -+6,419
18 Biscayne FL 35,755 +1,346
19 Mount Rainier WA 34,786 +6,123
20 Yellowstone MT/WY/ID 30,621 +2,530

Source: National Park Service.

Back to Top

Click here for 2015 park standings