Yesterday the National Park Service released the official attendance numbers for each of the parks in 2012. The list gives us some insights into the most popular destinations with travelers in the U.S. park system with some very well known and iconic parks earning the top spots. The numbers also indicate that travelers don’t seem to be growing tired of the parks either, as more than 282 million people visited a national park last year. That’s up from 2011 and the sixth highest total of all time.
Of the 59 park units that fall under the jurisdiction of the NPS, the top ten most popular, along with their attendance numbers, are as follows:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)
- Grand Canyon National Park (4,421,352)
- Yosemite National Park (3,853,404)
- Yellowstone National Park (3,447,729)
- Rocky Mountain National Park (3,229,617)
- Zion National Park (2,973,607)
- Olympic National Park (2,824,908)
- Grand Teton National Park (2,705,256)
- Acadia National Park (2,431,052)
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park (2,299,722)
These parks are all certainly deserving of being amongst the most visited. Each of them is a spectacular environment in their own right and it is completely understandable why they are chosen by millions of visitors on a yearly basis. The Great Smoky Mountains in particular have been on top of this list for years and the park remains a mainstay for backpackers, hikers, campers and other travelers.
If you’re a fan of the national parks and haven’t been to each of these yet, you could easily spend several vacations exploring each of these destinations. These are some of the most amazing landscapes in North America and the perfect settings for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers alike.
[Photo Credit: National Park Service]