Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Smokies Visitation Down 6.7% in 2013

Visitation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was down 6.7% this past year. The park recorded 9,040,430 visitors in 2013, versus 9,685,828 in 2012.

No doubt the washout of Newfound Gap Road had an effect on visitation last winter and spring. However, it was the Government Shutdown in October that had the biggest impact on the Smokies. The shutdown came during one of the peak tourist seasons when visitors from all over the country come to see the fall colors. For two weeks the park prevented visitors from enjoying the spectacular fall season. October normally attracts roughly 1.1 million visitors, and is the third most popular visitor month behind June and July.

Here's a graphical look at visitation counts since the Smokies became a national park:

Hiking in the Smokies


julia smith said...

Very good information thanks for sharing.

Tom said...

Thanks for the info. Do you know what the backcountry visitation (overnight) numbers looked like for 2013? I remember from your blog post last January that backpacker count was down...curious if that trend continued, especially with a new fee in place.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Tom - thanks for pointing this out. I just posted a new blog that addresses this issue here: http://hikinginthesmokys.blogspot.com/2014/01/are-backpackers-boycotting-smokies.html