Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Top 10 most visited National Parks in 2009

Despite the recession, or perhaps because of it, more than 285 million visitors flocked to national parks last year, falling just short of the all-time visitation record of 287.2 million set in 1987.

The National Park Service reported that 2009 visitation represented an increase of 10 million people, or 3.6%, versus the prior year.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar speculated that the increases may have be a result of families on tight budgets view parks as bargains, parks offered free visitation on three weekends, and parks attracted extra attention as a result of Ken Burns's documentary on the history of parks.

As usual, the Great Smoky Mountains ranked the highest in total visitation. Here's how the top 10 parks ranked in terms of visitation for 2009:

1) Great Smoky Mountains (9.5 million visitors)
2) Grand Canyon (4.3 million visitors)
3) Yosemite (3.7 million)
4) Yellowstone (3.3 million)
5) Olympic (3.3 million)
6) Rocky Mountain (2.8 million)
7) Zion (2.7 million)
8) Cuyahoga Valley (2.6 million)
9) Grand Tetons (2.6 million)
10) Acadia (2.2 million)

Also, the Blue Ridge Parkway was the most visited unit of the system with nearly 16 million visitors in 2009.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.


Maria said...

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THanks again for sharing.

Mike said...

Ken Burns Documentary on the National Parks was great. I saw the section highlighting Yosemite and decided to visit. I have not seen the section on the Smoky Mountains, but as a Smoky Mountain enthusiast Ii know that he must have done an excellent job. Great post! Do you think more people visit the Smoky Mountains because it is more accessible? What was the reasoning?

Smoky Mountain Hiker said...


Here are my comments on the Burns film:

As for the Smokies having the highest visitation year in and out is due to the fact that there are no entrance fees.

More importantly, it's because such a large percentage of the population lives within a 6 hour drive, or even a day's drive.