National Park Visitation Tops 327 Million in 2019

Friday, February 28, 2020

America’s national parks continue to be popular destinations. Visitation to national parks in 2019 exceeded 300 million recreation visits for the fifth consecutive year. The 327.5 million total is the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.

“The numbers once again affirm that Americans and visitors from around the world love the natural, cultural and historic experience provided by our nation’s national parks,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.

“The 419 parks in the national park system provide a vast array of opportunities for recreation and inspiration for visitors of all ages,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. “With at least one located in every state, national parks offer nearby history, culture and adventure.”

Under President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt’s leadership, the National Park Service continues to expand recreational opportunities and accessibility for park visitors. During the prior year two new national parks were designated: White Sands in New Mexico, and Indiana Dunes in Indiana. In 2018 Gateway Arch in St. Louis was also designated as a national park. These three parks combined reported almost 4.8 million visitors in 2019.

Additional highlights from the 2019 visitation report include:

* Visitation in 2019 surpassed 2018 by more than 9 million recreation visits, a 2.9 percent increase.

* Recreation visitor hours have remained above 1.4 billion over the past four years.

* In the past five years there have been nearly two billion recreation visits to national parks.

* Thirty-three parks set a new recreation visitation record in 2019.

* Fourteen parks broke a record they set in 2018.

* There were two longstanding records broken in 2019: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with 432,818 recreation visits, broke a record they set in 1976 and Capulin Volcano National Monument broke a 1968 record with 81,617 recreation visits in 2019.

* Golden Gate National Recreation Area remained the most-visited site in the National Park System ahead of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

* Great Smoky Mountains National Park (12.5 million) and Grand Canyon National Park (5.97 million) continue to hold the first and second most-visited national parks in the United States.

* Rocky Mountain National Park held on to third place and set a new visitation record at 4.67 million.

* Yosemite National Park recovered from a drop in 2018 visitation attributed to wildland fires and moved past Yellowstone National Park for fifth place.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the NPS to collect and retain revenue and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience. At least 80 percent of the money stays in the park where it is collected, and the other 20 percent is used to benefit parks that do not collect fees. For information about your fee dollars at work, visit

Last year national park visitor spending contributed more than $40 billion to the U.S. economy. The 2019 report on the economic benefits from visitor spending is expected later this spring.

For an in-depth look at 2019 visitation statistics, including individual park figures, please visit the National Park Service Social Science website.

2019 by the numbers:
* 327,516,619 recreation visits
* 1,429,969,885 recreation visitor hours
* 13,860,047 overnight stays (recreation + non-recreation)
* Three parks had more than 10 million recreation visits – Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
* 11 parks had more than five million recreation visits
* 80 parks had more than one million recreation visits (21% of reporting parks)
* 25 national parks had more than 1 million recreation visits (40% of National Parks)
* 50% of total recreation visits occurred in 27 parks (7% of all parks in the National Park System)

Top Ten Most Visited National Parks:
1) Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 12.5 million
2) Grand Canyon National Park: 5.97 million
3) Rocky Mountain National Park: 4.7 million
4) Zion National Park: 4.5 million
5) Yosemite National Park: 4.4 million
6) Yellowstone National Park: 4 million
7) Acadia National Park: 3.4 million
8) Grand Teton National Park: 3.4 million
9) Olympic National Park 3.2 million
10) Glacier National Park: 3 million


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