National Park Service Press Release

For Immediate Release:
February 17, 2016
Contact(s):
Jeffrey Olson, jeffrey_olson@nps.gov 202-208-6843


National Park Service Certifies 2015 Visitation at 307 Million: Reports Annual Top 10 Lists and Other Highlights

WASHINGTON – President Theodore Roosevelt was reelected in 1904, the same year rangers started counting national park visitors. There were more than 120,000 visits to America’s 11 national parks in the first year of counting. This week, the National Park Service (NPS) certified 2015 national park visitation at more than 307 million. It also released its popular Top 10 list of the most visited national park sites.

“The popularity of national parks is well known, but last year’s numbers really are extraordinary,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th year, we’re preparing to welcome more visitors than ever including a new generation of park supporters and advocates who are discovering their own national park adventures.”

Today’s figures were an increase from the unofficial visitation total of 305 million reported by the NPS in January. The difference is attributed to the recently-completed NPS visitation audit.

2015 visitation highlights include:

  • 307,247,252 recreation visits, a 4.9 percent increase over 2014 and the previous record of 292.8 million recreation visits.
  • 371 of the 410 parks in the National Park System report visitation.
  • 57 of the 371 reporting parks set a new record for annual recreation visits. Eleven parks had more than 5 million recreation visits in 2015.

Notable park milestones in 2015

  • Joshua Tree National Park surpassed 2 million annual recreation visits for the first time.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park surpassed 4 million annual recreation visits for the first time.
  • Yellowstone National Park surpassed 4 million annual recreation visits for the first time.
  • Grand Canyon National Park surpassed 5 million annual recreation visits for the first time.
  • Glacier National Park surpassed 100 million total recreation visits (1910 to 2015)
  • 2 parks are reporting visitation for the first time
    • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
    • Waco Mammoth National Monument

Overnight stays in park campgrounds and backcountry were up over 2014. 

Total overnight stays (sum of all categories) were up 6 percent over 2014.

Highlights:

  • Concessioner campground overnights were up 12.5 percent.
  • NPS campground tent overnights were up 13 percent.
  • NPS campground RV overnights were up 10 percent.
  • Backcountry overnights were up 7 percent. 

Top 10 Visitation

All Parks of the National Park System

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway - 15,054,603
  2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area - 14,888,537
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 10,712,674
  4. Lincoln Memorial - 7,941,771
  5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area - 7,298,465
  6. George Washington Memorial Parkway - 7,286,463
  7. Gateway National Recreation Area - 6,392,565
  8. Natchez Trace Parkway - 5,785,812
  9. Vietnam Veterans Memorial - 5,597,077
  10. Grand Canyon National Park - 5,520,736

National Parks

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 10,712,674
  2. Grand Canyon National Park - 5,520,736
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park - 4,155,916
  4. Yosemite National Park - 4,150,217
  5. Yellowstone National Park - 4,097,710
  6. Zion National Park - 3,648,846
  7. Olympic National Park - 3,263,761
  8. Grand Teton National Park - 3,149,921
  9. Acadia National Park - 2,811,184
  10. Glacier National Park - 2,366,056

 

www.nps.gov 

 

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for the 410 parks in the National Park System and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.