Annual Visitation Highlights

The core mission of the National Park Service (NPS) is to protect park resources and values and to provide for the enjoyment of parks by this and future generations. By design, parks attract a significant amount of public interest which in turn generates a stream of visitors engaging in a variety of activities at parks. Good management of parks depends on consistent, reliable, high quality information about visitor use, and monitoring that use is a fundamental responsibility of park managers. To this end, agency managers devote a significant amount of staff time and funding to manage and monitor the use of parks by visitors. Some primary concerns are how many people visit a park, what they are doing while they visit, how long they stay and characteristics of the ‘typical’ visitor.

‘Visitor Use Statistics’ refers to a formal set of statistics collected by the National Park Service that address how many people visit parks and how long they stay. The set is comprised of recreation visit counts and hours, non-recreation visit counts and hours and overnight stays by category. Recreation visits are the most used and most visible visitor use statistic for the NPS. The definition of a recreation visit is the entry of persons onto lands or waters administered by the NPS for recreation purposes. More NPS visitor use statistics definitions are available from the Visitor Use Statistics program.

2019 Visitation Highlights

In 2019, the National Park Service received over 327.5 million recreation visits; up 9 million visits (2.9%) from 2018. 2019 edged out 2018 as the third highest year for recreation visits (behind 2016 and 2017). The graphs on this page display top ten parks by recreation visits for 2019. There are two graphs – one displays 2018 and 2019 recreation visit totals for the top 10 National Park System units and the other displays 2018 and 2019 recreation visit totals for the top 10 national parks (national parks are a subset of all National Park System units that includes only those sites designated as national parks and excludes national monuments, national recreation areas, etc). Historic visitation totals and the 2019 visitation highlights discussed below are also available for download.

To access more visitor use data for 2018 and other years, please visit our Visitor Use Statistics portal.

Visitation numbers for top 10 all national park units

This graph displays 2018 and 2019 recreation visit totals for the top 10 National Park System units. 2019 recreation visit totals and rankings are displayed on the right side of the graph; rankings and total recreation visits of the same NPS units in 2018 are shown on the left. The collection of parks in the top 10 changed between 2018 and 2019: the tenth highest park changed from Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2018 to Gulf Islands National Seashore in 2019 – only Gulf Islands National Seashore is shown in the graph. Line endpoints and slopes indicate relative differences between recreation visits for the same park in 2018 and 2019.

  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area had an estimated 15,002,227 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a first place ranking
  • Blue Ridge Parkway had an estimated 14,976,085 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a second place ranking
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park had an estimated 12,547,743 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a third place ranking
  • Gateway National Recreation Area had an estimated 9,405,622 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a fourth place ranking
  • Lincoln Memorial had an estimated 7,808,182 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a fifth place ranking
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area had an estimated 7,499,049 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a sixth place ranking
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway had an estimated 7,487,265 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a seventh place ranking
  • Natchez Trace Parkway had an estimated 6,296,041 recreation visits in 2019 and changed ranking from ninth place in 2018 to eighth place in 2019
  • Grand Canyon National Park had an estimated 5,974,411 recreation visits in 2019 and changed ranking from eighth place in 2018 to ninth place in 2019
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore had an estimated 5,600,240 recreation visits in 2019 and moved from eighteenth place in 2018 to tenth place in 2019. Vietnam Veterans Memorial moved out of the top ten and dropped to fourteenth place.
2019 National Park Top 20 Visits

This graph displays 2018 and 2019 recreation visit totals for the top 10 national parks. National parks are a subset of all National Park System units that includes only those sites designated as national parks (excludes national monuments, national recreation areas, etc). 2019 recreation visit totals and rankings are displayed on the right side of the graph; rankings and total recreation visits of the same NPS units in 2018 are shown on the left. The collection of national parks in the top 10 was the same in both years, although two parks changed places in ranking. Line endpoints and slopes indicate relative differences between recreation visits for the same park in 2018 and 2019.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park had an estimated 12,547,743 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a first place ranking
  • Grand Canyon National Park had an estimated 5,974,411 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a second place ranking
  • Rocky Mountain National Park had an estimated 4,670,053 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a third place ranking
  • Zion National Park had an estimated 4,488,268 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a fourth place ranking
  • Yosemite National Park had an estimated 4,422,861 recreation visits in 2019 and changed ranking from sixth place in 2018 to fifth place in 2019
  • Yellowstone National Park had an estimated 4,020,288 recreation visits in 2019 and changed ranking from fifth place in 2018 to sixth place in 2019
  • Acadia National Park had an estimated 3,437,286 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a seventh place ranking
  • Grand Teton National Park had an estimated 3,405,614 recreation visits in 2019 and retained an eighth place ranking
  • Olympic National Park had an estimated 3,245,806 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a ninth place ranking
  • Glacier National Park had an estimated 3,049,839 recreation visits in 2019 and retained a tenth place ranking

Last updated: February 27, 2020

Tools

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