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The U.S. National Park Service Visitation Tops 318 Million in 2018

Smoky Mountains hiking

Visitation to America's national parks in 2018 exceeded 300 million recreation visits for the fourth consecutive year. The 318.2 million recreation visits total is the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.

"America's national parks are national treasures that tell the story of our nation and celebrate its beauty, history and culture," said Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. "I am pleased that so many Americans and visitors from around the world continue to take advantage of the affordable and accessible recreational opportunities provided by these sites."

"The visitation to our national parks continues to affirm that Americans are in love with their public lands and hold dear the stories of our nation embodied in the natural, cultural and historic landscapes we protect in the National Park System," National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said.

The 418 national parks throughout the country provide a vast array of opportunities for recreation and inspiration for visitors of all ages. With at least one located in every state, national parks are easily accessible and affordable destinations. In the past five years there have been about 1.6 billion recreational visits to national parks.

In 2018, Golden Gate National Recreation Area reclaimed the top spot for highest visitation in the National Park System from the Blue Ridge Parkway. These two parks have been trading places at one and two since 1979. In the national parks category, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.4 million) and Grand Canyon National Park (6.4 million) continue to hold the top two spots, as they have since 1990.

For an in-depth look at 2018 visitation, including individual park figures, please visit the NPS Social Science web site.

A look at the numbers:

By The Numbers around the National Park System

  • 318,211,833 recreation visits (385 of 418 parks report visitation figures)
  • 1,401,420,191 recreation visitor hours
  • 13,950,759 overnight stays
  • 28 parks set a new record for visitation (about 7% of reporting parks)
  • 17 parks broke a record they set in 2017
  • Three parks had over 10 million recreation visits – Blue Ridge Parkway, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Nine parks had over 5 million recreation visits
  • 77 parks had over 1 million recreation visits (about 20% of reporting parks)

Golden Gate Bridge binocular

Top 10 - All Parks in the National Park System                   

Golden Gate National Recreation Area – 15,223,697                                   

Blue Ridge Parkway – 14,690,418                            

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 11,421,200                      

Gateway National Recreation Area – 9,243,305                               

Lincoln Memorial – 7,804,683                                              

Lake Mead National Recreation Area – 7,578,958                           

George Washington Memorial Parkway – 7,288,623           

Grand Canyon National Park – 6,380,495                            

Natchez Trace Parkway – 6,362,439                                     

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – 4,719,148                 

grand canyon 844137 1280

Top 10 - National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 11,421,200

Grand Canyon National Park - 6,380,495

Rocky Mountain National Park - 4,590,493

Zion National Park - 4,320,033

Yellowstone National Park - 4,115,000

Yosemite National Park - 4,009,436

Acadia National Park - 3,537,575

Grand Teton National Park - 3,491,151

Olympic National Park - 3,104,455

Glacier National Park - 2,965,309

Parks that passed notable annual recreation visit milestones:

Keweenaw National Historical Park - 20,000

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument - 30,000

Big Thicket National Preserve - 200,000

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park -  200,000

Petroglyph National Monument - 250,000

Nez Perce National Historical Park - 300,000

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - 800,000

Death Valley National Park - 1.5 million

Parks that passed notable accumulated visitation milestones:

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve                   passed 50,000 total visits (1998-2018)

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers Natl Monument      passed 50,000 total visits (2015-2018)

Keweenaw National Historical Park                       passed 50,000 total visits (2016-2018)

Weir Farm National Historic Site                           passed 500,000 total visits (1993-2018)

William Howard Taft National Historic Site             passed 500,000 total visits (1972-2018

Niobrara National Scenic River                             passed 1 million total visits (2004-2018

Adams National Historical Park                             passed 5 million total visits (1947 to 2018)

Whitman Mission National Historic Site                 passed 5 million total visits (1941 to 2018)

Christiansted National Historic Site                       passed 5 million total visits (1956 to 2018)

Governors Island National Monument                   passed 5 million total visits (2003 to 2018)

Boston African American National Historic Site       passed 10 million total visits (1989 to 2018)

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park                passed 10 million total visits (1961 to 2018)

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park            passed 10 million total visits (1970 to 2018)

Nez Perce National Historical Park                         passed 10 million total visits (1968 to 2018)

Scotts Bluff National Monument                            passed 10 million total visits (1920 to 2018)

Minute Man National Historical Park                       passed 50 million total visits (1964 to 2018)

Parks that broke visitation records (previous record year in parentheses):

Arches National Park (2016)

Big Thicket National Preserve (2016)

Bryce Canyon National Park (2017)

Capitol Reef National Park (2017)

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (2017)

City of Rocks National Reserve (2017)

Death Valley National Park (2016)

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (2016)

Friendship Hill National Historic Site (2017)

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (2017)

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (2015)

Grand Canyon National Park (2017)

Grand Teton National Park (1970)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (2017)

Joshua Tree National Park (2017)

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (2017)

Keweenaw National Historical Park (2017)

Longfellow National Historic Site (2008)

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (2016)

Mojave National Preserve (2017)

Nez Perce National Historical Park (2013)

Petroglyph National Monument (2017)

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (2017)

River Raisin National Battlefield Park (2017)

Rocky Mountain National Park (2016)

Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site (2017)

Waco Mammoth National Monument (2017)

Walnut Canyon National Monument (1993)