You are here

2016 National Park System Visitation By The Numbers

Share

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes Point Bonita Light, tallied the most visitors of any park unit in 2016, according to the National Park Service/NPS

For the third year in a row, visitation to the National Park System soared to record high in 2016, reaching nearly 331 million. Here's a snapshot of the visitation:

  • 330,971,689 recreation visits in 2016 – up 7.7 percent or 23.7 million visits over 2015. 
  • 1.4 billion hours spent by visitors in parks – up 7 percent or 93 million hours over 2015. 
  • 15,430,454 overnight stays in parks – up 2.5 percent over 2015.
  • 2,543,221 national park campground RV overnights – up 12.5 percent over 2015.
  • 2,154,698 backcountry overnights – up 6.7 percent over 2015.
  • 3,858,162 national park campground tent overnights – up 4.8 percent over 2015.
  • 10 million recreation visits at four parks – Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco; Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia; Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina; George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • 5 million recreation visits at 12 parks (3 percent of reporting parks).
  • 1 million recreation visits at 80 parks (21 percent of reporting parks).
  • 382 of the 417 parks in the National Park system count visitors, and 77 of those parks set a new record for annual recreation visits. This is about 20 percent of reporting parks.
  • 4 parks were added to the statistics system and reported visitation for the first time. They added about 300,000 visits to the total.

Top 10 Visitation

All National Park System Units

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, Calif. – 15,638,777 

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, N.C. – 15,175,578

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tenn. – 11,312,786

4. George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean, Va. – 10,323,339

5. Gateway National Recreation Area, Staten Island, N.Y. – 8,651,770

6. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. – 7,915,934

7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder City, Nev. – 7,175,891

8. Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. – 5,969,811

9. Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, Miss. – 5,891,315

10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C. – 5,299,713

National Parks

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tenn. – 11,312,786

2. Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. – 5,969,811

3. Yosemite National Park, Calif. – 5,028,868

4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colo. – 4,517,585

5. Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah – 4,295,127

6. Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. – 4,257,177

7. Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Wash. – 3,390,221

8. Acadia National Park, Bay Harbor, Maine – 3,303,393

9. Grand Teton National Park, Moose, Wyo. – 3,270,076

10. Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Mont. – 2,946,681

Add comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

2024 Reader Survey

Help the National Parks Traveler staff improve how we keep you informed on the latest news and features from the National Park System. While we're not planning a wholesale makeover of the Traveler website, your suggestions could help guide decisions affecting how our content is presented. Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions.

Please fill out our 2024 reader survey.

The Essential RVing Guide

The Essential RVing Guide to the National Parks

The National Parks RVing Guide, aka the Essential RVing Guide To The National Parks, is the definitive guide for RVers seeking information on campgrounds in the National Park System where they can park their rigs. It's available for free for both iPhones and Android models.

This app is packed with RVing specific details on more than 250 campgrounds in more than 70 parks.

You'll also find stories about RVing in the parks, some tips if you've just recently turned into an RVer, and some planning suggestions. A bonus that wasn't in the previous eBook or PDF versions of this guide are feeds of Traveler content: you'll find our latest stories as well as our most recent podcasts just a click away.

So whether you have an iPhone or an Android, download this app and start exploring the campgrounds in the National Park System where you can park your rig.