Attendance at U.S. nationwide parks elevated dramatically final yr. The truth is, a few of these parks even noticed a record-breaking variety of guests.
Certainly, in response to the Nationwide Park Service (NPS), greater than 297 million folks visited U.S. nationwide parks in 2021, up 60 million from the 237 million visits logged in 2020.
Apparently, in 2021, six nationwide parks even broke visitation data they’d set in 2020. Moreover, 11 parks logged greater than 5 million visits in 2021, which is the same as the variety of parks with that many visits pre-pandemic in 2019. Numbers for 2020 have been skewed as a result of many parks have been closed a part of the yr as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s great to see so many People persevering with to seek out solace and inspiration in these unbelievable locations in the course of the second yr of the pandemic,” Chuck Sams, director of the NPS, mentioned in an announcement. “We’re blissful to see so many guests returning to iconic parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, however there are a whole lot extra that must be on everybody’s bucket record. No matter expertise you’re on the lookout for in 2022, nationwide parks are right here to find.”
As Sams talked about, Yellowstone and Yosemite had a really excessive variety of guests final yr. Maintain studying to seek out out which different U.S. nationwide parks have been among the many 10 most-visited in 2021.
10. Glacier Nationwide Park
Glacier, which the NPS calls the “Crown of the Continent,” is understood for its rugged mountains, lovely lakes, and greater than 700 miles of scenic trails. One of many park’s hottest sights is the Going-to-the-Solar Street, an virtually 50-mile scenic highway that makes its approach by the park — even crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Move.
In 2021, 3.1 million folks visited Glacier, the NPS stories. Meaning 2021 was the second-highest yr for attendance at Glacier, falling solely behind 2017 when a report 3.3 million folks visited the park, NPS knowledge reveals.
9. Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park
There are 15 miles of sandy seaside in addition to 50 miles of trails by wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests for guests to discover at Indiana Dunes. The park, positioned within the southwest nook of Lake Michigan in northeast Indiana, is simply 50 miles from Chicago.
In 2020, almost 2.3 million folks visited the park. In 2021, nonetheless, that quantity jumped dramatically to three.2 million guests.
8. Yosemite Nationwide Park
Seated in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite is understood for its quite a few waterfalls, historic sequoia timber, deep valleys, large meadows, huge sections of wilderness, and an abundance of wildlife. The park’s most-crowded attraction is Yosemite Valley, which is simply pure because it’s the most effective place to see the world-famous granite cliffs: Half Dome and El Capitan.
Virtually 4.5 million guests traveled to Yosemite in 2019. Whereas visitation numbers have been down dramatically in 2020 as a consequence of pandemic-related restrictions, visitation was again up once more final yr. Certainly, just below 3.3 million folks visited Yosemite in 2021.
7. Grand Teton Nationwide Park
Grand Teton is house to 310,000 acres of valley flooring, mountain meadows, alpine lakes, and peaks of the Teton Vary. Consequently, the park — which is north of Jackson, Wyoming, and south of Yellowstone — is well-known for its climbing, backcountry exploring, climbing, and mountaineering alternatives. Guests additionally typically see giant animals, together with elk, moose, bison, mule deer, and pronghorn.
Grand Teton is among the nationwide parks that set a brand new attendance report in 2021. In 2019, a report 3.4 million guests traveled to Grand Teton. In 2021, nonetheless, the park set a brand new attendance report of just below 3.9 million guests.
6. Acadia Nationwide Park
Known as the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast” by the NPS, Acadia is a 47,000-acre recreation space on the Atlantic Coast round 50 miles from Bangor, Maine. Guests to the park, which is totally on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, can see and revel in 27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of climbing trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. Right here, the most well-liked actions in the summertime are biking, birdwatching, swimming, stargazing, and boating. Within the winter, guests journey to the park to hike, cross-country ski, and snowshoe.
Acadia is one other nationwide park that set a brand new attendance report final yr. That’s as a result of 4.1 million folks visited Acadia in 2021.
5. Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park
Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park is house to 76 mountains, every of which is greater than 10,000 toes excessive. The park, which sits simply outdoors Estes Park and is a couple of 2-hour drive from Denver, can also be recognized for its 355 miles of climbing trails. Guests steadily see bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and different wildlife.
In 2020, Rocky Mountain had 3.3 million guests, which was down considerably from 4.7 million in 2019. In 2021, nonetheless, visitation almost rebounded to pre-pandemic numbers. That’s as a result of 4.4 million folks visited Rocky Mountain final yr.
4. Grand Canyon Nationwide Park
Grand Canyon Nationwide Park is world well-known for its climbing, backpacking, and, as a result of magnificent vistas, images and sightseeing. There are additionally 277 miles of the Colorado River inside the park’s boundaries, so boating and rafting are additionally fashionable actions.
Within the pre-pandemic yr of 2019, 6 million folks visited the Grand Canyon. In 2020, that quantity fell to 2.9 million guests as a consequence of park closures. Whereas nonetheless under the 2019 quantity, visitation elevated noticeably in 2021 to 4.5 million.
3. Yellowstone Nationwide Park
Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone, the nation’s oldest nationwide park, is understood all over the world for thermal options such because the Outdated Devoted geyser, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, and wolves, bears, and different wildlife. The park, which was established on March 1, 1872, and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this yr, encompasses greater than 2.2 million acres and has greater than 900 miles of climbing trails.
Yellowstone is one other nationwide park that logged record-breaking attendance in 2021. That’s as a result of 4.9 million folks visited the park final yr.
2. Zion Nationwide Park
Zion Nationwide Park is well-known for mountain climbing, river journeys, and climbing trails as a result of it’s house to the 15-mile-long Zion Canyon. Two of the park’s most-popular climbing trails are the Narrows and Angels Touchdown — a 5.4-mile-long (one-way) path that has an elevation change of 1,488 toes and affords a view of the Zion Canyon 1,500 toes under.
In 2019, 4.5 million folks visited Zion. That quantity fell to three.6 million guests in 2020, but it surely skyrocketed to five million guests in 2021. That quantity, as you would possibly anticipate, set a brand new park attendance report.
1. Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park
Tennessee, North Carolina
Nice Smoky Mountains has been the most-visited U.S. nationwide park for a number of years in a row. In 2020, as an example, it was the most-visited U.S. nationwide park, with 12.1 million guests, which set a brand new attendance report. In 2021, Nice Smoky Mountains set one other attendance report as a result of 14.1 million folks visited the park. That makes it, as soon as once more, America’s most-visited nationwide park.
One of many causes the park receives so many guests is that it’s a simple drive from Atlanta, Charlotte, Asheville, Knoxville, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. Then once more, Nice Smoky Mountains additionally options greater than 800 miles of climbing trails, what the park calls “cascading waterfalls,” and greater than 500,000 acres of forest that’s house to all kinds of wildlife — together with roughly 1,500 black bears and greater than 1,500 flowering plant species.
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