America’s Most-Visited National Parks for 2016

As a brutal and difficult 2016 ends and the days of 2017 become a reality, we are taking one last look back at and celebrating an awesome year for America’s National Parks. In 2016, over 80 million people visited one of America’s 59 National Parks on the centennial of their creation. All across the country, millions of people explored America’s best idea, all looking to reconnect to someplace wild, beautiful and soul soothing. From the Smoky Mountains to the desserts of Joshua Tree and everywhere in between, the following areas encouraged and inspired future generations to connect and protect these beautiful destinations. 

All year long, Americans were encouraged to get outside, #FindYourPark and explore the majesty and breathtaking vistas, trails and drives in our National Parks. While the popularity of the parks caused a few problems here and there, the vast majority of visitors took only pictures and left only with inspiring and warm memories from the great outdoors. The visitation numbers are encouraging, giving us hope that these lands will continue to be protected and enjoyed, no matter who is the President or your member of Congress. However, we must remain vigilant to ensure that these areas are protected for future generations, so contact your member of Congress and tell them to keep our public lands public and fully funded.

2016 was an amazing year to get outside and explore America’s National Parks. In the entire National Park System, 330,971,689 visited a park, historic site and protected Public Land. Hopefully, you were one of the millions who got out and experience them. Please keep in mind that the following list is the official number of visitors to the National Parks in 2016. Without any more of a delay, here are America’s Top 11 most-visited National Parks for 2016.

AMERICA’S 11 MOST-VISITED NATIONAL PARKS OF 2016

Great Smoky Mountains. Image by Bruce Tuten
Great Smoky Mountains. Image by Bruce Tuten

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

2016 Attendance: 11,312,786

2015 Rank: #1

2015 Attendance: 10.7 million


A Rainbow over the Grand Canyon. Image via NPS
A Rainbow over the Grand Canyon. Image via NPS

Grand Canyon National Park

2016 Attendance: 5,969,811

2015 Rank: #2

2015 Attendance: 5.5 million


Yosemite National Park. Image via edward stojakovic
Yosemite National Park. Image via edward stojakovic

Yosemite National Park

2016 Attendance: 5,028,868

2015 Rank: #4

2015 Attendance: 4.1 million


Rocky Mountain National Park. Image via DaveTBear
Rocky Mountain National Park. Image via DaveTBear

Rocky Mountain National Park

2016 Attendance: 4,517,585

2015 Rank: #3

2015 Attendance: 4.1 million


Zion National Park. Image via John Fowler
Zion National Park. Image via John Fowler

Zion National Park

2016 Attendance: 4,295,127

2015 Rank: #6

2015 Attendance: 3.6 million


Sunset at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park
Sunset at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

2016 Attendance: 4,257,177

2015 Rank: #5

2015 Attendance: 4.1 million


Ruby Beach rocks. Olympic National Park's Kalaloch Region
Ruby Beach rocks. Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch Region

Olympic National Park

2016 Attendance: 3,390,221

2015 Rank: #7

2015 Attendance: 3.3 million


Acadia National Park. Image via Dave Wilson
Acadia National Park. Image via Dave Wilson

Acadia National Park

2016 Attendance: 3,303,393

2015 Rank: #9

2015 Attendance: 2.8 million


Jenny Lake Reflection at grand Teton National Park. Image via Kim Seng
Jenny Lake Reflection at grand Teton National Park. Image via Kim Seng

Grand Teton National Park

2016 Attendance: 3,270,076

2015 Rank: #8

2015 Attendance: 3.1 million


GlacierNPS Mt Oberlin - NPS / Tim Rains
GlacierNPS Mt Oberlin – NPS / Tim Rains

Glacier National Park

2016 Attendance: 2,946,681

2015 Rank: #10

2015 Attendance: 2.7 million


Joshua Tree National Park Clouds, Light, Cholla NPS/Kurt Moses
Joshua Tree National Park
Clouds, Light, Cholla
NPS/Kurt Moses

Joshua Tree National Park

2016 Attendance: 2,505,286

2015 Rank: #12

2015 Attendance: 2 million


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