Even though the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee was the most visited U.S. national park in 2013, with 9.3 million visits, the Grand Canyon National Park had the highest increase in visitors from the previous year.
According to recent data from the National Park Service, last year, nearly 4.6 million visitors flocked the Grand Canyon South Rim and North Rim to tour Grand Canyon, up from the 4.4 million in 2012. The 16-day government shutdown in October has led to an overall decline for other National Park Services, reducing visitation by more than 5 million visitors who were not allowed to enter the parks during those two weeks.
According to National Park Service Director, Jonathan Jarvis, “the closures had a real impact on local businesses and communities that rely on the national parks as important drivers for their local economies.”
In total, more than 273.6 million visitors were recorded in 2013, a drop of 3 percent from 2012. National Parks had 282.8 million visits in 2012. As a whole, the visitation figure is down 9.1 million visits from the previous year.
Despite the overall decrease, the Grand Canyon National Park saw an increase in visitation. In New York City, the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy forced the closures of the Statue of Liberty for part of the year.
According to NPS, National Parks supported 243,000 jobs in 2012.
Here are the top 10 most visited national parks in 2013:
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 9,354,695
2. Grand Canyon National Park 4,564,840
3. Yosemite National Park 3,691,191
4. Yellowstone National Park 3,188,030
5. Olympic National Park 3,085,340
6. Rocky Mountain National Park 2,991,141
7. Zion National Park 2,807,387
8. Grand Teton NP 2,688,794
9. Acadia National Park 2,254,922
10. Glacier National Park 2,190,374
Source: National Park Service