Blog Post Jennifer Errick Feb 17, 2016

Visits to National Parks in 2015 Top 300 Million for the First Time

National parks saw their highest visitation ever in 2015, with more than 307 million recreational visits. This marks a nearly 5% increase from 2014.

People flocked to national parks in 2015 in greater numbers than ever before. Earlier today, the National Park Service certified that national parks had seen a record total of 307,247,252 recreational visits throughout the calendar year—a 4.9% increase from 2014 and the first time visits topped 300 million in a year.

Fifty-seven individual parks also broke their own annual visitation records, including Joshua Tree, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon.

As part of its announcement, the Park Service released the top 10 most-visited national park sites in the country. The first list below shows the most-visited places in all 400-plus sites in the park system. The second list shows the most popular sites out of the 59 places officially designated as “national parks” (versus national monuments, national historic sites, national recreation areas, and other designations).

Most-Visited Places in the National Park System

Park Site Number of Visitors
1. Blue Ridge Parkway 15,054,603
2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area 14,888,537
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 10,712,674
4. Lincoln Memorial 7,941,771
5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area 7,298,465
6. George Washington Memorial Parkway    7,286,463
7. Gateway National Recreation Area 6,392,565
8. Natchez Trace Parkway 5,785,812
9. Vietnam Veterans Memorial 5,597,077
10.    Grand Canyon National Park 5,520,736


Most-Visited National Parks

Park Site Number of Visitors
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park    10,712,674
2. Grand Canyon National Park 5,520,736
3. Rocky Mountain National Park 4,155,916
4. Yosemite National Park 4,150,217
5. Yellowstone National Park 4,097,710
6. Zion National Park 3,648,846
7. Olympic National Park 3,263,761
8. Grand Teton National Park 3,149,921
9. Acadia National Park 2,811,184
10.    Glacier National Park 2,366,056

For more information, visit the National Park Service website.

About the author

  • Jennifer Errick Managing Editor of Online Communications

    Jennifer co-produces NPCA's podcast, The Secret Lives of Parks, and writes and edits a wide variety of online content. She has won multiple awards for her audio storytelling.