The United States is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful scenery in the US. We are lucky enough to have lots of this land protected in the form of wilderness areas, state parks, and national parks. Here are the top 10 US national parks ranked by popularity. All data was taken from Far and Wide.
#10 – Glacier National Park, Montana
2018 visitors: 2,965,309
Total acreage: 1,013,322 acres
Glacier National Park, in the Rocky Mountains of North America, is in northern Montana, right up against the Canadian border. With towering mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and diverse wildlife including bears, moose, and elk, Glacier is one of the most attractive national parks for wildlife lovers and mountain enthusiasts alike. With 26 glaciers, the park certainly lives up to its name.
#9 – Olympic National Park, Washington
2018 visitors: 3,104,455
Total acreage: 922,880
Olympic National Park is one of the most diverse parks in America. Sprawling beaches, towering old-growth forests, and jagged alpine peaks are what make Olympic so special. With over 1,200 native plant taxa, 20 reptile and amphibian species, 37 native fish species, 300 bird species, 56 mammal species, including 24 marine mammal species, 22 species listed as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, Olympic National Park is truly a flora and fauna paradise.
#8 – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
2018 visitors: 3,491,151
Total acreage: 23,700
Despite its small size, GTNP packs a bang for its buck. Situated in the world-famous Teton range of Wyoming and Idaho, Grand Teton is one of the most accessible parks, with nearby Jackson Hole Airport servicing flights from 12 major cities across the US. The Grand Teton, at 13,775 feet, is the crown jewel of the park, although there are several other peaks exceeding 12,000 feet in elevation.
#7 – Acadia National Park, Maine
2018 visitors: 3,537,575
Total acreage: 49,052
Acadia is home to over 40 miles of stunning rocky headlands along the Atlantic coastline of the US. An abundance of wildlife, landscape, and cultural history makes Acadia a great destination for anyone.
#6 – Yosemite National Park, California
2018 visitors: 4,009,436
Total acreage: 748,160
Surprisingly low on the list coming in at #6, Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most visually stunning scenery in the world. Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls are just a few of the hundreds of stunning features located around the park. Home to towering peaks, sprawling meadows, and babbling brooks, Yosemite is one of the most beautiful parks in America. The close vicinity to Mammoth Lakes makes this a very accessible park to millions of visitors every year.
#5 – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho
2018 visitors: 4,115,000
Total acreage: 2,221,766
Ever since Yellowstone, America’s very first National Park, began reeling in visitors from all across the country in 1872, it has continued to do so. With over 4 million visitors per year, Yellowstone makes the top 5 most visited parks. Visitors flock to the park to see Yellowstone’s vast plains, rich wildlife, and world famous geysers.
#4 – Zion National Park, Utah
2018 visitors: 4,320,033
Total acreage: 146,624
Zion National Park resides in Utah, one of the richest states in national parks. Utah is home to 5 national parks, only short of California with 9 and Alaska with 8. Zion is home to stunning desert rock features, with incredible hikes such as the world-famous Angel’s Landing hike.
#3 – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
2018 visitors: 4,590,493
Total acreage: 265,769
Rocky Mountain National Park, located along the Rocky Mountain continental divide of North America, is home to some of the most stunning mountains in the US. Popular activities in RMNP include hiking, climbing, swimming in alpine lakes, and camping.
#2 – Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
2018 visitors: 6,380,495
Total acreage: 1,218,375
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visually astounding canyons in the world. The canyon, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is 277 miles long. The canyon shows millions of years of erosion caused by the Colorado River, creating a stunning layer cake like pattern on the canyon walls, which extend over 6,000 feet down from the canyon rim.
#1 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee
2018 visitors: 11,421,200
Total acreage: 522,427
Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts a whopping 11.5 million visitors per year. This is mostly due to the park’s accessibility from large cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Asheville, Knoxville, and Nashville. The park features stunning forests, rolling hills, and winding creeks.