Golden Gate NRA is the Most Visited National Park System in the U.S.

As the National Park released its annual visitation numbers, San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area regained its top spot as the most visited National Park System in the United States.

The Golden Gate NRA, which includes Muir Woods, Alcatraz and Chrissy Field, was visited by a whopping 15.2 million visitors in 2018. The park system beat out the Blue Ridge Parkway (Appalachian Mountains), which received 14.8 million visitors. The two park systems have traded the top spot on the list since 1978.

Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument.

Meanwhile, Yosemite National Park was the sixth most visited National Park in 2018 with a little over 4 million visitors. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee) maintained the top spot with 11.4 million visitors.

Nationally, the park service reported 318.2 million visits in 2018, the third highest total since record keeping began in 1904.

“America’s national parks are national treasures that tell the story of our nation and celebrate its beauty, history and culture,” Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement. “I am pleased that so many Americans and visitors from around the world continue to take advantage of the affordable and accessible recreational opportunities provided by these sites.”

Golden Gate NRA’s top spot is of no surprise as these bayside attractions remain a top destination for people visiting from around the world to San Francisco. Crowds have become so immense that you now have to acquire a parking permit in advance to visit Muir Woods and Alcatraz tickets hard to acquire unless they’re purchased months out.

Most Visited – All Parks in the National Park System

  1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area – 15,223,697 visitors 
  2. Blue Ridge Parkway – 14,690,418
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 11,421,200
  4. Gateway National Recreation Area – 9,243,305
  5. Lincoln Memorial – 7,804,683
  6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area – 7,578,958
  7. George Washington Memorial Parkway – 7,288,623
  8. Grand Canyon National Park – 6,380,495
  9. Natchez Trace Parkway – 6,362,439
  10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial – 4,719,148

Most Visited – National Parks

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 11,421,200 visitors
  2. Grand Canyon National Park – 6,380,495
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park – 4,590,493
  4. Zion National Park – 4,320,033
  5. Yellowstone National Park – 4,115,000
  6. Yosemite National Park – 4,009,436
  7. Acadia National Park – 3,537,575
  8. Grand Teton National Park – 3,491,151
  9. Olympic National Park – 3,104,455
  10. Glacier National Park – 2,965,309

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