America’s National Park System has been called “America’s Best Idea” (Source).

What is the first U.S. National Park that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “National Park”? For me it is Yosemite National Park. But, maybe that’s a sign of my prejudice given the fact that it is in my home state of California.

Let me ask the question differently. What do you think the most popular U.S. National Park is? I’m talking about which one gets visited the most.

What would your answer be? Grand Canyon? Yellowstone? Grand Teton? Yosemite? Well, actually it’s none of these.

With more than 9 million visitors in 2006, the most popular National Park in the U.S. is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Was that a surprise to you? It was to me.

Grand Canyon National Park comes in second with less than half the number of visitors compared to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Yosemite National Park is in third place and Rocky Mountain National Park takes fourth place.

Please understand that the statistics underlying these rankings date back to 2006. I couldn’t find any more recent statistics, but these serve well to make the point that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a very popular place.

I hope you have plans to visit a National Park soon, in the U.S., in Canada or in another country. Such a visit can be good for the soul.

Here is the site where I got my National Parks statistics.


National Parks Entrance for Free

Get outdoor equipment at