Breaking News
More () »

This national park in Colorado among most popular in US last year

More than 4.3 million people visited Colorado's largest national park last year.

DENVER — Colorado's most popular national park was once again one of the most visited in the country in 2022.

Among national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park ranked fourth with just over 4.3 million visitors in 2022. It ranked 15th among all National Park Service (NPS) properties that also include national memorials, national recreation areas, national parkways and more.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, two popular destinations for Coloradans in neighboring Wyoming, attracted about 3.3 million and 2.8 million visitors respectively. Yellowstone was closed for part of last summer after historic floods.

In Colorado's western neighbor of Utah, Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks attracted about 4.7 million and 2.3 million respectively.

>Video above from December: Timed entry to return at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Credit: KUSA file

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee was the nation's most popular national park last year, drawing nearly 13 million visitors.

NPS said the 2022 Visitation Report shows that park attendance is rebounding toward pre-pandemic levels. There were nearly 312 million recreation visits recorded in 2022, compared with 297 million recreation visits in 2021, a year-over-year increase of about 5%.

In 2019, the last year not impacted by the COVID pandemic, NPS recorded more than 327 million recreation visits.

Top 15 national parks in 2022 ranked by number of visitors

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee - 12,937,633
  2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - 4,732,101
  3. Zion National Park, Utah - 4,692,417
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - 4,300,424
  5. Acadia National Park, Maine - 3,970,260 
  6. Yosemite National Park, California - 3,667,550 
  7. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming - 3,290,242 
  8. Joshua Tree National Park, California - 3,058,294
  9. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio - 2,913,312 
  10. Glacier National Park, Montana - 2,908,458
  11. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana - 2,834,180
  12. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming - 2,806,223
  13. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas - 2,646,133 
  14. Olympic National Park, Washington - 2,432,972
  15. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah - 2,354,660 
Credit: AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File
In this Aug. 3, 2016, photo, a herd of bison grazes in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park in Wyo.

The three other national parks in Colorado each drew hundreds of thousands of visitors last year:

  • Mesa Verde National Park, Montezuma County - 499,790 (117th in visitors among all NPS properties)
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preservation,
    Alamosa and Saguache counties  - 493,428 (118th)
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Montrose County -  297,257 (156th)
Credit: stock.adobe.com

There were also a few national monuments in the Centennial State that made the list:

  • Colorado National Monument, Mesa County  - 480,442 (120th in visitors among all NPS properties) 
  • Dinosaur National Monument, Moffat County - 351,019 (143rd)
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Teller County - 67,174 (251st)
  • Hovenweep National Monument, Montezuma County - 28,446 (309th)

> Watch 9NEWS original shows, live Colorado news and weather updates, daily forecasts, and sports coverage for free on the 9NEWS+ app on Roku and Fire TV.  


Watch more from 9NEWS on the free 9NEWS+ app for Roku and Fire TV.      

9NEWS+ has multiple live daily shows including 9NEWS Mornings, Next with Kyle Clark and 9NEWS+ Daily, an original streaming program. 9NEWS+ is where you can watch live breaking news, weather updates, and press conferences. You can also replay recent newscasts and find videos on demand of our top stories, local politics, investigations and Colorado specific features.      

To download 9NEWS+ on Roku search for KUSA.       

To download 9NEWS+ on Fire TV search for 9NEWS.     

RELATED: Watch 9NEWS for free on ROKU, Apple TV, Fire TV 

Before You Leave, Check This Out