Great Smoky Mountains is the Most Popular National Park

I love the Great Smoky Mountains and have lived near the park for many years. But, I didn't realize how popular it was.

Not only are the Smokies popular, they are extraordinarily popular!

According to statistics gathered by 538, the Great Smoky Mountains is the most popular park in the country.

The Smokies have nearly 10 million visitors every year since 1996: more than twice as many as the next most popular park:

popular-parks

Why are the Smokies so popular?

it's one of the few national parks that charge no fee, and it's near Interstate Highway 40. That makes it an accessible drive from big cities including Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky.

This is not a new phenomenon. The Smokies have been America's most popular park since the Second World War (the park was officially founded in the 1930's):

flowers-national-parks-4

I love the Smokies. You probably love the Smokies too. And it turns out that millions of other people do too.


Tags: Attractions

About the Author Steve Burge:
Steve Burge was the original founder of AppalachianTrail.com. He was a teacher for many years before starting a web development firm.
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Comments
Julie Mullis on Aug 25, 2016
The Blue Ridge Parkway is also a National Park Service unit that claims to be the most visited US national park. It typically gets between 20 and 22 million visitors per year. It charges no entrance fee either.
y3shuA imMANu3l on Nov 28, 2016
Current Time: 11/29/16 -AM
INFO -- 11/28/16

--Wildfire spreads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Air quality advisory is issued.

--Gatlinburg fire dept. asking residents to voluntarily evacuate due to wildfire.

--A fire near the Chimney Tops has grown from 10 to 500 acres due to extreme winds.

--Due to erratic winds and smoke cover, helicopters were not able to go up to make water drops.