18 National Parks that Tourists Have Overrun

In 2021, the National Park Service hosted nearly 300 million visits, spanning monuments, historical sites, and traditional parks. These parks are beloved by both locals and travelers. However, their popularity has led to overcrowding. It turns visits into bustling experiences reminiscent of navigating a crowded mall during the holidays.

Rocky Mountain National Park

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With 4.12 million visitors in 2023, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park attracted nature enthusiasts. Visitors were eager to explore its majestic peaks, lakes, meadows, and diverse wildlife. Because of its increasing popularity, you can expect a surge of tourists crowding its scenic trails, particularly during the summer months.

Grand Canyon National Park

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As the second most visited national park, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona welcomed 4.7 million visitors last year. Most flock to the south rim, resulting in overwhelming crowds vying for a glimpse of the natural wonder. To escape the crowd, you can consider venturing to the quieter north rim and less traveled areas.

Arches National Park

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Arches National Park in Utah is a haven for photographers. The park witnessed over 1.5 million visitors in 2022. However, its popularity means crowded conditions, especially during sunrise and sunset. This is when countless photographers wait for the perfect shot of its iconic arches.

Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone, America’s inaugural National Park remains a must-visit destination. It attracted over 4.5 million visitors in 2023 with its geothermal wonders and abundant wildlife. Yet, the park’s main attractions, like Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring draw significant crowds, making solitude a rare commodity.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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With a staggering 13.29 million visitors last year, Great Smoky Mountains National Park earned its title as the most visited national park. Despite its breathtaking views, the park’s trails can be overwhelmed by crowds. It can become challenging even for the most experienced explorers.

Haleakala National Park

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Haleakala National Park is located in Maui, Hawaii. The highest peak in this county offers a mesmerizing view of sunrise. However, the park’s popularity has led to overcrowding issues. This requires the implementation of a reservation system for sunrise viewing.

Olympic National Park

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Olympic National Park showcases the Splendor of the Pacific Northwest with its diverse landscapes. It has nearly 2.94 million visitors in 2023. Due to this popularity during the summer months, the trails can be congested and distract you from the serenity of the experience.

Glacier Bay National Park

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Glacier Bay National Park faces overcrowding not from hordes of visitors but from the influx of cruise ships during Alaska’s summer cruise season. The park’s tranquility is disrupted by the presence of these massive vessels.

Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite National Park, though beloved in California, has become increasingly crowded during the summer month. It resulted in 3.9 million visitors last year. Visitors have to wait for long lines and face parking problems. To alleviate congestion, the park now requires time entry permits and offers a more enjoyable experience for all.

Zion National Park

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Zion National Park in Utah followed closely behind Rocky Mountain National Park with 4.6 million visitors in 2023. This park is a magnet for adventure seekers. It offers iconic hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows, along with thrilling Mountain biking routes. Despite shuttle services aiming to reduce congestion, arriving before 9 a.m. is essential to secure parking.

Redwood National Park

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Redwood National Park situated in California now requires reservations for popular hiking and parking spots. However, the park does not have any entry fees yet. To access most-visited areas like the Tall Trees trail, visitors must book online up to 180 days in advance. They must obtain permits available for 4 or 8-hour slots.

Acadia National Park

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Acadia National Park, situated in the northeastern corner of the US saw 3.8 million visitors in 2023. Its ocean views and trails attract millions yearly. Despite its remote location, it ranked 7th in visitation last year. This led to the park’s overcrowding, especially at famous viewpoints like Cadillac Mountain.

Mt. Rainier National Park

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Mt. Rainier National Park is a cherished national park located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. The park’s popularity led to over 1.67 million visitors in 2023, with particularly bustling crowds on the weekends. As cars snake through backups and hopeful visitors contend with limited parking, the park strives to maintain accessibility while safeguarding its delicate ecosystem.

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park experienced over 2.4 million visitors last year. This park is renowned for its breathtaking Canyon views and hiking trails. You can expect crowds at popular spots like the Navajo Loop and Wall Street. You need to arrive early at the location to beat the rush.

Glacier National Park

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Montana’s Glacier National Park has introduced a reservation system for high-traffic areas. This includes areas like the Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor and the North Fork due to increasing crowds during summer. You need to secure spots to manage congestion efficiently

Lincoln Memorial National Park

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Lincoln Memorial National Park in Washington, D.C, is a testament to American history. This place draws crowds of history enthusiasts as well as curious visitors alike. With its grandeur and significance, this national park welcomed 8.09 million visitors in 2023 seeking to connect with the legacy of one of America’s most iconic leaders. The memorial’s enduring presence symbolizes the impact of Abraham Lincoln’s ideals. It continues to inspire visitors from across the nation and beyond.

Shenandoah National Park

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Shenandoah National Park in Virginia wrestles with the downside of its popularity. It has led to overcrowding which affects its once serene trails and scenic spots. This has led to the park implementing a ticketing system to balance accessibility and preserving the park’s natural beauty.

Grand Teton National Park

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Grand Teton National Park Is situated near Yellowstone’s wonders. It promises awe-inspiring panoramas and wildlife encounters which led to over 3 million visitors last year. The park’s allure has led to congested parking areas and traffic problems. This has complicated visitors’ journeys despite the best efforts of vigilant park ranges to ensure a seamless experience.

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