Avoid These 10 National Parks In 2024 If You Don’t Like Crowds

The US offers over 400 national park sites within its borders, many of which make for some of the most popular scenic places to explore.

While you expect to deal with crowds in the United States’ most beautiful locations, some parks get much more crowded than others.

In this guide, we’ll detail the ten most crowded national parks in the US by number of visits last year.

1) Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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With 13,297,647 visits, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is America’s most visited national park, offering lush forests, abundant wildlife, and ancient mountains. 

Explore over 800 miles of trails, historic buildings, and stunning fall foliage…with plenty of your friends.

2) Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is one of the most beautiful in the US, but also the second-most visited with 4,733,705 visits in 2023.

The park is vast and you can do a little bit of everything here including hiking, rafting and viewing the breathtaking vistas.

So there’s room to spread out, but good luck finding any privacy at the most popular overlooks and locations during peak months.

3) Zion National Park

Credit: Zion National Park

Zion National Park in Utah comes in at number three with 4,623,238 visitors last year.

It’s one of the most epic national parks you can visit, with landmarks like the Narrows and Angel’s Landing offering incredible experiences.

But it’s packed most days during the warm months, and even during the colder months you’ll find plenty of other people here.

4) Yellowstone National Park

With 4,501,382 visits, Yellowstone National Park is known for its geothermal features, like Old Faithful, stunning landscapes, and diverse wildlife. 

And America’s first national park clocks in as its fourth most-crowded, with folks flocking to its beautiful location among Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

5) Rocky Mountain National Park

Credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is fifth with 4,115,837 visitors flocking to see its majestic mountains, alpine lakes, and diverse wildlife in 2023.

It offers year-round outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to snowshoeing and stargazing.

6) Yosemite National Park

Famous for its giant sequoias, breathtaking waterfalls, and granite cliffs, Yosemite National Park in California welcomed 3,897,070 visitors in 2023.

A paradise for climbers, hikers, and nature lovers…many would say Yosemite’s natural beauty is unmatched.  But that leads to quite a few people wanting to explore it.

7) Acadia National Park 

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With 3,879,890 visits, Maine’s Acadia National Park is known for its rugged coastline, woodland trails, and Cadillac Mountain sunrises. 

It’s one of the most unique national parks in the US, offering a mix of ocean, mountain and forest experiences…which lends to its popularity.

Running through the park, Acadia Loop Road offers one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the US.

8) Grand Teton National Park

At number eight, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming attracted 3,417,106 visitors last year.

With its stunning mountain range, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife, lots of folks flock here to get their fix of hiking, mountaineering and viewing the wildlife in the area.

9) Joshua Tree National Park

Credit: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park in California saw the ninth-most visits last year, at 3,207,404 people.

Being the only national park like it in the US, its unique desert landscape, fascinating rock formations and iconic Joshua trees lure people from all over the world.

10) Olympic National Park 

At number ten, Olympic National Park in Washington drew 2,947,503 visitors in 2023.

The masses come here to view the park’s diverse ecosystems, from rainforests to incredible mountain ranges to the beautiful Pacific coastline.

A drive on the Olympic Loop is one of the most beautiful drives in the Pacific Northwest.