GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — It was another year where the Smoky Mountains were brimming with millions of visitors. The national park covers 522,427 acres and is divided between East Tennessee and North Carolina.
The National Park Service has recorded its preliminary data for the estimated number of recreational visits to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last year, further enshrining the destination as the country’s most visited national park.
The current year data is subject to change, but for now, the Smokies had 12,968,950 recreation visits in 2022. The top two most popular months last year were July at 1,560,696 and October at 1,624,908.
The initial 2022 numbers haven’t touched the record-setting year that was 2021, when the Smokies saw more than 14 million visitors, setting an all-time record and recording GSMNP as the most-visited U.S. national park ever.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of recreational visits in 2022 to the Smokies:
January — 409,267
February — 536,592
March — 910,234
April — 1,014,878
May — 1,227,558
June — 1,486,757
July — 1,560,696
August — 1,266,172
September — 1,315,818
October — 1,624,908
November — 945,444
December — 670,626
Preliminary Total: 12,968,950
The National Park Service’s Stats Report Viewer states the data will be finalized by the end of the first quarter of the calendar year.
Prior to this year, the Smokies was one of a few national parks that did not charge an entrance fee; but 2022 was the final full year GSMNP charged nothing to enter or park within its boundaries. On March 1, 2023, the Smokies will launch its Park It Forward program, where parking tags or parking passes will be required for visitors to display on vehicles if they come to the park and stay or recreate for more than 15 minutes.
Park It Forward tag revenue will support operational costs for managing and improving services for visitors to the Smokies.