By the Numbers
Often called “America’s best idea,” national parks preserve some of our country’s most stunning natural beauty. For more than a century, countless visitors have felt wonder as they’ve explored these unique sites. Learn more about our national park treasures here.
The year the world’s first national park was created.
President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law in 1872. Some of our current national parks existed before Yellowstone, including Hot Springs in Arkansas and Yosemite in California, but weren’t designated as national parks until later.
Total acres included in the national park sites.
National park sites are located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as US territories. The newest site—the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virigina—was added to the system in 2021. It runs along 53 miles of the New River and includes more than 70,000 acres of a beautiful wooded gorge.
Sources: nps.gov/aboutus/national-park-system.htm and
The number of national park sites in the United States.
While the National Park System (NPS) includes 424 national park sites, only 63 are designated as national parks. Other locations fall into more than 19 other categories, such as national historic sites, national monuments, national seashores, and national recreation areas.
The estimated number of visits made to National Park Service sites in 2022.
That number was up 5 percent, or 15 million visits, from 2021. The NPS reports that 26 percent of those visits occurred in the country’s eight most visited parks and that 12 parks saw record visits in 2022. The park service also noted that more than 13.25 million overnight stays occurred during the year.
The price of entrance per vehicle to national parks and national monuments.
The cost of entrance to national parks varies by park; per-person fees are also available and range from $3 to $15 depending on the park. In addition, a variety of multiuse passes are available. Some people—such as senior adults, members of the military, or individuals with permanent disabilities—can qualify for discounted or free access passes.
Sources: utah.com/destinations/national-parks/national-park-fees-regulations-and-reservations and nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm
The number of national parks in Utah.
Only California and Alaska have more national parks. As added advantages, Utah has 11 additional national monuments, historic sites, and recreation areas, and visitors have less distance to cover when they visit multiple parks than they would in California and Alaska.