Did You Know These National Parks Facts?

To celebrate the open spaces, trails and overall beauty that our national parks provide, this week is National Parks Week. Free admission and special events help mark this celebration of one of our nation's best ideas.

We thought we'd share some facts about national parks so you can impress your friends and get excited to explore some of this country's most pristine areas. Take a look at these extremes about the United States' national parks

Most Visited National Park

Our nation's most visited national park is Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. With over 10 million visitors in 2015, this national park consistently comes out on top. Great Smoky Mountains had twice as many visitors in 2015 as the second most visited park, Grand Canyon National Park, which saw 5 million people that year.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photo by Miguel Vieira

Least Visited National Park

If you're looking to avoid the crowds, try a park that doesn't have any roads or trails: Alaska's Gates of the Arctic National Park. This national park, which is located north of the Arctic Circle, saw just over 12,000 visitors in 2014.

Largest National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the largest national park in the United States, boasting 13.2 million acres of ocean, mountains, volcanoes and wildlife. The sheer massiveness of this park might make it another good choice if you're looking to avoid crowds.

Smallest National Park

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the smallest national park in the United States, with just under 650 acres to explore. (Discover secluded hikes in Hot Springs National Park.)

Hot Springs National Park Arkansas Photo by Justin Fricke

State with the Most National Parks

California has the most national parks in the United States with a grand total of nine. Alaska is next with eight national parks. To round out the top five (seven, actually, due to ties), Utah is next in line with five national parks, followed by Colorado with four, and Washington, Florida and Arizona, each of which have three.

Oldest National Park

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park to be established in the United States, with a birthday of March 1, 1872. You have Ulysses S. Grant to thank for signing the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act and kicking off a slew of government protected lands. (Discover 5 Things to Do in Yellowstone.)

Yellowstone Spring Break

Newest National Park

The most recently added national park is Pinnacles National Park in California, which was established in 2013. This park has a number of unique features molded by volcanic eruptions, including woodlands, canyons, meadows and rock spires.

Hottest National Park

It shouldn't be a surprise that California's Death Valley is the hottest national park -- it's the hottest place on earth. A record temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded here in July of 1913. Aside from being hot, Death Valley National Park is also the driest place in North America. (Discover 5 must-see spots in Death Valley.)

death valley national park Photo by Josh McNair

Coldest National Park

Alaska's national parks take the cake when it comes to extreme colds, with Danali National Park's Danali mountain reaching an unofficial record low of minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit in 2003. While extremes like this are common in Alaska, Montana's portion of Yellowstone National Park sees the most consistently cold weather, with an average January high hovering around 9 degrees Fahrenheit. (Discover 5 reasons to visit Yellowstone in the winter.)

National Park with the Highest Point

Danali National Park in Alaska has the highest peak of all 59 national parks. The park's Denali peak rises 20,310 feet above sea level, which is the highest mountain peak in North America.

National Park with the Lowest Point

Florida's Biscayne National Park has the lowest overall elevation, with Totten Key and Old Rhodes Key rising a mere nine feet above sea level. But Death Valley National Park's Badwater Basin in California is North America's lowest point, standing 282 feet below sea level.

Did you learn anything new? What national parks facts do you find interesting?
posted by
Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
Comments (3)
4/20/2016 at 6:23 PM
California has 9 national parks. 7 new national parks were added in 2015. Lassen Volcanic National Park is the only national park in the US with all 4 types of volcanoes within its borders
4/25/2016 at 8:14 AM
Death valley has the lowest point of any national park in Badwater Basin more than a couple hundred feet below sea level
4/16/2017 at 12:31 AM
I have to agree with Mike, Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level.
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