Park visitation rises in 2018 with New Foothills Parkway

by Feb 21, 2019NEWS ka-no-he-da


Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed a record 11,421,203 visitors in 2018. The 0.7 percent increase over 2017 is due to the opening of the new section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley in November. In just two months, nearly 200,000 visitors experienced this new Park opportunity which resulted in record-setting visitation in both November and December.

“The new section of the Foothills Parkway is a spectacular scenic driving destination and we’re pleased that so many people have already enjoyed it,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We hope that people take the time to explore it across the seasons.”

Park visitation across the park remained relatively stable as compared to 2017 with the highest visitation in July, followed by June and then October. Monthly visitation records were set during June, September, November, and December. Visitors spent nearly 400,000 nights camping in the park which was down 3 percent from 2017, but within the 5-year average. The Park offers nine front country campgrounds and 100 backcountry campsites for visitors to enjoy across the Park.

For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at

– National Park Service release