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Blue Ridge Parkway Falls From Top Of Most Visited Parks List

The Blue Ridge Parkway has lost its spot atop the rankings of the most visited national parks.
National Park Service
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The Blue Ridge Parkway has lost its spot atop the rankings of the most visited national parks.

Newly released National Park Service data show Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco overtook the popular western North Carolina destination in 2018. The parkway, which runs more than 450 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, recorded 14.7 million visitors, an 8.8 percent decline from 2017.

Western North Carolina was subject to record rainfall last year, which could account for the dip. The parkway was shut down in September and January because of heavy rains and in April and December for snow.

Parkway spokeswoman Leesa Brandon noted that 2018's visitor tally was still significant. Indeed, it was still the second most visited national park, and the Great Smoky Mountains was third.

Annual visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway
Credit National Park Service
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Annual visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway

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