A few years ago W and I went on a long roadtrip. We started in Bozeman and drove all the way down to Las Vegas, with a stop in the desert, in Canyonlands and Island in the sky. I think our route looked something like this:
Canyonlands, Island in the Sky
The best time to go was of course when no one else goes, January. It just happened to be the coldest January in years in the desert, we were the only people sleeping in Canyonlands, at least based on the 0 other cars at our camping spot, and the lack of gear in other peoples cars. Temperatures dropped down to 20 below during part of our trip and we decided to sleep in the car instead of in the tent, which probably was a bad idea. I think the metal in the car leads and stores the cold air a lot more than just a plain tent. I had my warmest sleeping bag and I still was freezing. It is unbelievable that literally no one else were hiking where we were.
National Parks are becoming Popular
In January 2013 when we were camping in Island in the sky (that is a part of Canyonlands), the total number of campers, in a tent, was 90 (in all of Canyonlands). The total number of visitors was only 3617 (only 2700 in Island in the sky). In May 2013 the total visits that year was 75000 (51000 in Island in the sky), so quite a few more during peak season. The last few years the number of people that are visiting national parks in the US has sky rocketed! But the people that are representing that increase in visitors are retired white folks, so not an increase in younger visitors, which I would have thought. Total number of visitors in May 2016 to Canyonlands was at 128000, a lot more than in 2013, and in January this year (2017) they had 7400 visitors, but still only 147 people sleeping in a tent. Can you guess which national park in the US has the most visitors? I can give you one clue, which may or may not help. I have never been to that national park. You can read the answer at the bottom of this page :)
So, what national park receives the most recreational visitors? Well the answer is, Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It received a whopping 11 MILLION visitors in 2016. Yellowstone National Park only received 4 million visitors and Denali? A little over half a million.
Are you going to visit any of these national parks this year?