Breaking News
More () »

GSMNP welcomes more than 11 million visitors in 2017

A record of 11,338,894 people visited The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2017.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has said a record of 11,338,894 people visited the national park in 2017.

That number is a slight increase of 0.2% over the year before, according to park officials. There were 11,312,786 visitors in 2016.

MORE: 2016 | Great Smoky Mountains National Park has regrown

The park said it saw the highest visitation in July which was followed by October and June.

The park credited the record to its largest special event in park history: the Great American Total Solar Eclipse.

"Over 15,600 people attended eclipse events offered at Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and Sugarlands Visitor Center," the park said in a release.

According to the GSMNP, over 47,000 visitors entered the park from the four main entrances to view the eclipse on Aug. 21, marking a 64% increase in visitation for that day over 2016.

The park said visitors spent nearly 400,000 nights camping in the park and while that's slightly down from 2016, it's above the 5-year average.

The park offers 9 front country campgrounds and 100 backcountry campsites for visitors to enjoy across the park.

"We strive each year to provide exceptional services to the visitors who come to enjoy the Smokies," said Superintendent Cassius Cash. "With increasing visitation across seasons, this does not come without challenges. I am proud of the employees who work hard each day to meet these challenges, along with the support of our volunteers and partners who collectively help us care for this incredibly special place."