The most visited national park in the U.S. is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Straddling Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains were chartered as a national park by U.S. Congress in 1934 and now welcome around 10.7 million visitors per year. The mountains range from 876 feet to 6,643 feet and are home to an abundance of animal and plant species due to their varied climate. The park is popular among hikers, another favorite outdoor activity in which around 37 million Americans participate annually. Other most visited national parks include the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the first national park in the U.S., Yellowstone, which was established in 1872.
National park tourism benefits both the national and local economies. In 2015, national park visitor spending reached over 16 billion U.S. dollars – around one third of this was spent on accommodation and one fifth in restaurants and bars.