Jun 30, 2022 - News

National parks bring in billions of dollars to Utah's economy

A hiker rounds a quiet corner of Utah's popular and moneymaking Zion National Park. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Utah gets more cash, jobs and visitors from national parks than almost any other state.

Driving the news: Utah's parks generate more than $2 billion in economic activity, according to data released this month by the National Park Service.

  • Utah is ranked No. 3 for park-related economic activity, behind only California and North Carolina.
  • Visitors to our parks spent about $1.6 billion, with another $800 million in income from 22,900 jobs supported by the parks.

Utah's most visited (and most lucrative) park is Zion, whose 5 million visits were topped only by Great Smoky Mountains' 14 million — at least among the 63 formal national parks.

  • There are hundreds of sites nationwide that are operated by the National Parks Service; the most visited nationally is the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia.
  • Glen Canyon is Utah's second most visited NPS site, with visitors directly spending more than $332 million in Utah and Arizona — more than even Colorado's popular Rocky Mountain National Park.

By the numbers: There were 15.8 million visits to Utah's parks in 2021.

  • With 2.1 million visits generating $252 million, Bryce Canyon was Utah's third most-visited NPS site.
  • But Arches brought more money to the state than Bryce, with an economic impact of $294 million from the park's 1.8 million visitors.

Yes, but: The popularity of Utah's national parks has taken a toll on facilities and visitor access.

  • Arches now requires a reservation to enter the park from April to October.
  • Visitors must enter a lottery for a pass to hike to Zion’s iconic Angel's Landing.

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