The Most Popular Parks In The USA, 2016

If you’re planning to hit a state or national park this summer, you won’t be alone. Unless, of course, you decide to visit **Kobuk Valley National Park,** just above the **Arctic Circle** in **Northern Alaska**. I guess the wildlife there is pretty happy they won’t have to deal with any pesky tourists now–or maybe ever. But just maybe there will be that **one** person who wants to get Facebook Likes and will try to make the trek there, just to be the first to take a selfie.

Far more popular are **Grand Canyon National Park**, which gets around 5 million visitors every summer, and **Yosemite, Olympic** and **Yellowstone National Park** rounding out the top 5.

And the number one park destination in America? Far and away, it’s **Great Smoky Mountains National Park **in Tennessee and North Carolina. It’s averaged almost 10 million visitors a year since 1996, making Smokey The Bear unimaginably happy.

And here’s some happy news for hikers:
For more than 50 years, we in SoCal  have dreamed of following an uninterrupted route among the sycamore canyons and sandstone peaks of the **Santa Monica Mountains.** Soon, decades of work will culminate with the completion of the famed **Backbone Trail,** made possible by a final donation of needed land. When it’s finished, walkers, hikers and bikers will be able to enjoy 67 miles of lovely trails from Will Rogers State Park to Point Mugu State Park! Many believe the Backbone Trail is as iconic as the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada and the Appalachian Trail in the East.

The National Park Service will commemorate completion of the trail at a ceremony at Will Rogers state park on **National Trails Day, June 4. **There’s your tax dollars at work! Now if we could only get a zipline at poor, lonely Kobuk Valley National Park….

More from Deborah Howell

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