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Zion ranked 4th most visited national park, as Utah ranks in top 20

In a year that nearly decimated travel plans, Americans hit the roads to visit their favorite national parks. Near the top of the list: Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah. (Zion National Park)

SALT LAKE CITY — In a year that nearly decimated travel plans, Americans hit the roads and made Zion a most visited national park during 2020. According to a new report from the National Parks Service (NPS), Zion National Park is the 4th most visited national park in the country. 

The same report showed Utah ranked as the 13th best state for national park trips. 

“This enormous amount of tourism and travel helps to support many ‘gateway towns,'” the NPS said in a statement. “Money spent by tourists at hotels and motels, restaurants, and gas stations is often the lifeblood of these small economies.”

However, the NPS reported a 25% decline in park visits, which may have an impact on surrounding communities and economies. 

This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted travel plans, particularly air travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported 15,208,132 travelers so far in December compared to 44,592,787 travelers in the same time period in 2019. 

That’s roughly a 66% decline, causing significant financial burdens. 

As Americans avoid air travel — largely in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus — many are hitting the roads. An analysis from the NPS found that 15,285,200 annually visit parks in Utah, bringing in about $1.8 million every year.