Special Report

Largest and Smallest National Parks in America

For over a century, America has set aside tens of millions of acres for people to enjoy through the National Park Service. Each year, hundreds of millions of visitors  — both Americans and international — flock to these parks. 

The National Parks offer something for everyone — from beaches to forest hikes as well as human-made monuments, scenic lakes, towering mountains, spectacular canyons, and more. These parks stretch over more than 52 million acres. Some are millions of acres, while others are just a few thousand.

To determine the largest and smallest national parks, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the National Park Service Land Resources Division’s Listing of Acreage report for 2020. Only national parks were considered and were ranked on their gross area acres.

Many of the largest national parks are found in Alaska, which is by far the largest U.S. state by landmass. Western states like Utah, Washington, and California are also home to several parks that combine to cover millions of acres of land.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many national parks and other recreational areas run by the National Park Service were temporarily closed. National park site visits dropped by more than 90 million to 237 million visits in 2020 — the lowest level since 1980. Still, many parks welcomed millions of visitors. These are the most visited national parks in 2020.

Click here to see the largest and smallest national parks in the US

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