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Visits to Alaska National Parks Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels

Mar 5, 2024 | Government, News, Tourism

Cruise ship passengers enjoy the view at the face of Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.


According to the National Park Service (NPS), visits to parks in Alaska in 2023 surpassed the previous record set before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the growth trend in tourism. Glacier Bay and Klondike Gold Rush national parks were two of twenty NPS units to break annual visitation records in 2023. Glacier Bay welcomed 703,659 visitors, a 5 percent increase over its previous record in 2019. Klondike Gold Rush saw nearly 1.3 million visitors, crushing its previous record of 1.1 million visitors in 2019.

Guiding Management Decisions

Most of the rise in visitation can be accounted for in the continued growth of cruise ship traffic to Alaska, but three other park areas in the Northwest Arctic Borough also saw record visitation. Overall, NPS announced that 400 national parks reported a total of 325.5 million visits in 2023, an increase of 13 million or 4 percent over 2022.

Visits to Alaska’s parklands collectively topped 3.2 million visitors, which beat 2019 numbers by 37,155.

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“We are pleased that so many people are finding their way back to Alaska’s national parks,” says Sarah Creachbaum, NPS Alaska Regional Director. “Visitation to our parks not only creates jobs for Alaskans and their communities, but our spectacular natural and cultural landscapes introduce a whole new generation to the value that national parks bring to America and the world.”

Artifacts can be found in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, including this gold rush tram remnant at the summit of Chilkoot Trail.


Visitation figures and trends guide how the NPS manages parks to ensure the best experience possible for park visitors. The Visitation Statistics Dashboard provides recreational visit statistics for every park in the US for 2023 and also for previous years, dating back to 1979 for some parks. There are 429 parks in the National Park System, and 400 parks counted visitors in 2023.

For the first time, there are now parks reporting their visitation numbers from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and four US territories. Five national parks began reporting in 2023, and this is the first year a park from Delaware is included.

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