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Zion leads Utah national parks in visitor spending

Zion National Park is among a small group of national park areas to ever exceed 5 million annual visits.
marc neidig
National Park Service
Zion National Park is among a small group of national park areas to ever exceed 5 million annual visits.

A new report found that visitors to national parks in Utah contributed $2.6 billion to the state economy last year.

People visiting national parks in Utah spent $1.7 million in 2022, which ranks third in the country behind California and North Carolina.

That spending resulted in over 23,000 jobs, according to a peer-reviewed analysis conducted by National Park Service economists that looked at communities within 60 miles of a national park. Utah also ranks third in jobs generated by national park visitors.

With over 4.5 million visits last year, Zion National Park in southern Utah generated $672 in visitor spending, the most of any park in the Beehive State.

Ranking second with $301 million in visitor spending is Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which features Lake Powell and stretches into Arizona. Arches National Park in Moab is third ($274 million) in NPS spending in Utah, followed by Bryce Canyon ($219 million), Capitol Reef ($106 million), and Canyonlands ($101 million).

“Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 300 million visitors every year,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in a statement. “The impact of tourism to national parks is undeniable: bringing jobs and revenue to communities in every state in the country and making national parks an essential driver to the national economy.”

Closest to the Wasatch Back is Timpanogos Cave National Monument, which generated over $10 million in visitor spending last year, according to the report.

The analysis found that 312 million park visitors last year contributed over $50 billion to the U.S. economy. The lodging sector had the highest direct effects, followed by restaurants.

NPS locations in Utah:

Arches National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

California National Historic Park

Canyonlands National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Dinosaur National Park

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Golden Spike National Historical Park

Hovenweep National Monument

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Natural Bridges National Monument

Old Spanish National Historic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Zion National Park