Alabama’s only National Park dedicated to a natural area tops 700K visitors in 2023

National Park
Little River Canyon National Preserve in December 2023 (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

For the 4th consecutive year, Alabama’s only National Park unit dedicated to a natural area, topped 700,000 annual visitors.

According to the National Park Service’s (NPS) latest numbers, Little River Canyon National Preserve welcomed 700,638 park-goers in 2023. 

Growth at Little River Canyon over the decade

Attendance at the 14,000 acre National Preserve has seen remarkable growth over the past decade. In 2013, the NPS counted 185,477 visitors. The numbers steadily rose to 649,986 during 2019 — the pre-COVID year. 

During the COVID years, the park attracted over 800,000 nature lovers.

“While Covid made people feel like they HAD to get outside to avoid the virus and maintain their sanity, it planted a seed that reminds us that getting outside is always pretty awesome. Covid helped to create a good and long term habit.”

Pete Conroy, Jacksonville State University Little River Canyon Center

Little River Canyon attendance snapshots

Little River Canyon
Incredible views at Little River Canyon (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Attendance is presently hovering around the 700,000 mark.

Here is are the latest Little River Canyon National Preserve NPS numbers:

2003 — 183,896

2013 — 185,477

2016 — 462,700

2019 — 649,986

2020 — 802,375

2021 — 862,606 

2022 — 726,239

2023 — 700,638

Since 2003, Little River Canyon has been visited more than 7.7 million times.

Nationwide, the National Park Service counted 325+ million visits in 2023 at 400+ NPS units. They saw a 13 million increase over the previous year.

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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