• Blue Ridge Parkway falls from top of most visited national parks list

    Updated:

    LITTLE SWITZERLAND, N.C. - The Blue Ridge Parkway has lost its spot atop the rankings of the most visited national parks.

    According to data from the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco overtook the southern destination in 2018.

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    The parkway, which runs more than 450 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, saw an 8.8 percent dip in visitors from 2017, recording 14.7 million visitors.

    Western North Carolina was subject to record rainfall last year, which could account for the dip. The parkway was shut down in September and January because of heavy rains and in April and December for snow.

    Parkway spokeswoman Leesa Brandon noted that 2018's visitor tally was still significant.

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