The Great Smoky Mountains National Park entered the fall foliage season with nearly 9% more visitors, year-to-date.
Figures released by the National Park Service showed 963,317 people came to the park in September — a 9.2% increase over September 2011, Associated Press reported.
Through the first nine months of this year, visits were up 8.9 percent, meaning 602,000 more people have come to the Smokies this year than in the first three quarters of 2011.
Park officials said September is a transition month that usually sees a slight lull in visits between Labor Day and the start of the “leaf peeper” season late in the month.
The park covers 500,000 acres on the Tennessee-North Carolina border and is the most-visited of the national parks.