The final number of 3,295,187 broke the record set in 2007. That’s up 7.5 percent from 2008 and 4.6 percent more than the previous record of 3.15 million visitors set in 2007.
All park entrances recorded annual visitation increases compared to 2008 levels. Double-digit percentage increases were recorded through the Northeast and East Entrances. The West Entrance continues to be the park’s busiest, which recorded over 1.3 million recreational visitors in 2009.
Here’s a list of the 10 most popular years in Yellowstone National Park history:
There were several factors at play here. First, gas prices were lower in 2009 than 2008, making Yellowstone National Park more attractive economically — especially in bad times, when a trip to a National Park is seen as affordable family entertainment. Parks were in the national consciousness thanks to the Ken Burns documentary on PBS and the Obama Administration’s decision to hold three free weekends throughout the summer.