Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Visitation Remains Strong

July is the busiest time for Yellowstone visitation, followed by August. Though the numbers are down, the second-highest August visitation total in Park history is nothing to sneeze at, particularly coming in a down economy when unemployment rates and gas prices remain high.

For the record, 805,173 recreational visitors were in the Park in August 2011; that’s down some 5.8 percent from the 854,837 visitors to the park in August 2010, the highest recorded August total.

Here’s a look at August numbers in the past few years, as well as summer numbers for the past three years:

Year August Visitation Year-to-Year Change
2011 805,173 -5.8%
2010 854,837 +13.5%
2009 752,983 +3.0%
2008 731,063 +3.0%
2007 710,781 +11.8%
2006 635,666
  2011 2010 2009
June 634,316 694,841 643,844
July 906,935 957,785 900,515
August 805,173 854,837 752,983
Summer 2,346,424 2,507,463 2,297,342
Total Year-to-Date 2,653,832 2,866,401 2,654,378

It’s shaping up to be a pretty good year in terms of Yellowstone numbers. The summer and year-to-date figures are a little down from 2010 but up compared to 2009. We expect September to be a pretty good year when the final numbers come in; a quick check of the Xanterra reservation system shows strong room demand for the rest of the month and arly October.

July is typically the park’s peak visitation month, followed by August, June, September, and May.

To put these numbers in some perspective: Yellowstone is not the most popular National Park when it comes to the numbers. Far more people visit the Blue Ridge Parkway (1.88 million in August), Gateway National Recreational Area in New York/New Jersey (1.22 million in August), the Golden Gate National Recreational Area in San Francisco (1.12 million in August) and Cape Cod National Seashore (1.02 million visitors in August). So the next time you’re complaining about how crowded Yellowstone is, keep in mind there are far smaller National Park Service spaces attracting many more visitors.


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