With 940,563 visits last month — the fifth busiest July ever — 2018 Yellowstone visitation is slightly up from 2017, though still trailing 2016’s record numbers.
So far in 2018, the park has hosted 2,322,270 visits, up slightly from the same period last year. The list below shows the trend over the last five years. Year-to-date visitation in 2018 is 19 percent higher than five years ago in 2014, but the June numbers are on a slightly slower pace when compared to May and June 2018 visitation numbers.
Year-to-date Recreation Visits (through July)
2018 – 2,322,270
2017 – 2,316,542
2016 – 2,427,988
2015 – 2,279,557
2014 – 1,943,682
These numbers are not unexpected: Yellowstone officials have been warning about the problems posed by the increasing visitor numbers and the stress imposed on infrastructure and wildlife. In 2016, nearly 4.3 million people visited Yellowstone National Park, the busiest year on record. The following year, nearly 4.2 million people visited, marking the second-busiest year on record. May 2018 was the busiest May on record, and June 2018 was the second-busiest June on record.
It’s increasingly common to hear folk complain about 2018 Yellowstone visitation, but if you look at the numbers, being only the fifth-busiest July on record does lessen that impact. Still, with almost a million visits to Yellowstone in July 2018, it does highlight the need to plan your Yellowstone trip.