North Entrance construction

May 2021 Yellowstone visitation is a record

The numbers are in: May 2021 Yellowstone visitation set an all-time record for the month, as National Park Service officials tallied 658,513 recreational visits this year.

The final tally of 658,513 recreational far exceeded the previous record of 593,755 recreation visitors recorded in May 2016. It also represents an 11 percent increase from May 2019, when the NPS tallied 434,385 recreation visits.

It also far exceeds the 145,849 visitor recorded in 2020, but we note that not because it’s a good comparison; it’s not. Because of COVID-19 protocols, Yellowstone National Park was closed May 1 through May 18, while only the two Wyoming entrances were open May 18 through May 31. 

Here’s an accounting of May visitation for the past few years:

2021 –  658,513
2020 –  145,849
2019 –  576,776
2018 –  570,823
2017 –  550,486
2016 –  593,755

As we’ve been warning, this could be a long, busy summer in Yellowstone, and the May numbers are surely a harbinger of what’s to come. The May numbers follow a strong start to the 2021 Yellowstone summer season in April, with Grand Teton and Yellowstone visitation was up when compared to April 2019. We’ll pass along Grand Teton’s May 2021 visitation numbers when available; it appears the National Park Service’s website for reporting such numbers is temporarily experiencing technical issues.

Photo of North Entrance construction, taken on April 21, by Jacob W. Frank courtesy National Park Service.

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