If you visited Yellowstone National Park recently, you may have felt overwhelmed by crowds. Even during the “shoulder season,” folks are coming hot and heavy. Yes, Yellowstone visits continue their upward pattern, as October’s numbers bear out. Yellowstone National Park hosted 299,127 recreation visits in October 2023. That’s a 26% increase from October last year, which saw 236,567 recreational visits. Want more big numbers? It’s a 75% increase from October 2019, when 171,339 recreational visits were recorded. At that time, several short-term, weather-related road closures likely impacted visitation.
Looking back on 2023
Looking back on 2023 so far, the park saw 4,446,509 recreation visits. Keeping with the trend of October, that’s up 37% from 2022, when 3,241,761 visits were made. Compared to 2019, though, stats show only a 12% rise, when 3,979,154 recreation visits were logged. You might wonder why the Service compares 2023 to 2019. Officials say that 2019 stats were pre-Covid, and the numbers during the Covid years up to 2023 “included unusual visitation trends.” They also point to the historic flood event in 2022 that closed the park for about two weeks in June.
For number crunchers, here’s a list that shows the year-to-date trend for recreation visits over the last several years (through October). See if you don’t agree that Yellowstone visits continue their upward pattern.
- 2023 – 4,446,509
- 2022 – 3,241,761 (The park was closed June 13 through June 21. Three entrances opened on June 22.)
- 2021 – 4,789,349
- 2020 – 3,753,531 (The park was closed March 24 through May 17. Two entrances opened on May 18 and the remaining three opened on June 1.)
- 2019 – 3,979,154
- 2018 – 4,078,771
More data on park visitation, including how they calculate these numbers, is available on the NPS Stats website here.