MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – Yellowstone National Park hosted 1,080,767 recreation visits in July 2021, making it the most-visited July on record. This is a 13% increase from July 2020 (955,645 recreational visits) and a 15% increase from July 2019 (936,062 recreation visits).
This July is also the most-visited month on record in Yellowstone’s history and the first time visitation exceeded 1 million visits in a single month.
So far in 2021, the park has hosted 2,668,765 recreation visits, up 16% from 2019. This year is compared to 2019 instead of 2020 because of COVID-19.
The list below shows the year-to-date trend for recreation visits over the last several years (through July):
2021 – 2,668,765
2020 – 1,674,699*
2019 – 2,294,691
2018 – 2,322,271
2017 – 2,316,541
2016 – 2,427,988
“Increases to Yellowstone’s visitation have accelerated rapidly over the past 12 months and we continue to be on pace to set record numbers for 2021,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We are actively developing defensible short and long-term solutions, with our partners, which focus on protection of park resources, improving visitor experience, and considering impacts on park staffing, infrastructure and our gateway communities and regional economies.”
Yellowstone’s road corridors and parking areas equate to less than 1,500 acres of the park’s 2.2 million acres. Most visitors stay within a half mile of these corridors. As such, the park is focused on the most heavily congested areas: Old Faithful, Midway Geyser Basin, Norris, Canyon rims and Lamar Valley. In 2019, the park piloted controlled visitor access at Norris, initiated a major shuttle feasibility study in 2020 to determine the viability of a shuttle system between Old Faithful and Midway Geyser Basin, and implemented an automated vehicle shuttle pilot at Canyon Village in 2021 to explore the use of evolving technologies. The park is also taking advantage of data derived from recent major visitor surveys and transportation studies to inform future decisions and is working closely with Grand Teton National Park on future solutions since both parks substantially share visitation each year.
Summer is Yellowstone’s busiest season. Millions of people visit the park in June, July and August. If you plan to travel to Yellowstone this summer, plan ahead, expect crowding, recreate responsibly and take the Yellowstone Pledge to protect yourself and the park.
More data on park visitation, including how we calculate these numbers, is available on the NPS Stats website.
Editor’s note: *The park was closed March 24-May 18, 2020, due to COVID-19. Two entrances were open May 18-31 and the remaining three opened on June 1.