A buffalo jam in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley. Photo: Jacob W. Frank // National Park Service

Update Oct. 14: The park accidentally undercounted recreation-visit numbers from one entrance station.  The article now reflects the correct figures, with an increase of 9,383 visits.

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — Yesterday, Oct. 13, Yellowstone National Park announced September visitation figures.

According to the park, this is the busiest September on record and the first time the park hosted over 4 million visitors year-to-date.

Yellowstone National Park hosted 882,078 recreation visits in Sept. 2021. This is a 5% increase from the 837,114 recreation visits in Sept. 2020 and a 27% increase from the 693,118 recreation visits in Sept. 2019.

“Never in Yellowstone’s history have we seen such substantial visitation increases in such a short amount of time,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We will continue working with our teams and partners to develop and implement appropriate short- and long-term actions for managing increasing visitation across the park. My thanks to our teams here for working through a record visitation year, especially with the continued workforce challenges presented by COVID-19.”

So far in 2021, the park has hosted 4,472,982 recreation visits, up 32% from the same period last year, and up 17% from 2019.

The list below shows the year-to-date trend for recreation visits over the last several years, through September:

  • 2021 – 4,463,599
  • 2020 – 3,393,642*
  • 2019 – 3,807,815
  • 2018 – 3,860,695
  • 2017 – 3,872,775
  • 2016 – 3,970,778

According to the park, Yellowstone’s road corridors and parking areas equate to less than 1,750 (0.079%) acres of the park’s 2.2 million acres. Most visitors stay within a half-mile of these corridors.

This summer season, visitation records have been broken in August and July.

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Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.