Yellowstone Visits Down Only 5% In 2020, Despite Pandemic

View of Old Faithful erupting with a beautiful deep blue sky in Yellowstone National Park

This story first appeared on Cowboy State Daily

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Despite the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the park for nearly two months, Yellowstone National Park only saw a 5% dip in visits in 2020.

The park, in its most recent visitation report, said it hosted 3.8 million recreation visits in 2020, down just 5% from the 4 million hosted in 2019.

Yellowstone was closed from March 24 until May 18, when the two Wyoming entrances were opened. The three Montana entrances opened June 1.

Visitations for the months of September and October were the busiest on record, with the park hosting 837,499 visits in September (a 21% increase from September 2019) and 360,034 visits in October (a 110% increase from October 2019).

August of 2020 was the second-busiest August on record for the area — with visitor numbers coming in at 881,543, second only to 2017, the year of the total solar eclipse.

The visitation trends over the last few years has been:

  • 2018 – 4,115,000
  • 2017 – 4,116,524
  • 2016 – 4,257,177
  • 2015 – 4,097,710

All roads in Yellowstone, with one exception, are closed to automobile traffic from early November to late April. The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to the northeast entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, is open year-round, weather-permitting.

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