Down, Down, Down – Yellowstone Visitation Falls in September 2022
Written by Andrew-Rossi on October 17, 2022
Yellowstone National Park recorded another decline in visitation in September 2022, unofficially closing the park’s 150th anniversary on a disappointing note.
The 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park will stand as one of the most challenging seasons in the park’s history. While Summer 2022 is one for the history books, it won’t be for record-breaking attendance.
Any anticipation for an outstanding summer was dashed at the very beginning of the summer season when the park experienced the most intense flooding ever observed in the park. After two full weeks of closure only three of the five entrances reopened after two full weeks of closure, as entry through the North and Northeast Entrances was impossible.
Yellowstone National Park hosted 567,587 recreation visits in September 2022 – a 36% decrease from September 2021.
September 2021 set the record as the most-visited September on the park’s record – 882,078 recreational visits. Those numbers contributed to the busiest summer in the park’s history.
Furthermore, this September’s numbers are an 18% decrease from September 2019 (693,118), the last year before COVID.
So far, in 2022, the park has hosted 3,014,569 recreation visits, down 32% from the same time in 2021.
At this point in 2022, Yellowstone’s visitation is even less than 2020’s visitation.
The list below shows the year-to-date trends for recreation visits over the last several years (through September):
- 2022 – 3,014,569
- The park was closed from Jun. 13 through Jun. 21. The North, South, and West Entrances opened in a limited capacity on Jun. 22.
- 2021 – 4,472,687
- 2020 – 3,393,642
- In 2020, the park was closed from Mar. 24 through May 17. Two entrances opened on May 18. The remaining three opened on Jun. 1.
- 2019 – 3,807,815
- 2018 – 3,860,695
- 2017 – 3,872,775
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. Due to the floods, two entrances were inaccessible for the entire summer season.
The park’s Northeast Entrance at Cooke City, MT, reopened on Oct. 15 after a massive road construction project. The North Entrance at Gardiner, MT, will be open no later than Nov. 1.
Sadly, neither entrance opening will be enough to boost Yellowstone’s visitation back to “normal.”A switch is underway. On Nov. 1, the three entrances open for Summer 2022 will close to prepare for the winter season. After that, however, the North and Northeast Entrances will be open to vehicle access – as they are every winter.
More data on park visitation, including how the National Park Service calculates these numbers, is available on the N.P.S. Stats website.