Yellowstone East Gate Traffic Close to Normal Since Opening | Big Horn Basin Media

Yellowstone East Gate Traffic Close to Normal Since Opening

Written by on May 22, 2020

It wasn’t quite normal – but it was close.

Yellowstone National Park has released the visitation numbers for the first three days of its opening – Monday the 18th thru Wednesday the 20th – for both the East and South Gates. Visitation through both gates averaged out to about 90% of the normal vehicle traffic seen through the East Gate at this time of year, and 60% of the average through the South Entrance. Monday at the East Gate was the clear percentage peak. 504 vehicles as opposed to 478 on May 18th of 2019. That’s 105% of 2019’s traffic. 1,086 vehicles passed through on Wednesday – but that’s still less than the 1,388 vehicles seen last year. And all these numbers are less than 20% of the normal traffic volume in the park compared to when all five entrances are open at this time of year.

The boardwalk at Old Faithful was the busiest place in the park, and there was a mix of proper COVID-19 prevention and a lack thereof. Most families and groups traveling together were not socially distanced, and masks were rarely observed outdoors. None of this was particularly surprising to park staff. Cam Sholly, Yellowstone’s superintendent, anticipates much higher numbers and the continued need for social distancing in the park. He recommends that anyone uncomfortable with people who aren’t wearing masks to avoid the park for the time being.


May 18                            2019                   2020                   Difference

East Gate                         478                      504                      105% of 2019

South Gate                      910                      542                      60% of 2019

Total                                 1,388                  1,046                   75% of 2019


May 19                             2019                  2020                  Difference

East Gate                          585                     502                      86% of 2019

South Gate                       825                     584                      71% of 2019

Total                                  1,410                  1,086                  77% of 2019


May 20                             2019                  2020                  Difference

East Gate                          546                     307                      56% of 2019

South Gate                       876                     395                      45% of 2019

Total                                  1,422                  702                      49% of 2019

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