Annual visitation has increased by over 40% since 2008, leading to traffic jams like this one in Hayden Valley. (NPS / Neal Herbert)

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. – Yellowstone National Park experienced the second busiest year on record in 2017.

The park recorded 4,116,525 visits, a decrease from 2016. Last year was a record year for visitation with 4,257,177 visits to the park.

Since 2008, annual visitation to Yellowstone has increased by close to 40 percent.

This growth has caused park managers to consider many questions:

  •  How can the park prepare for a future in which visitation continues to increase?
  • How does the increased visitation affect park resources and visitor experiences?
  • What do people expect when they come to Yellowstone?
  • How do people move through the park?
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To begin answering these questions, the park commissioned two studies during the summer of 2016.

“These studies mark the beginning of our efforts to understand visitation and develop strategies to meet the challenges it presents,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. “In 2018 and 2019, we intend to gather more information in order to make informed decisions about visitation.”

More visitation statistics are available online.