It looks like a record-breaking year could be shaping up for Yellowstone National Park. The National Park released visitation statistics for Memorial Day 2021. The statistics show a substantial increase in the number of vehicle entries compared to Memorial Day weekend 2019, as much as 145% at the east entrance. Statistics for Memorial Day 2020 were not used, as only the Wyoming park entrances were open due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 was much of the reason behind Yellowstone’s record-setting months in 2020. Many tourist attractions were shut down or operating at limited capacity because of COVID-19; however, the National Parks, encouraged by efforts from the Trump administration, opened up.
National Parks also fit the bill for travelers that wanted to avoid airlines and hotels, gravitating towards car trips, sleeping in RVs and tents, and embracing the healthier great outdoors, all while controlling their surroundings and avoiding crowds where possible, according to Yellowstone Insider.
August of 2020 was Yellowstone’s second-busiest on record. The 881,543 visitors were a 7.5 % increase from August 2019, according to nps.gov. The busiest August on record was in 2017, the year of the total solar eclipse.
September 2020 was the busiest on record for Yellowstone. The Park had 837,499 visits, a 21% increase over September of 2019.
If the Memorial Day Weekend statistics are any indication of another busy season, Yellowstone is well on its way. The total number of vehicle entrances on Friday, May 28th, were up 80% over 2019. Idaho’s West Yellowstone entrance saw a 72% vehicle increase on the Friday before Memorial Day in 2019. The West entrance saw a 57% increase in vehicle entry on Memorial Day itself. Yellowstone National Park’s press release says park wide vehicle entries showed a 50% increase from 2019 overall.