Yellowstone visitation up sharply so far this year

Visitation to Yellowstone National Park for January through May is up more than 24 percent compared to the same time period in 2014. Although some of that increase could be attributed to a new after-hours counter at the West Entrance, a mild winter and early spring also played a role in drawing people to the park.

Visitation to the world’s first national park begins to pick up in May as weather improves and interior roads and visitor facilities open to the public.

Yellowstone saw 383,670 recreational visits in May and a total of 515,693 for the first five months of 2015, according to information released by the park’s public affairs office. That compares to 310,039 recreational visits for May 2014 and 415,185 recreational visits for January through May 2014.

The nine visitor centers, museums and contact stations in the park showed 624,710 visits from March 16-June 13 this year, which is a 22.6 percent increase from 2014 totals.

Visitation statistics are calculated by taking the actual number of wheeled vehicles entering the park gates, and using a person-per-vehicle multiplier to calculate the number of monthly recreational visitors.

July is typically the park’s peak visitation month, followed in order by August, June, September, and May.

Detailed park visitation information and additional information on how these statistics are calculated is available online at

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