Floods cut Yellowstone visitation for 2022 by one-third

Dennis Lenzendorf greets an early visitor during the first day the East Gate to Yellowstone Park was open for the 2012 summer season. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. – Record floods that closed two of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park cut annual visitation in 2002 by nearly one-third to the prior year, according to figures released Tuesday by the National Park Service. 

The park hosted 3,290,242 recreation visits in 2022, down 32% from 2021, which was the busiest year on record.  

Historic floods in June 2022 closed public access to Yellowstone National Park. On June 13, all park entrances closed, and visitors were moved out of the park during the following 24 hours.
On June 22, the East, South and West entrances opened on a limited entry basis. On July 2, entry restrictions on the East, South and West entrances were removed. The North (Gardiner, Montana) and Northeast (Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana) entrances remained closed to visitor vehicle traffic through September. The Northeast Entrance opened to regular visitor traffic on Oct. 15 and the North Entrance opened on Oct. 30.
The Montana communities at the park’s North and Northeast Entrances that depend heavily on tourism revenue suffered significantly after their access to Yellowstone was restricted for almost the entire summer.
The list below shows the year-to-date trend for recreation visits over the last several years:  
2022 – 3,290,242 
2021 – 4,860,242
2020 – 3,806,306 
2019 – 4,020,288
2018 – 4,115,000
2017 – 4,116,524
The road between the North and Northeast entrances is open to automobiles year-round. The reset of Yellowstone’s roads are scheduled to open over a month-long period starting April 21. Visit the park’s website for additional details and trip planning information.

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