Yellowstone National Park sees big uptick during Memorial Day weekend

Old Faithful, a cone geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, circa 1965. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

If Memorial Day Weekend is any indicator, Yellowstone National Park could be in for a record-setting year. Park officials report an overall 50 percent increase in number of vehicles in 2021 for the four-day period.

Officials in the park released the statistics, comparing them with in 2019 – skipping 2020 because Montana entrances were close because of COVID-19. Wyoming entrances remained open during the period in 2020.

No entrance to the park showed a decrease when compared to 2019 numbers. In fact, every entrance on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday showed double-digit increases with some more than doubling, meaning triple-digit percentage increases.

For example, Friday’s East entrance showed a 145 percent increase with 902 vehicles entering. On the same Friday of Memorial Day in 2019, only 368 vehicles entered the same point. The lowest gain at any entrance during the four-day period was the same East Entrance on Sunday, which still saw a 25 percent gain more than 2019 with 1,249 vehicles as compared to 997 in 2019.

Yellowstone National Park has five entrances – one for each direction point of the compass with an additional one at the northeast part of the park.

The four-day vehicle total was 43,416 as compared to 28,890 in 2019.

Summer is Yellowstone’s busiest season of the year, with millions of visitors expected – especially after the pent-up demand for vacationing due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. So many visitors are planned for national parks that Glacier National Park in northern Montana has converted to a ticketed-entry system.