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Yellowstone National Park says 2023 was second-busiest year ever, announces winter season wind-down

Posted at 3:42 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 18:13:54-05

BOZEMAN — Yellowstone National Park says 2023 was its second busiest year ever.

A park press release says YNP registered slightly more than 4.5 million visits last year, second only to the record COVID year of 2021. That's when nearly 4.9 million visits were counted.

In 2022, when record flooding shut the park down for 8 days in June and kept two northern entrances closed for more than three months, visitation dropped to 3.3 million.

The release said that national parks overall saw a total of 325.5 million visits across 400 national parks, an increase of 13 million or four percent more than 2022.

Yellowstone says most people visit the park in June, July, and August.

For those who visit in winter, Yellowstone announced its winter season will be wrapping up in early March to allow crews to prepare park roads for spring opening.

YNP says that by March 16, most visitor services and park roads will be closed, including the South, West, and East entrances.

Closure dates for park roads and entrances are as follows:

  • March 3: Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
  • March 5: Norris to Madison, Norris to Canyon Village, Canyon Village to Washburn Hot Springs Overlook
  • March 10: Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge
  • March 15: West, South and East entrances and all remaining groomed roads

For visitor services, the following closure dates apply:
Mammoth Hot Springs

  • March 3: Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
  • March 4: Dining Room, Gift Shop, Ski Shop and Map Room Barista/Bar

Old Faithful

  • March 2: Old Faithful Snow Lodge
  • March 3: Bear Den Gift Shop, Obsidian Dining Room and Ski Shop
  • March 15: Geyser Grill and Visitor Education Center

The only roads open year-round are between the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, and the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana (via Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction and Lamar Valley).
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Albright Visitor Center, General Store, post office, medical clinic and self-service fuel pumps stay open year-round. Self-service fuel pumps are also available at the Tower-Roosevelt Service Station year-round.