Visitation dropped 12% in Yellowstone National Park in October compared to the same month in 2020, park officials reported Wednesday.
The park hosted 316,500 recreation visits, down from 359,800 in 2020, which was the busiest October on record.
The drop comes after Yellowstone has been setting records for most other months this year as travelers seek outdoor activities during the pandemic. That’s reflected in the year-to-date visitation of 4.78 million, up 28% from the same period last year (a season shortened by the pandemic when the park delayed its opening by six weeks) and a 20% increase over 2019.
With two months left to go, the park has already set a new record for annual visitation. The previous record was 4.25 million in 2016.
At the same time tourism has increased, Yellowstone’s staff and contractors have been working on more than $100 million in infrastructure projects to reduce traffic congestion. An example is a rebuild of the Dunraven Pass road. The park has also built new staff housing, removing outdated trailers and structures.
Yellowstone’s interior roads are closed to travel right now but will reopen on Dec. 15 for winter oversnow travel by snowcoach and snowmobile.