Old Faithful crowd

Visitors crowd the boardwalk around Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

Neal Herbert, NPS

The solar eclipse helped Yellowstone National Park mark its busiest August ever recorded, hosting more than 916,000 visitors.

The monthly visitation was up 8.93 percent from August of last year, which saw more than 841,000 visits. The second busiest August was in 2015 and recorded 854,400 visits.

Last year's record-setting season saw a slump in August visits when the South Entrance was was closed for six days as the Berry fire burned close to the roadway.

This year, the park experienced increased visitation during the days immediately surrounding the solar eclipse, which occurred on Aug. 21. An especially large number of visits occurred on Aug. 22. Traffic congestion that day caused the park to briefly limit access to the Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin parking areas as well as to send rangers to manage traffic at Madison Junction.

Many of those visitors were likely traveling north from Grand Teton National Park which experienced record visitation Aug. 18-21 for the total solar eclipse.

Grand Teton's traffic data indicated that compared to the same days in 2015 and 2016, the park saw an approximate 40 percent increase in park visits.

So far in 2017 Yellowstone has hosted 3.2 million visits, down 1.11 percent from the same period in 2016, which was the highest on record. Year-to-date visitation in 2017 is 17.4 percent higher than five years ago in 2012.

The continued high level of visitation at Yellowstone underscores how important it is for visitors to plan their trip to the park, National Park Service staff emphasized. Visitors should anticipate delays at popular attractions, plan ahead, and check road conditions on the park’s website.

Detailed park visitation information and additional details on how the statistics are calculated is available online at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/Park.

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