Record Visitation At Rocky Mountain National Park In 2018
Rocky Mountain National Park received its highest annual visitation ever in 2018. The park received a total of 4,590,492visitors last year, which was a 3.5 percent increase over visitation in 2017. This number represents a slight increase from previous record visitation in 2016, of 4,517,584. Visitation for 2018 represents a 42 percent increase since 2012.
Determining visitation numbers is a difficult and imprecise effort. Visitation statistics are reliably accurate estimates and help park managers see overall trends. Fall visitation, particularly on weekends, continues to increase at Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter weekend visitation also continues to increase. The top ten busiest days in 2018 in order from first to tenth were: September 22, September 10, September 2, July 22, September 15, September 3, September 23, September 16, July 1, and August 11.
Park managers continue to address the effect this level of visitation is having on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experiences and operational capacity. Beginning in 2016, during the summer and early fall, park staff restricted vehicle access in three specific areas, the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area, and Alpine Visitor Center when parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants. These restrictions occurred most days in July and August, in addition to weekends in June and September. Other areas of the park are experiencing high visitation as well, particularly when restrictions are in place. Addressing day use for the long term requires a holistic park wide approach. Therefore, park staff are developing draft concepts to address the multitude of day use challenges. These concepts will be shared with the public later this year and will involve a stakeholder-engaged planning process.