Visits at Rocky Mountain National Park reach record numbers again

Last year was another banner year at Rocky Mountain National Park.

In 2019, Rocky Mountain recorded a record 4.6 million visitors, according to the park. This was a 1.7% increase over the previous record set in 2018 and a 44 percent increase since 2012.

The park pointed out that determining visitation numbers is a difficult and imprecise effort, but the figures are reliably accurate estimates that help park managers track overall trends.

For example, July was the busiest month at Rocky with a record 976,042 visitors. Fall visits, particularly on the weekends, also continue to increase, as does weekend visitation over the winter.

The busiest day last year was Sept. 28, followed by July 28, Sept. 29, Sept. 22, July 5, Sept. 21, July 21, Sept. 1, July 6 and July 4.

The heightened visitation has led park managers to take some steps to try to protect the park and its visitors, including restricting vehicle access in three areas — the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area and the Alpine Visitor Center — when heavy congestion warrants it.

These restrictions occurred most days in July and August last year, as well as on weekends in June and September.

Staff are also developing new draft concepts to address the day use challenges and enhance the visitor experience. Concepts will be shared with the public later this year.