The coronavirus pandemic lowered visitation to Yellowstone National Park in 2020, but not by much, according to data published by the park on Thursday.

The park hosted 3,806,305 recreation visits in 2020, down 5% from 2019.

The park was closed due to health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 beginning March 24.

Two Wyoming entrances opened on May 18, and the three Montana entrances opened on June 1.

Visitation had been trending downward slightly every year since 2017, and COVID-19 certainly made a difference in 2020.

Yet visitations for September and October were the highest on record.

The list below shows the year-to-date trend for recreation visits since 2015:

  • 2020 -- 3,806,305.
  • 2019 -- 4,020,288.
  • 2018 -- 4,115,000.
  • 2017 -- 4,116,524.
  • 2016 -- 4,257,177.
  • 2015 -- 4,097,710.

Now that winter is here, all roads in Yellowstone, with one exception, are closed to automobile traffic until late April. The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Mont., is open year-round, weather-permitting.

The park again urges visitors to recreate responsibly, reduce the spread of COVID-19, and know about park activities in advance:

  • If you are sick, do not visit the park.
  • Self-quarantine to avoid exposing others.
  • Services are limited in the park.
  • Stay informed about changes to park operations.
  • Download the Yellowstone App, and visit www.nps.gov/yell and the park's social media channels.

More data on park visitation, including how the park calculates these numbers, is available on the National Park Service Stats website.

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