July Attendance Shatters All-Time Record in Glacier National Park

More than 1.5 million visitors have passed through the park’s entrances this year

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Logan Pass on July 22, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Glacier National Park experienced its busiest month on record in July, according to the latest statistics released by the National Park Service.

Nearly 818,500 people visited the park last month, almost 113,000, or 19 percent, more than last July, according to the NPS. The previous all-time single-month attendance record was 699,650 in July 2014.

With the full opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road and favorable weather conditions, July became the third month in a row with record crowds this year. A total of 178,200 people visited Glacier in May, a new all-time record for the month, while nearly 430,000 people visited the park last month, 15,000 more than last year.

Overall visitation is up 13.8 percent in 2016. More than 1.5 million people have toured Glacier Park so far this year, compared to 1.3 million at this point in 2015.

To put the figures into perspective, about 11,400 people went through the west entrance of Glacier Park every day in July 2016, about a thousand shy of the total number of visitors to the park in 1916.

Visitors to St. Mary spiked more than 50 percent in July compared to the previous year. A total of 196,781 people entered the park through that section.

Visitation at the West Entrance spiked 13 percent with 354,660 people, compared to 313,784 last year. The Walton/Goat Lick area saw an 8.1 percent increase in visitors with 41,582 people, while Polebridge drew 22,132 visitors, up 15.2 percent from last year.

The number of overnight lodgings at park concessions grew 9.2 percent last month with 33,092 stays compared to 36,447 in July 2015. The number of RV overnight stays jumped nearly 10 percent to 36,177 and the tent overnight stays increased 10.3 percent to 43,496. The backcountry overnight stays jumped 3.8 percent to 11,143.

Glacier is in the midst of its busiest time of year. The months of June, July and August are historically the most crowded by wide margins. Last year, July saw more than 689,000 visitors. August numbers dipped due to wildfires but still reached 579,000 people. There were 675,000 visitors in August 2014.

Glacier Park has broken annual visitation records the last two years.