Record-Breaking Crowds Continue to Swell in Glacier Park

Nearly 430,000 people visited the park in June, 15,000 more than the same month last year

A hiker along the trail to Grinnell Glacier. Beacon File Photo

Glacier National Park set another record for visitation last month, according to the latest statistics released by the National Park Service.

Nearly 430,000 people visited the park last month, 15,000 more than last year and the most all-time for the month of June, according to the NPS.

With the full opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road and favorable weather conditions, June became the second 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.

Overall visitation is up 8.7 percent in 2016. Nearly 700,000 people have toured Glacier Park so far this year, compared to 642,000 at this point in 2015.

“2016 is the Centennial of the National Park Service and we are anticipating record visitation. June was up almost four percent over last year,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “You have to remember that in June 2015 it was really dry and we had a 24 percent increase over 2014. That’s a 28 percent increase in two years.”

Visitors to St. Mary spiked nearly 50 percent in June compared to the previous year. A total of 108,814 people entered the park through that section. Visitation at the West Entrance dipped 20.6 percent with 149,599 people, compared to 188,328 last year. The Walton/Goat Lick area saw a 32.6 percent increase in visitors with 37,869 people.

The number of overnight lodgings at park concessions dropped 8.2 percent last month with 18,422 stays compared to 20,057 in June 2015. The number of RV overnight stays jumped 17 percent to 24,300 and the tent overnight stays increased 15 percent to 24,514. The backcountry overnight stays dipped 9.7 percent to 3,521.

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.

Yellowstone National Park has welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors this year, a 10 percent increase over the same time in 2015.

The National Park Service says the park had about 830,000 visitors during the month of June alone, a 7 percent jump from last year.