Record-Breaking Glacier Park Visitation Keeps Climbing

Attendance is up 20 percent in 2016 and on pace to surpass 2.8 million

A visitor kneels along the shore of Bowman lake to enjoy the scenery on Oct. 2, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Another 75,000 people visited Glacier National Park last month, further pushing the boundaries with record-breaking attendance that is approaching 2.8 million this year.

Attendance was up 5 percent in October and is up 20 percent for the year, according to the National Park Service. An estimated 2.79 million people have visited Glacier this year, up from 2.33 million a year ago.

Last month was the busiest October since 2006, when an estimated 87,700 people visited the park. The all-time record for October is 107,295, set in 2003.

Last month’s totals only added to the new all-time annual record, which was broken in September. Glacier has broken visitation records in three consecutive years.

The upper alpine stretch of Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed last month. The Sun Road is currently closed for the season between Avalanche Creek and the foot of St. Mary Lake. On the east side, the road is currently closed at the Hudson Bay Road junction near the St. Mary Entrance. On the west side, hiker/biker access is to the Road Camp area, approximately 10.5 miles past the vehicle closure while the road crew is working.

Yellowstone National Park has also already set an annual record with 4.2 million visitors, marking the second record year in a row.