Rocky Mountain National Park received another year of record visitation in 2019. The park received a total of 4,678,804 visitors, which was a slight 1.7 percent over record visitation in 2018, of 4,599,242 visitors. Visitation for 2019 represents a 44 percent increase since 2012. July, the most visited month, experienced a record 976,042 visitors.
Determining visitation numbers is a difficult and imprecise effort. Visitation statistics are reliably accurate estimates and help park managers see overall trends. Fall visitation, particularly on weekends, continues to increase at Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter weekend visitation also continues to increase. The top ten busiest days in 2019 in order from first to tenth were September 28, July 28, September 29, September 22, July 5, September 21, July 21, September 1, July 6, and July 4.
Park managers continue to address the effect this level of visitation is having on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experiences and operational capacity. Since 2016, during the summer and early fall, park staff have restricted vehicle access in three specific areas, the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area, and the Alpine Visitor Center, when parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants. In 2019, these restrictions occurred most days in July and August, in addition to weekends in June and September. This also occurs in the Bear Lake Road corridor during some winter weekends. Other areas of the park are experiencing high visitation as well, particularly when restrictions are in place.
Addressing day use for the long term requires a holistic parkwide approach. Park staff are developing draft concepts to address the multitude of day use challenges and opportunities to enhance park visitors’ experiences. These concepts will be shared with the public later this year and will involve a stakeholder-engaged planning process.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, visit nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.