RMNP visitor numbers continue to climb
November 10, 2016
It was another busy year for the Rangers and Park staff at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).
At the end of Sept. 2016 Rocky had seen a total of 3,572,177 visitors through its three main entrances. That figure is an increase of roughly eight-and-a-third percent over 2015 totals. The increases in visitor numbers are an ongoing trend at the Park. The figures for 2016 are 32.25 percent above the totals the park saw in 2014, 34.9 percent above 2012 levels and a full 46.9 percent above visitor totals in 2011.
Rocky’s 2016 visitor figures are, shockingly, 180.5 percent above the totals for 2013; the year massive deluges of rainfall along the eastern side of the continental divide caused widespread flooding and damage throughout portions of the Park.
The Town of Grand Lake is located at the western terminus of RMNP and the Park’s Grand Lake Entrance is one of three main entrances to Rocky. For 2016, through the month of Sept., the Grand Lake Entrance saw 527,957 visitors. That figure represents a decrease of around one-third of a percentage point in the total number of visitors entering Rocky from the Grand Lake area over 2015 levels, which totaled 529,550 visitors. The Grand Lake Entrance to Rocky typically has the lowest entrance figures out of the Park’s three main entrances.
The other two main entrances for Rocky, the Beaver Meadows Entrance and the Fall River Entrance, saw increases in visitor numbers over 2015 totals. In 2016 through the month of Sept. the Beaver Meadows Entrance, located just slightly southwest of Estes Park on US Highway 36, received a total of 1,609,288 visitors. Those figures are six-and-two-tenths-percent higher than the totals for 2015, 1,515,169 visitors.
The Fall River Entrance for Rocky is located northwest of Estes Park on US Highway 34. In 2016 through the month of Sept. a total of 927,825 people entered Rocky through the Fall River Entrance; an increase of nine-and-nine-tenths-percent above the 2015 total of 844,497.
July is typically Rocky’s busiest month of the year. In 2016 Rocky welcomed a total of 912,507 visitors through all entrances, an increase of six-and-three-tenths-percent above July 2015 figures. Visitors entering Rocky through the Grand Lake Entrance in July 2016 were down one-tenth of a percentage point from the totals for July 2015.
The end of the formal summer, Aug., was the second busiest month at Rocky this year with a total of 772,849 visitors; an increase of nine-tenths of a percentage point over 2015. The Grand Lake Entrance saw 123,505 visitors in Aug. 2016, a drop of two-and-a-half-percent over the July 2015 entrance totals for Grand Lake.
The autumn month of Sept. was the third busiest month this year at Rocky with a total of 711,110 visitors entering the park through all entrances. That figure is 10.4 percent above the total for Sept. 2015. Unfortunately the Grand Lake Entrance maintained its downward admissions trend from 2015 totals. In Sept. this year the Grand Lake Entrance saw 103,566 visitors, a drop of four-and-nine-tenths-percent from the 2015 total of 108,887 visitors.
During this past summer the downward trend in visitors entering Rocky through the Grand Lake entrance was broken only during June when 108,941 visitors entered the Park from the west. That figure is three-percent above the total for 2015 that was 105,780.
The entrance figures provided by RMNP do not account for all visitors to the Park as people often enter Rocky through lesser entrances that do not provide access to Trail Ridge Road. Notably there are several hiking path entrances to Rocky in the Grand Lake area that do not require entering the Park through the formal Grand Lake Entrance.