Rocky Mountain sets new record for visitors in 2015
December 10, 2015
It was another record-breaking year for Rocky Mountain National Park.
Officials from Rocky (RMNP) provided available visitation statistics, covering Jan. through Oct. 2015. At the end of Oct. visitation figures for the year reached a total of 3,943,735, approximately half a million more visitor than Rocky saw in all of 2014, which was itself a record breaking year for visitation with a year end total of 3.4 million visitors. Visitation figures for RMNP rise sharply in the summer and drop off rather suddenly as the year moves from fall to winter.
Rocky's Public Affairs Officer Kyle Patterson referred to the month of Oct. 2015 as, "exceptionally busy" for the Park. October is a bit of a watershed month for Rocky as multiple parts of the park are closed for the winter months during Oct. Trail Ridge Road was closed for the season on Oct. 21. Old Fall River Road, on the east side of Rocky, was closed on Oct. 20 while the Alpine Visitor Center and the Fall River Visitor Center were closed on Oct. 12. The Moraine Park Discovery Center was also closed on Oct. 12.
Rocky has three main motor vehicle entrance locations for the park, all of which saw increases in visitor numbers in 2015. The two entrances on the east side of the Park, Beaver Meadows Entrance and the Fall River Entrance, saw increases of 18.8 percent and 30.4 percent respectively through the end of Oct. as compared to figures for 2014. The Grand Lake entrance to Rocky saw an even larger percentage increase. There was a 57.9 percent increase in visitors at the Grand Lake entrance for the month of Oct. over 2014 figures and the Grand Lake entrance saw an overall increase of 31.5 percent through the end of Oct. 2015 as compared to 2014 figures.
Visitor numbers in Rocky have been tracking upwards over the last several years. The one exception is 2013; when severe flooding along the Front Range and a Federal Government shutdown, which included the National Park System, severely impacted visitation numbers. The trend of increasing visitation numbers was also evident in statistics the Park provided for the summer tourist season. From May through Sept. overall visitor numbers were up for Rocky approximately 20 percent each month over 2014 numbers.
Visitor numbers peaked in July when Rocky saw a total of 858,426 in that month alone. June and Aug. also saw visitation figures reach over half a million for each of those two months with 608,796 visitors in June and 765,579 visitors in Aug. Rocky also saw high visitor numbers in Sept., 644,350, as the Park wrapped up their 100th Anniversary Celebrations, which were conducted throughout the year and began in Sept. 2014. Historically Rocky has seen relatively high visitation numbers through Sept. each year.