Glacier Park Reports Busiest Year Ever

More than 2.9 million people visited the park in 2016

By Justin Franz
A crowd of hikers waits to cross a snow field along the trail to the Hidden Lake Overlook near Logan Pass on July 22, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A record-shattering 2.9 million people visited Glacier National Park in 2016, a 24 percent increase over the previous record set in 2015.

Fueled by growing popularity and excitement for the National Park Service’s centennial, 2,962,504 people visited Glacier Park last year. In 2015, more than 2.3 million people visited Northwest Montana’s most popular attraction. Last year was the third consecutive year that Glacier broke its visitation record.

Despite a record-breaking year overall, cold temperatures and inclement weather depressed visitation during the last month of 2016. More than 12,000 people visited the park in December 2016, a 3.5 percent drop from the previous December when more than 13,000 people came. The decline came after a record November, when nearly 31,000 people visited the park, a 58 percent spike over that same month the previous year.

The vast majority of visitors in December entered the park via West Glacier.

Superintendent Jeff Mow told the Beacon last month that park officials would be taking a close look at 2016 to formulate plans for dealing with huge crowds in the future. Mow thinks it might be tough to beat 2016, but that there is no denying that Glacier is becoming a more popular destination.

“There is a lot to learn from 2016,” he said.

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