Year-to-date visitation is up 3.5 percent after another busy month in Glacier National Park.
This week, the park service released monthly visitation data that showed more than 488,000 people came to the park in September, a 12.5 percent increase over the same month last year. So far this year, 2.9 million people have come to the park, a 3.5 percent jump over last year.
The strong September numbers come on the heels of a busy August, when more than 771,000 people visited Northwest Montana’s most iconic destination.
Just two months ago, year-to-date visitation was down more than 3 percent, with 1.6 million people coming to the park between January and July.
One likely reason for the spike in August and September visitation is that for the first time in three years, the park did not have a major wildfire. In 2017, the Sprague Fire shut down part of the park and destroyed the beloved Sperry Chalet, and in 2018, the Howe Ridge Fire forced a large evacuation of the Lake McDonald Valley.
The west entrance was again the post popular gateway to the park, with 219,262 people entering at West Glacier. More than 106,000 visited St. Mary and 64,200 came to Many Glacier.