News and Adventure from Glacier National Park
Grand Teton National Park hosted an estimated 603,789 recreation visits in September 2020, a 17% increase compared to September 2019. Park statistics show that September 2020 saw the highest number of recreation visits on record for the month of September. More data on National Park Service visitor-use statistics is available at irma.nps.gov/STATS/.
The list below shows the September trend for recreation visits over the last several years:
In general, hiking use in the park increased approximately 54%, camping in concession-operated campgrounds increased 24% and backcountry camping increased 79% in September 2020 compared to September 2019.
These numbers come as no surprise. We were in the park for a week during the middle of the month, and I came away thinking that the crowds were out of control. There were lines to get into the park just after 7 am each morning, and the parking areas at trailheads were filling-up not long afterwards. Almost everyday we drove past the Jenny Lake and Taggart Lake trailheads. Not only were the entire parking areas full, but there were vehicles parked on both sides of the road – for at least a quarter of a mile before and after the turn into those parking areas. After returning from our hike in the Laurence Rockefeller Reserve there was a line of cars waiting for a parking spot – likely a 30 to 60 minute wait for the cars at the back of the line. On our last day Lupine Meadows (the trailhead for Amphitheatre Lake, etc..) was filled with almost a hundred cars after we finished our hike. This was totally unexpected given how hard the hikes are from that trailhead.
Obviously Covid has disrupted travel patterns this year.
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