Although not as dramatic of numbers as its big brother Yellowstone up north, Grand Teton National Park posted its second busiest September on record.
Grand Teton National Park hosted an estimated 570,584 recreation visits during September which was a 10% increase over September 2019 and 5.5% less than September 2020, the park reported in a news release.
Year-to-date visitation is at 3,493,938 for 2021, compared to 2,820,010 for 2020.
Camping in the park increased 25% in September compared to 2019 with 74,348 overnight stays. This is the first year that the park implemented a reservation-only system for all its campgrounds.
Backcountry camping increased 49% in September 2021 with 7,229 camper nights compared to 2019’s 4,837 backcountry camper nights. Trail use in the park increased 30% in September compared to 2019 for the trails where use is counted.
“Park staff are analyzing data and studies conducted over the summer to better understand changing visitation trends in Grand Teton,” the park said. “Historically, July and August have been the busiest months of the year at the park. Recent trends include increased visitation in the spring and fall.”
"With the growth in visitation during the past two years, Grand Teton park staff initiated several studies this summer considering changing visitation, including visitor-use and experience studies at Colter Bay, Taggart and Lupine Meadows trailheads. The studies surveyed visitors in these areas “to gain a better understanding of visitor demographics, visitor expectations, and more,” the park said.
Park researchers also placed a variety of vehicle movement monitoring equipment in the park through mid-August.
The end of October marks the winding down and closing of many park facilities. The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center will remain open through Oct. 31. The Teton Park Road and Moose-Wilson Road will close to vehicle traffic for the season on Nov. 1. Beginning Nov. 1, visitors may walk or bike on these roads, as conditions allow, until the status changes to over-snow access, the park said.