If it seems like everyone you know was at Yellowstone National Park this summer, it’s probably because many of them were.
Yellowstone saw a record 921,844 visitors in August, according to the National Park Service (NPS). That brings the total tally of visitors in 2021 to above 3.5 million, putting this year on track to be the park’s busiest since 2016.
Yellowstone is one of the country’s most popular national parks. It’s also the most coveted park among Travel + Leisure readers, who named it their top pick in this year’s World’s Best Awards. It’s “the granddaddy of them all,” as one T+L reader put it.
At nearly 3,500 square miles, Yellowstone straddles Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It’s home to Old Faithful, one of the world’s most famous geysers, and offers endless opportunities to spot wildlife such as bison and elk. Visitors can swim in gentle rivers, camp under the stars, and bask in some of the best views in the U.S.
Yellowstone is also among the more accessible national parks in the U.S. Its wheelchair- and stroller-friendly trails earn it high marks with T+L readers.
Keep in mind that while the peak summer travel months are behind us, this doesn’t mean the park can accommodate spontaneous road trips. Travelers who haven’t already booked accommodations for fall visits could find themselves staying hours away, the NPS says.
Some roads in the park are already closed. Lodging near Old Faithful, as well as the Old Faithful Visitor Center, are scheduled to close on Nov. 7.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.