Of the 60 National Parks in the United States, Glacier National Park ranks an impressive 10th place for recreational visits. This number has more meaning than most people realize, it is high enough in the rankings to indicate strong popularity, especially among hikers, but not so high that visitors will be contending with excessive crowds.

Although the park was established on May 11, 1910, there are no firm data for recreational visits, but general census was that of a low number, likely due to The Big Blowup where over three million acres burned in Idaho and Montana.

From 1910, when President Taft first signed the bill establishing Glacier as the country’s 10th national park, to 1920, the park was hosting over 22,000 visitors.

Despite WWI, Prohibition in the United States and the Stock Market crash of 1929, park attendance continued to rise, and by 1930, recreational visits rose to 73,000.

Some interesting statistics moving forward include a dip in attendance the year the Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed (1932), and a rise during the year that marks a record number of fires in Glacier National Park (1936).

The second World War had a much bigger impact on attendance than WWI. From the Park’s highest numbers just preceding the war to a shattering 23,000 in 1943. But things quickly returned to normal the year immediately following the end of WWII with attendance reaching 200,000 visitors in 1946 and 327,000 in 1947.

In 1949, when Harry S. Truman unveils Fair Deal Program, the Park’s numbers shot through the roof, surpassing 900,000 visitors and hovered around that number for the next 20 years.

In 1969, for the first time in park history, Glacier National Park broke the 1 Million Visitor mark. Continuing this trend until 1983 when the Park would see 2,000,000 recreation visitors, coincidentally the same year World Communications Year begins.

For the next few years, attendance would dip and rise until 1991, the end of the Gulf War, when the Park would again reach 2,000,000 visitors.

From 1995 until 2011, recreational visits would fluctuate along side major events in history such as; the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Massive Ice Storm in Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States, Columbine High School Massacre, September 11 Attacks, Iraq War, Facebook, 1st female Speaker of the House, Black Monday in Worldwide Stock Markets, Barack Obama Administration, Removal of HIV Infection from list of Communicable Diseases, the Fidel Castro resignation, and the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces.

By 2012, visitor counts would remain above two million, most notably in 2016 when the National Park Service turned 100. And by 2017, for the first time, National Glacier Park exceeds 3,000,000 visitors.

How do these numbers stack up to other parks across the nation?

Glacier National Park currently ranks #10 out of the 61 national parks in the United States

Glacier National Park Recreational Visits (1910-2018)

Year
Recreation Visitors
1910
+ −
1911
4,000
1912
6,257
1913
12,138
1914
14,168
1915
14,265
1916
12,839
1917
18,387
1918
9,086
1919
18,956
1920
22,449
1921
19,736
1922
23,935
1923
33,988
1924
33,372
1925
40,063
1926
37,325
1927
41,745
1928
53,454
1929
70,742
1930
73,776
1931
63,497
1932
53,202
1933
76,715
1934
116,965
1935
143,240
1936
210,072
1937
194,522
1938
153,528
1939
170,073
1940
177,307
1941
178,449
1942
62,196
1943
23,908
1944
35,857
1945
67,942
1946
200,547
1947
327,300
1948
284,549
1949
964,416
1950
482,298
1951
496,142
1952
649,689
1953
633,480
1954
608,200
1955
674,100
1956
718,900
1957
759,200
1958
706,800
1959
722,300
1960
724,500
1961
740,000
1962
966,100
1963
810,200
1964
642,200
1965
847,100
1966
907,800
1967
884,000
1968
964,500
1969
1,051,200
1970
1,241,600
1971
1,302,200
1972
1,391,299
1973
1,397,800
1974
1,405,500
1975
1,570,000
1976
1,661,200
1977
1,654,500
1978
1,582,632
1979
1,446,086
1980
1,474,578
1981
1,786,523
1982
1,666,114
1983
2,203,847
1984
1,946,703
1985
1,603,011
1986
1,579,151
1987
1,660,737
1988
1,817,733
1989
1,821,523
1990
1,986,737
1991
2,096,966
1992
2,199,767
1993
2,141,704
1994
2,152,989
1995
1,839,518
1996
1,720,805
1997
1,708,856
1998
1,830,944
1999
1,684,604
2000
1,728,693
2001
1,680,614
2002
1,905,689
2003
1,664,046
2004
2,033,933
2005
1,925,101
2006
1,964,399
2007
2,083,329
2008
1,808,027
2009
2,031,348
2010
2,200,048
2011
1,853,564
2012
2,162,035
2013
2,190,374
2014
2,338,528
2015
2,366,056
2016
2,946,681
2017
3,305,512
2018
2,965,309

References: Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA), Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia), Google Arts & Culture, On This Day, National Park Service