Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) set a record attendance in 2016 with over 4.5 million visits to the park. An 8.7 percent increase from 2015. Within 2016, all months except December set monthly visitation records. These final numbers represent a 32 percent increase since 2014, and a 40 percent increase since 2012. RMNP was the third most visited National Park behind Great Smoky Mountain and Grand Canyon. Many other national parks in the Rocky Mountain West also had increases in visitation last year as the National Park Service celebrated its Centennial in 2016.
According to Kyle Patterson with the Park, "Determining visitation is a difficult and imprecise effort. Visitation statistics are reliably accurate estimates and help park managers see overall trends. Fall visitation, particularly on weekends, continues to increase at Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter weekend visitation also continues to increase. The top ten busiest days in 2016 in order from first to tenth were: September 24, July 3, September 4, September 17, July 24, July 10, July 17, September 5, July 23 and July 30."
The park is 415 square miles with over 300 miles of hiking trails that venture into the back country. RMNP also has over 450 miles of fishable water including the headwaters of the Colorado River, Big Thompson River, and the Cache La Poudre. Anglers can find native cutthroat trout (Greenback on the East side and Colorado on the West), brown trout and brook trout.
Plentiful fishing opportunities and wildlife sightings are a big reason why so many people visit this public lands haven every year.