Rocky Mountain National Park's 2011 Visitation Up 6.6 Percent to 3.3 Million

Perhaps it was good weather, perhaps simply the lure of the mountains, but visitation to Rocky Mountain National Park last year reached 3.3 million, an increase of 6.6 percent over 2010 levels, according to park officials.

That total was roughly 44,000 off from the record year of 2000, when Rocky Mountain counted 3.38 million, officials said.

They're quick to note, though, that "gathering park visitation statistics is not an exact science. Counters and formulas are used to collect data at a variety of locations on the east and west sides of the park to assist in estimating park visitation. Longs Peak and Wild Basin area traffic counts were corrected in 2011, which has helped with the increase in visitation."

According to the park's visitation trends, July is the most visited month in Rocky Mountain National Park, followed by August, September and June. October and May can also see many visitors but are very weather- dependent, park officials say.

This year Rocky Mountain personnel are further refining their counting approach by conducting a person per vehicle study, and changing some sites where visitor estimates are calculated to improve data collection.