History and Culture

100 Years in Yellowstone – Then and Now

The National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016. In the years since the NPS took over park management, Yellowstone National Park has changed profoundly. Here's how things looked in 1916 compared to 2016.

Number of Visitors

Early Yellowstone visitors at Handkerchief Pool (1923)
Early Yellowstone visitors at Handkerchief Pool (1923) National Park Service
A crowd watches Old Faithful erupt on a summer afternoon.
A crowd watches Old Faithful erupt on a summer afternoon. NPS Jacob W Frank
2016 1916
4,257,177
park visitors
35,849
park visitors

Train Stations

A stagecoach leaving the Gardiner train station headed to Yellowstone (1904)
A stagecoach leaving the Gardiner train station headed to Yellowstone (1904) National Park Service
2016 1916
0
train stations at entrance towns
5
train stations, the closest being Gardiner and West Yellowstone

Cost of Hotel

The Old Faithful Inn in 1912
The Old Faithful Inn in 1912 National Park Service
Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn at night
Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn current day Grant Ordelheide
2016 1916
$208
for a standard hotel room in Old Faithful Inn
$50
for an all-inclusive 5.25-day package that included lodging, meals and stagecoach tours

Park Roads

A car stuck on a muddy road in Yellowstone (1925)
A car stuck on a muddy road in Yellowstone (1925) Photo: National Park Service
Yellowstone's East Entrance Road over Sylvan Pass
Yellowstone’s East Entrance Road over Sylvan Pass current day NPS/Neal Herbert
2016 1916
310
miles of paved roads
0
miles of paved roads

Entrance Fees

Cars driving under the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone's north entrance (1924)
Cars driving under the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone’s north entrance (1924)National Park Service
Car driving under Roosevelt Arch in 2016
Car driving under Roosevelt Arch in 2016NPS/Neal Herbert
2016 1916
$30
park entrance fee
$5-10
park entrance fee, depending on the number of seats in your car

Park Rangers

A Yellowstone park ranger feeding a marmot in the 1930s
A Yellowstone park ranger feeding a marmot in the 1930sNational Park Service
Park Ranger Heather Basak at Palette Spring in Yellowstone
Park Ranger Heather Basak at Palette Spring, current dayNPS/Jacob W Frank
2016 1916
800
park rangers
~25
park rangers

Park Lodges

Yellowstone's Mammoth Hotel in 1913
Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hotel in 1913National Park Service
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, current dayJeff Vanuga
2016 1916
9
park lodges
8
park lodges

Number of Months Open to Visitors

Removing the snow with hand shovels on Swan Lake Flat (no date)
Removing the snow with hand shovels on Swan Lake Flat (no date)National Park Service
Snowplowing Madison to Old Faithful in Yellowstone
Snowplowing Madison to Old Faithful, current dayNPS/David Restivo
2016 1916
12
months open to park visitors
2.5
months open to park visitors (June 15-Sept. 1)

Number of National Park Sites

\
\”Half Dome, Apple Orchard, Yosemite” Ansel Adams, April 1933
2016 1916
410
national park sites across the nation
30
national park sites across the nation

Number of Wolves in the Park

Yellowstone rangers with coyote pelts in 1927
Yellowstone rangers with coyote pelts in 1927National Park Service
2016 1916
99
wolves in the park
Darn-near 0
wolves in the park, according to park historian Lee Whittlesey