Tourist Tourism Yellowstone National Park File

A tourist takes advantage of the sun to photograph the Ledge Geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin in this May 2018 photo.

Yellowstone National Park recorded its third-busiest May on record, marking the beginning of what’s likely to be another busy summer season.

Park statisticians recorded a total of 434,385 visits during the month, a slight decrease from 2018, which was the busiest May on record with more than 446,000 visits.

It brings total visits for the year to 576,776, which is up 1% from the first five months of 2018. It’s 11% higher than 2015, the first year annual visitation topped 4 million.

Annual park visitation has topped 4 million each year since, and the start to this year suggests 2019 won’t be any different. Only one year has had higher visitation through the first five months of the year — 2016, when a record 4.2 million visits were counted.

Summertime is the busiest part of the year for Yellowstone. Each of the past three Junes has seen more than 800,000 visits. July is typically the busiest month, with totals beyond 900,000 in the past three years.

Park officials said in a news release announcing the numbers that people need to plan their visits ahead of time, and expect delays and limited parking at popular spots. All roads have opened, but that can change with inclement weather.

Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.