The East Entrance saw 401,188 visitors. Meanwhile, the North Entrance had 682,280; Northeast Entrance, 217,631; West Entrance, 1,394,105 and the South Entrance, 699,114 visitors.
More than one-fourth of the park’s total annual visitation was recorded in July, with 906,934 visits.
December 2011 visitation was down 5 percent compared to December 2010, with 16,509 and 17,386 visitors respectively.
The last time the park recorded fewer than 3 million annual recreational visits was in 2006, with 2.87 million.
The number of sightseers to Yellowstone has increased dramatically over the years.
According to numbers posted by the National Park Service Public Use Statistics Office, the park saw a total of 13,727 visitors in 1904.
“It was kind of hard to get here then,” said Al Nash, park spokesman.
There were few roads to the park in the early 20th century, and even fewer in the 19th century.
Visitors to Yellowstone in the early years were locals driving a horse and wagon or the affluent, who arrived by train as close to the park as possible before hiring a horse and wagon, Nash said.
Yellowstone had a reputation for abysmal roads. Even outdoorsy Rudyard Kipling complained during his 1889 sojourn to Yellowstone, Nash said.
In 1948, Yellowstone hit the 1 million mark for the first time. Post World War II Americans had more disposable income, and wartime gas rationing was no longer an issue.
“Now we see almost that many in July,” Nash said.
From 1948 on, the numbers grew exponentially year by year. By 1965, a little more than 2 million people visited the park.