Rocky Mountain National Park sets another visitor record

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (AP) — A record 4.5 million people visited Rocky Mountain National Park in 2016, an increase of 8.7 percent over the previous year.

The park said Tuesday that visitor numbers were up 40 percent since 2012.

Rocky was the third most-visited national park in the country in 2015, after Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon. The 2016 rankings weren't available.

Last year, park managers restricted vehicle access on the busiest days on two heavily traveled roads, to Bear Lake and in the Wild Basin area. Officials say they'll continue addressing overcrowding issues.

The 415-square-mile park is near Colorado's Front Range urban corridor, including Denver, population 683,000.

Autumn is becoming one of the park's most popular seasons because of the changing colors and the distinctive mating call of bull elk, called bugling.

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