The National Park Service makes available all sorts of data about camping and lodging in the park system. If one were so inclined, they could dive deeply into the numbers, swim around for a little bit and emerge with an understanding of trends that might lead to being able to camp in popular parks without the headache of fighting crowds. Jordan Vincent, a designer based in the Bay Area was so inclined. He analyzed data from the years 2013-2018 and plotted the amount of nights visitors spent in each park.
Vincent didn’t just look at visitation numbers, necessarily, either. He also compiled weather data to get hard numbers about how seasonal changes in temperatures and conditions affect how many people spend the night in parks, and whether they typically do so in tents, RVs, or permanent lodges.
Even further, Vincent divided his chart by four different regions, or topographies: Mountain (ex: Grand Teton, Wyoming), Tundra (Glacier Bay, Alaska), Desert (Grand Canyon, Arizona), Tropical (Everglades, Florida), Coast (Redwood, California), Continental (Acadia, Maine).
A quick glance at each park in the chart quickly shows which months are the most popular and for which kind of camping. Color coding of types of lodging reveal that, but they also show average temperature ranges. So, if you’re looking for somewhere free of crowds in September, for example, a quick glance shows that Glacier National Park’s September camping numbers drop way off from their high in August and that for the first couple weeks of the month temperatures average above 70 degrees. Jeez, that sounds ideal, actually.
As mentioned, Vincent is a designer by profession, so the chart looks great. He’s selling posters of the chart on his website, 24 x 36 inches, for $25, here.