Last year broke records, but traffic is already up 21 percent at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2017

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A pond in Rocky Mountain National Park at dawn. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A pond in Rocky Mountain National Park at dawn. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The 2017 travel season is off to a busy start at Rocky Mountain National Park, which set a record for visitors last year.

Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said Tuesday visitor numbers in April were up 21 percent over the same month in 2016.

The park had a total of 4.5 million visitors in all of 2016, causing congestion and long lines on some weekends. From late June through September, rangers temporarily restricted traffic on most weekends in three popular areas: the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Alpine Visitor Center and the Wild Basin area.

Patterson says rangers will do the same this year at the 415-square-mile (1,075-square-kilometer) park near Colorado’s Front Range urban corridor.

Odessa Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Odessa Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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