Roads are Closing in Yellowstone National Park Again, Here’s What You Need to Know

by Jon D. B.
roads-closing-in-yellowstone-national-park-again-heres-what-you-need-to-know
Yellowstone National Park, Dunraven Pass. (Photo credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank)

As heavy snowfall approaches, visiting Yellowstone National Park (YELL) in the off-season becomes a bit tricky as road closures begin.

October is still a wonderful time to visit the world’s first national park. Crowds have thinned out considerably, and many animals flourish in their absence. Fall also brings vibrant shades of gold and yellow to the landscape, enhancing the famous, centuries-old name of the park.

Making a trip happen in October-on, however, does come with its challenges. As the snowy season (which lasts for 8 months in Yellowstone National Park) heads in, park road closures begin.

The following roads in Yellowstone National Park will be closed to public vehicle traffic beginning on the following dates:

  • Beartooth Highway (US-212) between Red Lodge, Montana, and Cooke City, Montana closes October 11
    • Located outside the park’s Northeast Entrance in Cooke City, Montana, the park maintains a section of the highway between Cooke City and the Wyoming/Montana state line
    • Visit MT DOT and WY DOT for details
  • Tower Fall to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass) will remain open through Oct. 31 unless snow accumulates on the roadway and causes it to close sooner
    • Be sure to check park conditions & closures ahead of visiting
  • Yellowstone Roads Closing on Nov. 1 include:
    • West Entrance to Madison Junction
    • Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful
    • Norris to Canyon Village
    • East Entrance to Lake Village (Sylvan Pass)  
    • Canyon Village to Lake Village
    • South Entrance to West Thumb
    • Lake Village to West Thumb
    • West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass)

Road Recoveries and Reopening after Historic Flood Event

In typical years, the road between Yellowstone National Park’s North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, and the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana (via Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction and Lamar Valley), is open year-round. However, the catastrophic flood event of June 2022 completely destroyed large sections of the road, closing it down.

A lot has happened in the time since, as we cover in our Yellowstone National Park Pushes Back Full Reopening from Flood Damage: Report.

According to the park’s latest statement, “The road between the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs will open no later than Nov. 1, 2022, to regular traffic.”

In addition, “The road between Tower Junction and the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana, is expected to open on Oct. 15, 2022 to regular traffic,” YELL continues.

How to Stay Informed on Yellowstone National Park Road Conditions Ahead of Your Visit

For road condition updates and to ensure your visit to Yellowstone goes smoothly:

  • Visit YELL’s Park Roads website here
  • Call (307) 344-2117 for recorded information
  • Receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone by texting “82190” to 888-777
    • an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions

Stay safe out there during snowy conditions, Outsiders. For more help planning your ultimate Yellowstone excursion, see our Top 10 Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park next.

Outsider.com