Yellowstone National Park’s Iconic Hotel Won’t Take Guests This Winter: Here’s Why

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by: Jerry Lee Whaley/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Yellowstone National Park‘s historic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will not accept overnight guests this winter. The hotel received damage during significant flooding in June, park officials announced Wednesday, and therefore it must be closed.

The hotel was slated to open for the winter season on Dec. 15 and close out the season on March 6, 2023, according to Yellowstone National Park Lodges. The facility regularly draws in park guests during the winter season. The winter season lasts from December through March every year.

However, it will not allow any overnight guests or food services this winter. The park’s wastewater system was heavily damaged, park officials said.

However, the hotel’s lobby, gift shop, ski shop and coffee/beverage services will be available this winter. Winter tours and snowcoach service will not be impacted by the partial closure, either.

“The hotel concessioner is in the process of notifying guests with reservations about the situation,” officials said in a statement.

The current building dates back to 1938. It was originally built in the area of a hotel that predated it by decades. The National Hotel first opened in 1883, taking in visitors who arrived by horse-drawn stagecoaches, according to the park service.

History of Yellowstone National Park’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

The hotel went through one renovation in 1913. Then, architect Robert Reamer “essentially cut the hotel in two — leaving the dining room separate from the new lobby and map room and the 1913 east guest room wing,” the agency wrote.

The park service also completed an “extensive” $30 million rehabilitation and renovation in 2019.

However, June’s heavy flooding in the northern portion of the park near Mammoth Springs damaged roads and ruptured an important sewer line. Park officials explained that crews were able to reroute wastewater to percolator ponds. These ponds had been previously used between the 1930s and 1960s, which allowed for some hotel functions to continue after it was initially closed.

The problem is that it is “not ready to support hotel operations” in the winter, they explained. Park officials said that they hope to have the hotel can reopen by Spring 2023.

Wednesday’s announcement comes a week after officials reopened the park’s North Entrance for the first time since June. Old Gardiner Road also reopened after significant repairs.

The Mammoth area exhibits much evidence of glacial activity from the Pinedale Glaciation. The summit of Terrace Mountain also remains covered with glacial till. That dates the formation there to earlier than the end of the Pinedale Glaciation. Several glacial landforms, including Capitol Hill and Dude Hill, are major features of the Mammoth Village area. 

The Mammoth Hotel, as well as all of Fort Yellowstone, is built upon an old terrace formation that’s known as Hotel Terrace.