Yellowstone National Park Warning Visitors of ‘Increased Avalanche Danger’

by Jon D. B.

Heads up! Yellowstone National Park‘s Public Affairs Office is warning visitors of an increased avalanche danger and is enacting road closures as a precaution.

As spring continues to bring a mixture of cold and warm weather fluctuations, Yellowstone National Park (YELL) is announcing an increase in avalanche danger. Heavy snowfall has packed the park in recent days, and warm weather is now moving in. As it does, the snow will begin to loosen and melt, creating a significant increase in avalanche danger.

Per their latest media release, YELL wishes for all visitors to “Anticipate temporary road closures on East Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park” due to this increased avalanche danger. If you’ll be visiting the park, please also “Stay informed about road status,” the park asks.

Yellowstone National Park: Avalanche Warning Details

  • The East Entrance Road between the East Entrance and Fishing Bridge will close for periods of time Monday, May 16 through Wednesday, May 18 because of increased avalanche danger from recent snowfall and warm temperatures
  • The road closed today, May 16, at 11 a.m. and will be closed until 7 p.m
  • Anticipate midday road closures on May 17 and May 18

Remember, conditions in Yellowstone can change quickly, especially during spring. Roads can also temporarily close at any time due to poor driving conditions. Drive slowly and with caution!

  • To stay informed about up-to-date road conditions in Yellowstone:
    • Visit Park Roads
    • Call (307) 344-2117
    • To receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone, text “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions)

To help fellow Outsiders enjoy and explore Yellowstone safely anytime of year, we’ve also gathered paramount park safety information:

Top Park Safety Tips to Abide By Year-Round

  • Give yourself time to adjust to high elevation. Most of the park lies more than a mile above sea level. Give yourself time to adjust to the elevation before engaging in any strenuous activity.
  • Never approach or feed wildlife. The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.
  • Stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas. Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature. Keep your children close and don’t let them run.
  • Use extreme caution with all bodies of water. More than 100 people have died in Yellowstone’s lakes and rivers. Cold water makes hypothermia a year-round risk, and spring snow melt makes rivers dangerous to cross. Read more hypothermia and stream crossings on YELL’s backcountry safety page.
  • Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass. Stay with your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam.
  • Beware of dead trees. Wildfires have left thousands of standing dead trees that can fall with little or no warning. In 2015, a falling tree killed someone on a hill near the Midway Geyser Basin. Avoid areas with large numbers of dead trees, and watch for dead trees along trails and roads, or in campsites and picnic areas.

For more park guidelines and safety tips, visit our Yellowstone National Park Safety: Best Practices to Safely Explore the First National Park before your next trip to the world’s first national park.