Yellowstone National Park is reopening more roadways after historic flooding ravaged the area. But, there are still areas visitors cannot access.
The park is reopening its North Loop from Norris Junction to Canyon Junction. This includes access to Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt. The opening means visitors can access the northern and southern loops of Yellowstone National Park via the East Entrance in Cody, Wyoming; the West Entrance in West Yellowstone, Montana; and the South Entrance in Grand Teton/Jackson, Wyoming.
“We’re pleased to reopen the North Loop of Yellowstone to the visiting public less than 3 weeks after this major flood event,” said superintendent Cam Sholly. “We have attempted to balance major recovery efforts while reopening as much of the park as possible. We have greatly appreciated the tremendous support of the Department of the Interior; National Park Service; Federal Highway Administration; and our congressional, community, county, and state partners.”
The North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, remains closed to cars while repairs continue along that stretch of road. Visitors can, however, access the area on foot; park officials are still determining if bicycle traffic is safe. Crews are working to repair damage to the roads connecting Yellowstone to Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate.
The backcountry in the northern loop also remains closed due to hazardous conditions along the trails and bridges. Park officials say it will reopen as repairs are completed. The backcountry in the southern part of the park is now open, however, some trails and campsites are still closed due to high water.
License Plate System Suspended
Park officials are suspending the Alternating License Plate System (ALPS). This system allowed visitors to access the park based on the last digit of their license plate, alternating between even and odd days. Officials say the system worked well to limit day use within the park as it reopened the southern loop.
But, now that a majority of the northern loop is open, officials say they no longer need to moderate vehicular use. Park officials say they will continue to monitor capacity and its effect on the park and adjust as necessary.
Intense rain combined with higher-than-normal snow runoff caused massive flooding in Yellowstone on June 12. Mudslides, rushing high water, and rockslides damaged roads, power lines, and other critical infrastructure within the park — cutting off some areas completely.
The flooding caused the park to close for the first time in decades. Since then, crews have been working to repair roads and were able to reopen the southern portion of the park less than 3 weeks after the flooding event.
Park officials urge visitors to stay connected on repairs and closures via the park’s official website.