It was a trying summer for officials at Yellowstone National Park and visitors alike.
First, Yellowstone received record rainfall in June, triggering unprecedented flooding. Then, due to the resulting extensive damage, the park closed all five of its entrances.
Over the summer, roads and entrances have slowly reopened as the road is finished. Now, Yellowstone’s Northeast Entrance Road — from Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana — has reopened as well.
Consequently, 99 percent of Yellowstone’s roads have now reopened.
“We are very pleased to be restoring public access to the northeast corridor just four months after the June flood event,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. “I commend the collective efforts of the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, and Oftedal Construction [the primary construction company working under contract to complete the project] to complete this monumental task in such a short amount of time.”
A Historic Weather Event
Last June, the combination of more than 3 inches of rain and warm overnight temperatures melted a large amount of snow. That, in turn, led to historic flooding.
Indeed, fast-moving flood waters 3 feet deep or deeper quickly swept away bridges, damaged roads, and knocked out power. Resulting mudslides further damaged and blocked roads.
Consequently, park officials closed all of Yellowstone’s entrances on June 13.
A Gradual Reopening
After roads had been cleared, repaired, or both, park officials quickly began reopening them, beginning in the southern section of the park.
All flood-damaged sections of the Northeast Entrance Road are also now paved except for a stretch of road near the popular Trout Lake trailhead. That section will be paved soon, according to the National Park Service.
Secondly, although a short section of the road in Lamar Canyon is paved, it will remain a single-lane road through the winter season.
Finally, while there are no restrictions on the Northeast Entrance Road, it will remain an active construction zone while roadwork continues. Those efforts will continue as long as weather permits. Drivers will need to use caution around work crews and heavy construction equipment.
Know Before You Go
If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone soon, keep in mind that the North Entrance Road (Gardiner, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs) is still closed to vehicles while temporary road work continues. The road is, however, open to approved commercial tours, bicycles, and foot traffic.
The North Entrance Road is scheduled to reopen to regular traffic no later than November 1, 2022, although, additional work may be completed after if the weather allows, according to the National Park Service.
You can learn more about the status of park roads and road construction in Yellowstone here.
Be sure to also check out the rest of our Yellowstone content, including: