Yellowstone’s East Entrance Road Opens For Winter Season
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
The East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park opened to guided oversnow travel by snowcoach and snowmobile at about 3 p.m. today. The opening of this road was delayed due to avalanche danger. The rest of the interior of the park opened to commercially guided snowcoach or snowmobile trips over snow covered, groomed roads on Wednesday, December 20.
Heavy snow and high winds on Friday, December 15 left dangerous avalanche conditions across the region. Commercial electrical service to much of the interior of the park was knocked out until Saturday evening or Sunday morning. This past week, two snowmobile riders died in avalanches outside Cooke City, Montana, and in the Salt River Range forty miles south of Jackson, Wyoming.
A helicopter avalanche control mission conducted today by Minuteman Aviation of Missoula, Montana, was successful in reducing the danger to those traveling through the twenty avalanche zones on Sylvan Pass. This was the first day since the storm that both a helicopter and crew were available and that weather conditions were favorable to conduct an avalanche control mission.
Use of a howitzer to control the avalanche danger in Sylvan Pass is restricted to emergency situations only, as employees have to cross four avalanche zones just to reach the cannon.
This is the third year the park will operate under temporary regulations which include the use of cleaner, quieter snowmobiles, daily entrance limits, and all-guided access.
The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, to the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City, Montana, is open all year to automobile traffic.
Xanterra Parks and Resorts provides lodging, food service, cross-country ski rentals and lessons, snowmobile rentals and snowcoach tours of the park. Details are available online at
Information on other authorized winter operations providing snowmobile and snowcoach trips into the park is available on the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/wintbusn.htm or by calling the park’s Business Management Office at (307) 344-2271.
Visitor centers will be open at West Yellowstone, Old Faithful and Mammoth. Naturalist-led activities and evening programs will be available throughout the winter. Information on programs is contained in the park winter newspaper available at entrance stations and visitors centers, or by calling (307) 344-2251.
Visitors are encouraged to call park headquarters at (307) 344-2117 for the latest road and weather conditions.
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.