Spring Plowing Begins in Yellowstone
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
Spring Plowing To Begin In Yellowstone National Park
The winter season is drawing to a close in Yellowstone National Park. Limited, managed snowmobile and snowcoach travel on the park's interior roads ends between March 1 and March 15. Once the roads close to oversnow travel, crews begin to clear them of snow so they can reopen to automobile travel in the spring.
Oversnow travel from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris Junction; and from the park's East Entrance to Fishing Bridge ends Sunday evening, March 1. Travel between Madison, Norris, and Canyon ends Tuesday evening, March 3. Oversnow travel on the road from Canyon through the Hayden Valley to Fishing Bridge concludes Sunday night, March 8. Travel from West Yellowstone and the South Entrance to Old Faithful ends Sunday evening, March 15.
The road from Gardiner, Montana, through the park's North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year, weather permitting.
The park's interior roads reopen to automobile travel between mid-April and the end of May. The first to reopen are the roads from Yellowstone’s North and West Entrances to Norris, Madison, Canyon and Old Faithful, which open to visitors on Friday, April 17. The road linking Canyon, Fishing Bridge and the East Entrance opens on Friday, May 1. Travel from the South Entrance to Grant, West Thumb and Fishing Bridge is set to begin Friday, May 8, with travel from West Thumb over Craig Pass to Old Faithful expected to begin shortly thereafter, once repairs are completed on the Isa Lake Bridge. Travel from Cooke City over Colter Pass to the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and the Long Lake gate typically also opens by mid-May. The balance of the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge, Montana, and the road between Tower Fall and Canyon over Dunraven Pass opens the Friday before the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, weather permitting.
A brief spring bicycling season is offered on some park roads after the plows safely clear traffic lanes and before the roads are ready for automobile travel. Details are available online at www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm
Visitors to Yellowstone will be impacted by one major road construction project this year between Madison and Norris through Gibbon Canyon. Visitors can expect up to 30-minute delays from the time the road opens to travel April 17 on through the summer. This section of road will also be closed to travel between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. every night from May 26 through August 16. Removal of an existing bridge and construction of a new span will require the road to be completely closed to all travel beginning August 17 until it reopens to snowmobile and snowcoach travel in December.
During this period, visitors should allow extra travel time in case they need to reroute through West Thumb and Canyon. Maps and additional construction details will be available at all visitor centers and online at www.nps.gov/yell. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
- www.nps.gov/yell -
Producers/Editors note: Publication quality digital still images of park crews clearing snow from Sylvan Pass in April 2008 are available upon request.
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.