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Rockslide Temporarily Closes Road Between  Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction

Large boulder fills one traffic lane as an NPS employee looks on.
A car-sized boulder rests on a section of road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction
NPS Photo By Dan Hottle

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News Release Date: May 28, 2011
Contact: Al Nash or Dan Hottle, (307) 344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
     
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2011–10AM   11-048        
Al Nash or Dan Hottle (307) 344-2015

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
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Rockslide Temporarily Closes Road Between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction

A rockslide has temporarily closed the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park.  

Rocks and debris were discovered early Saturday morning, covering a section of road at the entrance to Blacktail Plateau Drive, about eight miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs. The road is not expected to reopen to travel Saturday.

While much of the debris covering the road was cleared by 9:00 a.m., park managers remain concerned about the threat posed by a large amount of loose rock and dirt above the roadway, which could easily dislodge and fall. Engineers with the Federal Highway Administration are being brought in to assess the condition of the road.

Barricades have been set-up on both sides of the slide area. The road is currently open for emergency travel only. It is unknown when the road may be safe to reopen to travel by area residents, visitors, and park employees. The cause of the early morning rockslide is unknown.  

Because the road between Tower Junction and Canyon has not yet opened for the season, the road closure temporarily cuts off the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, from most of the park. Residents and visitors can travel between Cooke City and Cody, Wyoming over Wyoming 296, the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.

Travel in Yellowstone is being impacted by cold, wet weather which is forecast for the holiday weekend. Two feet of new snow was reported Saturday morning at Craig Pass on the road linking Old Faithful and West Thumb. A foot of new snow fell overnight on Sylvan Pass on the park’s East Entrance Road, and six inches of new snow was recorded at Canyon Village. This has resulted in some temporary weather-related road closures on some park road segments.

Elsewhere in and around the park:

- The North, West, and South entrances to the Yellowstone National Park are open, with roads in the park subject to temporary closures due to snow and ice.

- Unstable snow conditions and the threat of snow slides continue to limit travel on the East Entrance road through Sylvan Pass to between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.

- The Beartooth Highway which links the park’s Northeast Entrance with the community of Red Lodge Montana has yet to open for the season and is closed between Red Lodge and the junction of US-212 and WY-296.

Information on park road conditions is available 24 hours a day by calling the park’s road information hotline at 307-344-2117.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

Did You Know?

Seventh Cavalry Ensignia Pin.

Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.