Yellowstone National Park nearly fully open after historic floods

It’s been just over four months since Yellowstone National Park sustained major damage from catastrophic flooding. Now, park leaders are celebrating a milestone in the recovery. After a key park entrance reopened yesterday, approximately 99% of roads throughout Yellowstone are now available for visitors to use.

Park officials kicked off the weekend by reopening the park’s Northeast Entrance Road in Montana. That entry point has been shut down since the 500-year flood event in mid-June.

⚠️10/13 FLOOD UPDATE⚠️
Yellowstone National Park’s Northeast Entrance Road (Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana) will open to regular visitor vehicle traffic Saturday, Oct.15 at 8 a.m.

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— Yellowstone National Park (@YellowstoneNPS) October 13, 2022

“We are very pleased to be restoring public access to the northeast corridor just four months after the June flood event,” park superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement last week.

Damage at Yellowstone National Park, June 2022. JACOB W. FRANK/NATIONAL PARK SERVICE/GETTY IMAGES

The damage stemmed from melting snow and what the NPS said was unprecedented rainfall amounts beginning June 12, with high waters triggering rockslides and erosion, and washing out sections of the road throughout the massive park, which touches portions of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Following an evacuation in June, the National Park Service temporarily shut down all of Yellowstone for the first time in decades as officials assessed the damage.

Ultimately, they found the worst destruction in the park’s north loop, which remained completely closed for weeks this summer, even as the park service reopened southern portions of the park to a limited number of visitors.

Park leaders warned in June that it would likely be a “substantial length of time” before visitors were able to return to portions of the north loop. Construction crews have been working since then to repair areas still hampered by damage.

The Northeast Entrance Road, which carries visitors into the park from Cooke City and Silver Gate in Montana, was among the areas of focus. Workers had to contend with five significantly damaged spots along the road.

Erosion near a section of road around the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park in June 2022. POOL/GETTY IMAGES

Now, with the vast majority of park roads reopened, just one key entrance remains closed.

Extensive work continues on Old Gardiner Road from the gateway community of Gardiner, Montana, at the park’s north entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs, park leaders said.

This was the stretch of Yellowstone that sustained the most severe damage this summer, officials said at the time, and reopening the north entrance was the “highest flood recovery priority.”

Still, it appears there’s optimism that the area will fully reopen soon. With work wrapping up at the north entrance, officials expect paving on the road will be complete and open once again to cars by Nov. 1. In the meantime, as long as you’re not in a car, you can fish, hike or otherwise visit this section of the park, as long as you stay away from areas specifically marked closed.

Related: Complete guide to visiting Yellowstone National Park

Flooding at Yellowstone National Park, June 2022. JACOB W. FRANK/NATIONAL PARK SERVICE/GETTY IMAGES

If you’re planning to visit Yellowstone National Park in the near future, be sure to check its alerts page before your arrival. This is where the National Park Service gives updates on which portions of the park are open and which have restrictions.

And when you do visit, keep in mind that while open, portions of the north loop may still be an active construction area, with repairs expected to last well into 2023. Despite continued repairs, operations at Yellowstone are beginning to look far more normal, four months after the historic flooding.

Featured photo by Kyle Stone/National Park Service via Getty Images.