Heck, it was enough of a challenge just getting to the Park. Heavy rains on already-soaked land forced Montana officials to close two lanes of I-90 between Livingston and Laurel and refusing access to heavy vehicles. That route was essential to anyone wanting to enter the Park from the north, as access via the Northeast Entrance and the East Entrance was limited.
You won’t be able to access the Park from the Northeast Entrance, as a section of the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction has been closed since Saturday morning due to a rock slide (shown above). No new material has fallen since the original slide was discovered early Saturday, just east of Blacktail Plateau Drive. A group including park geologists and representatives of the Federal Highway Administration examined the slide area Tuesday. Based on their analysis and recommendations, park managers are implementing a plan to monitor the situation, clear the remaining debris, and install warning and no-stopping signs with hopes of reopening the road to travel by Friday.
This road closure has basically cut off Cooke City from the Park unless residents were willing to drive around to Cody and then enter the East Entrance during its limited open hours (US-212 to US-296 to WY-120). The other option is opening the Dunraven Pass to allow access from the Lamar Valley to Canyon via Tower, but that could happen sooner than later: with crews diverted from the Beartooth Highway plowing to handle the opening of the Dunraven Pass, the road between Tower Junction and Canyon Village could open to travel by this weekend.
The East Entrance is open only from 8 p.m.- 10 a.m. due to potentially hazardous conditions on the Sylvan Pass. And we’ve written about the potential delays at Sedge Bay on the road between Fishing Bridge and the East Entrance, as road crews attempt to repair problems caused by erosion.
Still, if you’re planning on a trip to Yellowstone in the next several days, be warned the weather will likely have a huge impact. There’s rain and snow in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, and any accumulation could mean creeks and rivers overflowing their banks and temporary road closures due to snow and ice. Campground openings have been delayed and could be delayed further due to weather. On the plus side, sun and warmer temps are forecast for the weekend.
Image by Dan Hottle, courtesy of the National Park Service.
RELATED STORIES: Yellowstone’s Mammoth-Tower Road to Remain Closed Indefinitely; Planning Your Memorial Day Weekend Yellowstone Visit; Opening of Beartooth Highway Delayed; Cooke City/Chief Joseph Highway Link Now Open; Sylvan Pass Closed Indefinitely; Snow Causes Other Damage in Yellowstone; Snow Still Factor in Slow Yellowstone Spring, as South Entrance Opens Tomorrow