Your last chance to drive through much of Yellowstone National Park for the summer season comes this weekend, with most park roads slated to close on Monday, Nov. 4, at 8 a.m.
If you go for that one last visit to Old Faithful, you’ll probably have much of the Park to yourself. Most services have closed for the season — you can see a list of what’s open and closed here — with remaining activity limited to Mammoth’s Albright Visitor Center, General Store, and the Mammoth Hotel (including services like the Map Room Barista/Bar, Dining Room and Gift Shop). In the Old Faithful area, the Snow Lodge Geyser Grill Fast Food/Bear Den Gift Shop remains open this weekend. In addition, the Canyon Visitor Education Center and Old Faithful Visitor Center are open. If cold-weather camping is your thing, the Lewis Lake is open through Nov. 3.
Yes, we know a reference to the “summer season” is a little misleading. Especially when the weather forecast is mixed: although temps are forecast on the very cold side for late October / early November, the forecast does not call for any snow until Monday. There have been several short road closures in Yellowstone this October due to snow and winter conditions, with the Beartooth Highway and the Dunraven Pass closed early for the season as a result.
You’ll still be able to drive into Yellowstone National Park past this weekend, as the road between the North and Northeast Entrance, serving Mammoth Hot Springs, the Lamar Valley, Silver Gate and Cooke City, is open year-round. But popular areas like Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone will be inaccessible to cars.
After a short break, the 2019-2020 Yellowstone winter season launches on December 15, when most roads will open to oversnow travel by snowmobile and snowcoach at 8 a.m. (The East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook road along the Sylvan Pass opens Dec. 22.) There will be limited services opening on December 15, including Mammoth’s Albright Visitor Center, General Store, and the Mammoth Hotel (including services like the Map Room Barista/Bar, Dining Room and Gift Shop), the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, the Snow Lodge Geyser Grill Fast Food/Bear Den Gift Shop, and Old Faithful Visitor Center. (You can see a list of what’s open and closed here) You’ll be able to drive to the Mammoth Hotel and services; you’ll need to take a snowcoach or snowmobile to the Old Faithful area. We’ll cover a winter visit to Yellowstone in coming days.
Image of first snow of the season on October 1 by Jacob Frank, courtesy National Park Service.