Change in summer 2020 Yellowstone plans: Old Faithful Inn may open

Xanterra has altered its summer 2020 Yellowstone plans, still offering limited lodging options but holding out the possibility that Old Faithful Inn may open this year.

On Thursday we reported an update on Xanterra’s summer 2020 Yellowstone plans: there would be limited services based on a June 15 opening, with sit-down restaurants closed and lodging limited to standalone cabins and cottages with private baths. This was based on the Xanterra website:

Since then Xanterra has pulled back on that guidance and is now holding out the possibility that Old Faithful Inn, Grant Village and Roosevelt Lodge may open in 2020. That’s not surprising at all: we live in largely improvised times, and predicting what will happen in June is a tough call. There are plenty of factors in play. Will tourists and workers return? Right now the three states surrounding Yellowstone have issued 14-day quarantines for out-of-state visitors, though those orders may be lifted in May. But that fact alone makes Yellowstone staffing a challenge. Add in the need to alter employee housing to allow for safe distancing (no doubling-up) and a whole new set of challenges for maintaining Yellowstone facilities (increased housekeeping and daily maintenance, such as the frequent wiping down of public areas), and you realize what a challenge what Xanterra, Delaware North (the concessionaire running Yellowstone General Stores) and Yellowstone National Park officials face when planning the 2020 summer Yellowstone season.

So it’s not surprising that the 2020 summer Yellowstone offerings from Xanterra are a little vaguer in nature; you can read them here. What we do know:

  • Reservations are being taken for Frontier cabins, Western cabins and Cottages at the following locations: Mammoth Hotel, Old Faithful Lodge, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Lake Hotel, Lake Lodge and Canyon Lodge. No rooms are currently available, and existing reservations for rooms are in the process of being canceled.
  • No reservations at all are being taken for Old Faithful Inn, Roosevelt Lodge or Grant Village, but the Xanterra website now reports that the 2020 status of these facilities remains to be determined.
  • Sit-down restaurants will be closed this summer, with food service limited to grab-and-go stations. However, a limited number of fast-food counters may open, but the specific plans are to be determined.
  • So far no word from Delaware North as to the status of Yellowstone General Stores. The concessionaire has closed down its Yellowstone-area hotels in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, with promised opening dates staggered throughout May and June.

We’ve updated our 2020-2021 Yellowstone opening dates page to adjust for these changes.

Again, these new guidelines are a little vaguer in nature when it comes to Old Faithful Inn, Roosevelt Lodge and Grant Village. And they’re based on an assumption that Yellowstone National Park will indeed be open in June 2020. It may be way too early to make that assumption. Society is torn by the impulse to socially distance and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic versus the urge to reopen the economy; the trick is coming up with a game plan balancing those two needs. Don’t be surprised if there aren’t further changes to the summer 2020 Yellowstone National Park game plan: as noted, we are living in largely improvised times.

Photo courtesy National Park Service.

RELATED STORIES: Yellowstone Forever delays park donations, furloughs staff; Don’t look for Yellowstone opening until late May–at the earliestYellowstone National Park closed indefinitelyCalls for a Yellowstone spring closure emergingXanterra Yellowstone lodges closed through May 21First 2020 Yellowstone shutdowns due to coronavirus announcedTBD: Coronavirus Impacts on YellowstoneExperts: Coronavirus Outbreak Could Impact 2020 Yellowstone Visitation

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