Yellowstone roads open this weekend

Yellowstone roads open this Friday, when western portions of the Grand Loop road will allow motorized traffic at 8 a.m. on April 16.

Weather permitting, here’s the opening schedule for when the Yellowstone roads open:

  • April 16: West Entrance to Madison Junction, Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful, Norris to Canyon Village.
  • May 7: East Entrance to Lake Village (Sylvan Pass), Canyon Village to Lake Village.
  • May 7: Tower Junction to Calcite Springs.
  • May 14: South Entrance to West Thumb, Lake Village to West Thumb, West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass), Tower Junction to Tower Fall.
  • May 28: Beartooth Highway.

And, of course, the road between the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance and eventually Cooke City is open all year.

We’ve updated our 2021 Yellowstone Opening and Closing Dates page to reflect some new opening and closing dates for the spring for Park services from multiple concessionaires. If you’re planning an April or March visit, peruse the new listings closely. Things seem to change often; for instance, the status of the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room has changed from being closed for all of 2021 to potentially opening down the line, with a date to be determined. The openings for other services has changed as well.

And, if you do go this weekend, be prepared for very, very limited services. Xanterra has announced a two-phase opening schedule, with the dates released only for Phase I beginning this weekend and running through May. At Mammoth, only the General Store will be open this coming weekend; other hotel services open April 30. In the Old Faithful area, the Snow Lodge’s the Bear Den Gift Shop and Geyser Grill open April 16, presumably with a focus on grab-and-go meals. There will be no lodging available in the Park for a few weeks: Mammoth Hotel opens April 30, with other lodging openings beginning in May. Even then you will see limitations; there is no date for opening Canyon Lodge Premium rooms or Roosevelt Lodge cabins as of now. On the campground side, Mammoth Campground will be open to visitors in April.

Don’t forget that Yellowstone is operating under COVID-19 restrictions, which call for some basic courtesy from all visitors. Face masks are required in all visitor facilities in Yellowstone National Park. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as hiking trails, overlooks, and parking areas.

Dashcam photo of Hayden Valley snow clearing courtesy NPS.

This article originally appeared in the weekly Yellowstone Insider newsletter. Are you a subscriber? Sign up here!

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