With the opening of several road segments today at 8 a.m., all roads slated to be open this year in Yellowstone National Park are accessible to the public.
Today sees the opening of three segments: South Entrance to West Thumb, Lake Village to West Thumb, and West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass). Yes, there’s plenty of snow on the ground as we approach normalcy, but by and large you’ll be able to maneuver the park for the next few weeks, until the Memorial Day weekend, when the Beartooth Highway opens and many regional travelers make their first day trip to Yellowstone.
Besides today’s road offerings, many services are now open for the season, including the facilities at Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Old Faithful Lodge. You can check out the current state of openings here.
Some things to note. First, the Dunraven Pass—the road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Junction—will be closed all season. That includes access to Mount Washburn and its hiking trails. The goal of this construction: to widen the road and provide additional/improved pullouts, create a larger parking area at Tower Fall General Store and improve the Tower Fall’s trail and overlook. Second, the North Entrance is being overhauled and expanded, so expect some delays, in a project that should be completed this fall. Third, work continues on the Old Faithful Overpass, though access to Old Faithful and its many services will be open—just expect some delays. This work is slated to be completed this fall as well.
Also, be prepared for changes in facility openings and closings. In recent weeks we’ve seen additions to operations, with most visitor centers and education centers opening July 1. (Some, such as the Fishing Bridge Museum and the Museum of the Park Rangers, are as of time set to be closed for all of 2021.) Whether these dates stay firm remains to be seen. The announcement yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control regarding mask usage for the vaccinated may alter the current National Park Service mandate for indoor mask usage as well as outdoor areas where social distancing is not possible. We’ve already been asked about this by visitors planning their trip, but as of now we’re awaiting word to see if this policy will continue. (No, it doesn’t matter what the surrounding states are or are not mandating: Yellowstone is a federal offering governed by National Park Service rules.) We will also see if the changes to CDC mask recommendations leads to changes in what Xanterra and Delaware North offer in park concessions.
Photo of Continental Divide sign near Craig Pass by Jacob W. Frank, courtesy National Park Service.