Spring plowing underway in Yellowstone National Park
by Yellowstone National Park
March 9, 2010
As roads close to snowmobile and snowcoach travel for the season, plow crews have started work clearing Yellowstone’s roads for automobile travel.
Oversnow travel between Mammoth Hot Spring and Norris Junction ended Sunday evening. First thing Monday morning, park road crews began making their first pass with plows to clear a lane south from Mammoth.
The park's interior roads reopen to automobile travel between mid-April and the end of May. On Friday, April 16, the roads from Yellowstone’s North and West Entrances to Norris, Madison, Canyon and Old Faithful, open to visitors.
The road linking Canyon, Fishing Bridge and the East Entrance opens on Friday, May 7. Travel from the South Entrance to Grant, West Thumb, Old Faithful and Fishing Bridge is set to begin Friday, May 14. Travel from Cooke City over Colter Pass to the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and the Long Lake gate typically also opens by mid-May. The balance of the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge, Montana, and the road between Tower Fall and Canyon over Dunraven Pass opens the Friday before the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, weather permitting.
The road from Gardiner, Montana, through the park's North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year, weather permitting.
A brief spring bicycling season is offered on some park roads after the plows safely clear traffic lanes and before the roads are ready for automobile travel. Details are available online at www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm.
Visitors to Yellowstone will be impacted by one major road constructionproject this year between Madison and Norris through Gibbon Canyon. Visitors can expect up to 30-minute delays from the time the road opens to travel on April 16 through October 20. This section of road will also be closed to travel between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. every night from April 16 until September 1. There will be no daytime delays or overnight closures during the Memorial Day or July 4 holiday weekends. During this period, visitors should allow extra travel time in case they need to reroute through West Thumb and Canyon. Maps and additional construction details will be available at all visitor centers and online at www.nps.gov/yell.
A small road project on the park’s East Entrance road over Sylvan Pass may also result in up to 30-minute delays during the spring, summer and fall. No night time closures are scheduled. There will be no construction or delays during holiday weekends.
A third project in the park is expected to result in some delays during the last two weeks of June. Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will be used to repair and repave the section of road between the Uncle Tom’s Trail parking area and Artist Point along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Visitors can expect up to 30-minute delays on the South Rim Drive, as well as some delays on the road between Canyon and Fishing Bridge. All work is expected to be completed prior to the July 4 holiday weekend.
Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.