Yellowstone’s East entrance road to reopen for limited travel May 18
by Yellowstone National Park
May 17, 2011
The East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park is set to reopen to limited visitor travel Wednesday morning, May 18, after being closed for a week.
The road which opened for the season on May 6, has been closed since May 11 due to unstable snow conditions and repeated avalanches across the road through Sylvan Pass.
Park avalanche forecasters have determined that the safest travel window across the pass will be during those early morning hours between 06:00 am and 10:00 am. Forecasting staff are closely monitoring weather, snowpack, moisture and all of the complex factors that go into determining the safety of opening the road for public travel.
Beginning Wednesday, May 18, limited travel will be permitted through Sylvan Pass between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Visitors headed westbound into the park should leave Cody no later than 8:30 a.m. Travelers headed east out of the park toward Pahaska Tepee and Cody need tobe across Fishing Bridge by 9:15 a.m.
During the closure periods, the section of road between the East Entrance and a point just west of Lake Butte will be closed.
Changing weather conditions such as rain or warmer temperatures may result in conditions which may prompt changes to this schedule or may result in temporary, ‘round-the-clock closures. Travelers are encouraged to check the park’s 24-hour Road Report Hotline at 307-344-2117 for the latest updates.
A limited travel window schedule is expected to remain in place until enough snow melts along and above Sylvan Pass to eliminate the avalanche hazard to those traveling on the East Entrance road.
In addition, water from the melting snow has saturated the ground along and beneath a section of the East Entrance road east of Sedge Bay along the northeast shore of Yellowstone Lake. A section of the roadbed has washed out, leaving approximately 60 feet of the eastbound lane unsafe for travel.
This section of the road will be limited to one lane travel only with the traffic flow regulated by flaggers or automated traffic lights. Visitors can expect some temporary delays on this section of road for several weeks until extensive repairs can be made.
Visitors may also travel between Yellowstone National Park and the community of Cody, Wyoming, through the park’s Northeast Entrance at Cooke City, Montana over US-212 to WY-296 to WY-120.
The Beartooth Highway, US-212 between the junction of WY-296 and the community of Red Lodge, Montana, has yet to open for the season.
Spring has begun arriving in some of the lower elevation areas of the park such as Mammoth Hot Springs. Other areas remain covered with several feet of snow. Some boardwalks and most park trails may remain impassible for several weeks.