Some Yellowstone roads begin to open for season
Park roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful,
by Yellowstone National Park
April 17, 2008
Visitors will once again be able to drive through Yellowstone’s North and West Entrances to Norris, Madison, Canyon and Old Faithful this weekend.
Despite dealing with equipment breakdowns due to the heaviest snowfall in a decade, some Yellowstone National Park roads are set to re-open to car and RV traffic as scheduled at 8:00 a.m., Friday, April 18.
Park crews have to clear 198 miles of main road, 124 miles of secondary roads, and 125 acres of parking lots inside the park, as well as 31 miles of the Beartooth Highway outside the park’s Northeast Entrance, each spring.
Spring snow removal will cost about $900,000 this year. That’s up from $779,000 last year. The increased costs are due to over a dollar-a-gallon increase in the cost of the bio-diesel which powers the equipment used to clear the heavy snowpack off high elevation roads and passes.
Crews are using large rotary snow plows, big V-plows, road graders and bulldozers to open the East Entrance road to travel on schedule on Friday, May 2, and to open the park’s South Entrance on Friday, May 9. The road over Dunraven Pass between Tower and Canyon and the Beartooth Highway linking the park’s Northeast Entrance with Red Lodge, Montana, are both scheduled to open in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Very limited visitor services will be open for several weeks. Due to the deep snow present in the park’s interior, walking through some thermal areas – even on the boardwalk – will be difficult. Overlooks off the North Rim Drive at Canyon remain snow-packed. Visitors should plan to use snowshoes or cross-country skis instead of hiking boots on backcountry trails.
Yellowstone's weather is very unpredictable. Visitors should be prepared for a wide range of winter and spring weather conditions. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling (307) 344-2117.