Yellowstone Park road crews struggle with late-season snow storms
by Yellowstone National Park
June 9, 2008
While the calendar indicates the start of summer is only days away, it hasnít even felt like spring on some recent days in Yellowstone National Park.
A normal winter has been followed by a normal spring. The trouble is, itís been almost a decade since Yellowstone has had a normal winter and spring. Many visitors and park employees seem to have forgotten that seasons change much later in the parkís high elevation interior than the foothills and prairies found outside much of the park.
Campgrounds and trails are opening later this year than in the recent past. A series of late spring storms has brought repeated and continued snowfall to areas of the park, prompting some temporary road closures in recent days.
Over the weekend, there were temporary road closures through Hayden Valley, Sylvan Pass, Craig Pass, and the parkís East and South Entrances.
Dunraven Pass between Canyon Junction and Tower Falls has been particularly troublesome for the parkís road crews. Heavy snow prompted a closure of the road on Thursday. Crews were unable to reopen that stretch of the parkís Grand Loop Road until late Monday morning.
The Montana Department of Transportation is still working to deal with problems on a section of the Beartooth Highway. The segment of US 212 from south of Red Lodge to the Wyoming State Line remains temporarily closed to travel.
Visitors can still travel from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Silver Gate, and the parkís Northeast Entrance by taking Montana Highways 308 and 72, Wyoming Highways 120 and 296, and the open section of US 212.
While all park entrances and all roads inside Yellowstone National Park are currently open to travel, the National Weather Service forecast calls for daytime temperatures in the 40s and overnight lows below freezing, with a chance of snow through Thursday night.
Yellowstone's weather is very unpredictable. Visitors should be prepared for a wide range of spring weather conditions, possibly including another round of temporary road closures. Park visitors are encouraged to bring warm clothing and have flexible travel plans.
Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available at all visitor centers. Current road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
The Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information hotline number is 800-226-7623. More info for the park is available online at www.nps.gov/yell.