Yellowstone National Park flooding
High water levels in Gardner River alongside the North Entrance Road. Source: National Park Service of the United States.

Travel Alert June 2022: Yellowstone National Park Closed Until Further Notice

Flooding has caused extensive damage.

If you are planning to visit the legendary Yellowstone National Park within the foreseeable future during its 150th anniversary celebration this summer, change your plans, as all entrances to Yellowstone National Park are temporarily closed for the first time in its history until evaluations of infrastructure in the park are conducted once flood waters from the Yellowstone River recede.

Travel Alert June 2022: Yellowstone National Park Closed Until Further Notice

Yellowstone National Park flooding
Source: Jacob W. Frank of the National Park Service of the United States.

Unprecedented flooding, rock slides, and mudslides have caused greater than 10,000 people — which included visitors who were staying in overnight accommodations such as lodging and campgrounds who were surprised by the unexpected inclement conditions — to be evacuated from the landmark park, which first closed on Monday, June 13, 2022. Multiple sections of roads have either been flooded or were washed away altogether.

“Northern portion of Yellowstone National Park likely to remain closed for a substantial length of time due to severely damaged, impacted infrastructure; Visitors traveling to park in coming weeks must stay informed about current situation, road and weather conditions” is the main warning which appears at the official Internet web site of the National Park Service of the United States for Yellowstone National Park. “All park entrances and roads are temporarily closed due to extremely hazardous conditions from recent flooding. The backcountry is also closed at this time.”

No inbound visitor traffic is permitted at any of the five entrances into the park — including visitors with reservations for lodging and camping overnight — until conditions improve and park infrastructure is evaluated by the National Park Service of the United States, the states of Montana and Wyoming, and surrounding counties and gateway communities. Electrical power is currently out at multiple locations within the park.

Many sections of the road between the North Entrance near Gardiner in Montana, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, and Cooke City in Montana near the Northeast Entrance are completely gone and will require substantial time and effort to reconstruct. Although every effort will be done to repair these roads as soon as possible, sections of the main road in northern Yellowstone will likely not reopen this season due to the time which will be required for repair work to be completed.

Other known damage at this time to some park roads includes:

  • Significant rockslide at Gardner Canyon
  • Tower Junction to Northeast Entrance: segment of road washed out near Soda Butte Picnic Area, mudslides, downed trees
  • Tower-Roosevelt to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass): mudslide on road
  • Canyon Junction to Fishing Bridge: Segment of road just south of Canyon Junction potentially compromised and closed for evaluation

This official video shows only some of the extensive damage — as well as additional photographs and videos.

In addition to roads, bridges and wastewater treatment facilities — as well as the quality of potable water — will be evaluated to ensure safe conditions for both visitors and employees.

Due to the northern loop being unavailable for visitors, how many visitors can safely visit the southern loop once it is safe to reopen is currently being analyzed — which will likely mean implementation of some type of temporary reservation system to prevent gridlock and reduce impacts on the infrastructure in Yellowstone National Park.

Greater than one million visitors were expected to visit Yellowstone National Park during its 150th anniversary celebration this summer.

Greg Gianforte — who is the current governor of the state of Montana — officially declared a statewide disaster yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, June 14, 2022 due to the crisis, stating that the rapid melting of snow combined with heavy rains have led to flooding that is “leaving Montanans without power and water services.”

The National Weather Service in Billings reported that the Yellowstone River reached a level of 10.9 feet in Livingston in Montana, which exceeded a record of 10.7 feet that was set in 1997 — while 1.39 inches of rainfall within a period of 24 hours was officially measured at the Yellowstone National Park station of the National Weather Service.

Final Boarding Call

Yellowstone National Park flooding
Source: National Park Service of the United States.

The good news is that no no known injuries nor deaths to have occurred in the park as a result of the unprecedented flooding water levels, which are expected to recede…

…but additional flood events are possible through this weekend — especially as rain is expected to continue to fall over the next several days — and the closure of the southern loop of the park will continue until at least after Father’s Day, which is Sunday, June 19, 2022.

I visited Yellowstone National Park some years ago and was amazed by the sheer beauty of it. I also enjoyed seeing the Old Faithful geyser.

I hope that Yellowstone National Park is safely opened again as soon as possible…

High water levels in Gardner River alongside the North Entrance Road. Source: National Park Service of the United States.

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