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(MAP) Yellowstone’s reopening begins Wednesday; northern loop may open ‘much sooner than initially anticipated’

Yellowstone flood event 2022: Superintendent, Cam Sholly, and Chief of Facility Maintenance, Duane Bubac, looking at damage in Gardner River Canyon. (NPS / Jacob W. Frank)

CASPER, Wyo. — Yellowstone National Park’s West, South and East Entrances and south loop will reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 22 after closing due to historic flooding that began on June 12.

With flooding, rockslides and mudslides causing severe damage to roads in the northern part of the park, the North and Northeast Entrances and north loop will remain closed. In the aftermath of the flooding, park officials said the northern loop could potentially remained closed the entire 2022 season, but Yellowstone’s Public Affairs Office said Monday that the north loop could reopen “much sooner than initially anticipated.”

The following map shows which roads and entrances will open Wednesday and which will remain closed:

a road map of Yellowstone National Park indicating points of interest, road closures, and flood damage impacts
A road map of Yellowstone National Park indicating points of interest, park road closures due to flooding and improvement projects, and areas where flood impacts occurred. (NPS)

While the south loop is reopening Wednesday, Yellowstone is implementing an interim visitor access plan to ensure the open areas of the park don’t become overwhelmed with visitors. The access system is being called the “Alternating License Plate System.”

Yellowstone Public Affairs details rules of the visitor access system as follows:

• Public vehicle entry will be allowed based on whether the last numerical digit on a license plate is odd or even.

• Entrance will be granted based on odd/even days on the calendar.

• Personalized plates (all letters, for example “YLWSTNE”) will fall into the “odd” category for entrance purposes.

• Plates with a mix of letters and numbers but that end with a letter (for example “YELL4EVR”) will still use the last numerical digit on the plate to determine entrance days.

• Entrance station staff will turn away vehicles attempting to enter the park when the odd/even numerical digits do not correspond to the odd/even calendar date for entrance.

NPS

Exceptions to the visitor access restrictions are as follows:

• Current commercial-use operators with active commercial-use permits will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number. This includes commercial tours and stock groups.

• Visitors with proof of overnight reservations in the park will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number. This includes hotels, campgrounds, and backcountry reservations.

• Commercial motorcoaches will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number.

• Motorcycle groups may enter on even dates only.

• Essential services like mail and delivery, employees and contractors may enter regardless of license plate number.

NPS

Yellowstone has been allocated $50 million in emergency Federal Highway Administration money to help with efforts to repair damage and reopen closed areas of the park.

“We have made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time but have a long way to go,” Cam Sholly, Yellowstone superintendent, said. “We have an aggressive plan for recovery in the north and resumption of operations in the south. We appreciate the tremendous support from National Park Service and Department of the Interior leadership, in addition to our surrounding Congressional delegations, governors, counties, communities, and other partners.”

Further details regarding Yellowstone’s Wednesday reopening plans and rules are available here.

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