Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityYellowstone National Park to begin first phase of reopening on May 18 | KUTV
Close Alert

Yellowstone National Park to begin first phase of reopening on May 18

Yellowstone National Park Photo: Megan Strickland{p}{/p}
Yellowstone National Park Photo: Megan Strickland

Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

Yellowstone National Park announced Wednesday that it will reopen on a limited basis on Monday, May 18.

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, the park has been closed to visitors since March 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was great to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence to Yellowstone National Park and First Lady Melania Trump to Grand Teton National Park last year. These are incredible places that are special to the American public. I appreciate Superintendent Cam Sholly and Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail for working with Governor Gordon and health officials to make the parks accessible to the public," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.

According to a press release, Yellowstone has outlined a three-phased plan that initially opens the South and East entrances of Wyoming and limits visitors' travel to the lower loop of the park. The lower loop allows visitors to access Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb, and Grant Village.

This limited opening approach will accomplish three objectives in the short term:

  1. Allow the park to continue buffering with states that are maintaining restrictions;
  2. Help the park and internal business partners improve and refine mitigation actions with lighter levels of visitation; and
  3. Allow for an assessment of how returning visitors affect COVID-19 curves within surrounding Wyoming counties.

The park will actively monitor changing conditions (in the park and in surrounding counties); and will maintain flexibility to expand, adjust, or contract operations as conditions warrant.

What will be open beginning May 18?

  • Phase 1 will begin on Monday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m. with the opening of the South and East entrances in the state of Wyoming.
  • Visitors will be able to access the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road (see attached map) coming in and out of the South and East entrances only.
  • Visitors will be able to access restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks, and other Phase 1 facilities that are prepared to open.

What will remain closed until later phases of the plan?

  • The Montana entrances (North, West, and Northeast) will remain closed. The park is consulting with the Governor of Montana to establish reopening dates for the Montana entrances.
  • Commercial tour buses will not be allowed in the early phases of opening.
  • Overnight accommodations will be unavailable until later in the season.
  • Campgrounds, backcountry permits, visitor cabins, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, boating, fishing, and visitor centers will remain closed. These Phase 2 services and/or facilities will open when safe and appropriate mitigation measures are in place. This will happen at different times.
  • Hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, and ranger programs will remain closed. These Phase 3 services and/or facilities will reopen when health conditions allow.
Comment bubble

Visitors should come prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance by practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible. The CDC has provided specific guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities.

Loading ...