Fall in Yellowstone means fewer crowds, better chances to spot wildlife, and the opportunity to witness the spectacular change in seasons in the world's first national park. While the scenery is wide open, not all of the park's roads and facilities are, so check some valuable information resources below before you travel.
The majority of the park's roads are open until November 5 when they are closed in order to prepare for the winter season. After that date, only the year-round North Entrance Road from Gardiner to Cooke City, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs will remain open to auto travel, weather permitting.
The road from Tower Junction to a barricade just north of the Chittenden Road turnoff on Dunraven Pass will close for the season at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 22, for a road construction project. Visitors will be able to access Chittenden Road and the Mt. Washburn area from Canyon Village to the south until that section of road closes for the season at 8:00 a.m., October 9.
Outside the park, the high-altitude section of the Beartooth Highway (Highway 212), between the junction of Highway 296 and Red Lodge, Montana, can close unexpectedly depending upon snowfall. The highway officially closes for the season October 9, and travel between Red Lodge and the Northeast Entrance is not possible until it reopens in late May.
Fall weather is unpredictable, and roads may be closed temporarily by snow or other weather conditions with little or no warning. Visitors should be prepared for winter weather and winter driving conditions, and are advised to have flexible travel plans. Updated information on park roads is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117. Outside the park, you can check Wyoming roads by calling 888-WYO-ROAD or by visiting http://www.wyo.road.info/, or Montana roads at 800-226-7623 or http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/.
By the end of October all lodging and most visitor centers have closed in the park, and all services (food and shopping) are unavailable by the first week in November. Limited lodging and services will not be available again until the winter season begins in mid December. 24-hour pay at the pump fuel remains available at all service stations year-round. For winter season information, visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/visiting-yellowstone-in-winter.htm.
For specific facility and service closing dates, visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/open_closedates.htm.
By the first week of November, most campgrounds will be closed for the season. The Mammoth Hot Springs campground is the only site that remains open all year. Check specific campground closing dates at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/camping-in-yellowstone.htm.
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