Yellowstone National Park: Winter Is Coming . . .

Yellowstone National Park: Winter Is Coming . . .

Written by on September 20, 2021

The first major snowfall in Yellowstone National Park temporarily closed significant portions of the Grand Loop Road this weekend – a sign winter is close.

On Sunday, Sept. 19, Yellowstone officials announced the temporary closure of a section of the Grand Loop Road. For two and a half hours, the road between Old Faithful and Grant Village – over 20 miles – was closed due to winter weather conditions.

Then, at 7:46 p.m., park officials closed Craig Pass (Old Faithful to the West Thumb Junction) and Sylvan Pass (East Entrance to Fishing Bridge) due to winter weather. At 9:08 p.m., several other roads were closed.

  • Norris Geyser Basin to Canyon Village
  • Canyon Village to Yellowstone Lake
  • Yellowstone Lake to West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • The entire South Entrance Road

The Norris-Canyon road reopened at 9:21 a.m. Monday. The Canyon-South Entrance and Fishing Bridge-East Entrance roads reopened – with a snow tire recommendation – at 10:36 a.m.

Historically, September in Yellowstone gets snow but not very much. On average, Mammoth Hot Springs sees about three-tenths of the inch of snow in September. That’s a small fraction of the 64.4 inches of snow the area sees – on average – every year.

Despite the snow, the fire danger in Yellowstone National Park is still High. It’s been a quiet year for wildfires in Yellowstone – the only confirmed fire of the year was contained to less than an acre in early June.

Yellowstone Winter

September snow reminds us that Yellowstone’s “summer season” will officially end in just a few weeks.

The Yellowstone National Park website says the routes to the Northwest Entrance – Cooke City to Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Beartooth Highway (US 212 to Red Lodge, Montana) – will close on Oct. 12. Likewise, the East, West, and South Entrances will close – along with all park roads – on Nov. 8.

It’s at this time of year when Yellowstone begins to undergo periodic road closures due to weather. Travelers can find their routes to gateway communities unexpectedly closed due to winter weather.

You can learn the current road status of any Yellowstone road on the park website and by calling (307) 344-2117. To receive Yellowstone National Park road alerts on your mobile phone, text “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instruction.


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