Yellowstone “Opens” for 150th Summer Season This Friday
Written by Andrew-Rossi on April 11, 2022
Yellowstone National Park’s summer season begins this Friday, as the park opens some – but not all – roads and entrances for the park’s 150th anniversary.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, April 15, select roads in Yellowstone National Park will open to the public for the summer of the park’s 150th anniversary – weather permitting.
The following roads and entrances will be open to vehicles on April 15.
- West Entrance to Old Faithful
- Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful (via Norris)
- Norris to Canyon Village
- North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs to Northeast Entrance (open year-round)
Entrance fees will be waived on Saturday, April 16, celebrating National Park Week.
Fishing and boating seasons begin May 28 and will close on Oct. 31.
This year, there are three major road improvement projects in the park, and all will cause “major delays and overnight closures.”
Lewis River Bridge Replacement
Location: Nearly 10 miles north of the South Entrance on the South Entrance Road.
Access: From spring 2022 until fall 2023, expect 20-minute delays around the Lewis River Bridge while roads are open to wheeled vehicles (May-Nov. 1). In addition, there will be occasional overnight closures between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. April-June and September-November. Check Park Roads for updates. In addition, nearby pullouts and the trail to Lewis River Falls will be closed during construction.
Improvements: The sixty-year-old Lewis River Bridge will be replaced with a new bridge built directly east of the existing bridge to preserve safe visitor access between South Entrance and West Thumb. In addition, the newly designed parking area that serves the popular Lewis River Falls Overlook Trail will be slightly expanded to reduce vehicle congestion. Widened walkways and better pedestrian and vehicle separation will improve visitor safety. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and the Legacy Restoration Fund.
Old Faithful to West Thumb
Access: From spring 2022 until fall 2023, expect up to 30-minute delays along this road segment while roads are open to wheeled vehicles (May-Nov. 1). Anticipate an overnight closure between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sept.5 until roads close for the season.
Improvements: Approximately 22 miles of the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb will be repaved. The current pavement dates to 1987 and has deteriorated due to winter weather conditions and high usage. This road segment is one of the most heavily traveled in the park, connecting visitors to Old Faithful, one of the park’s most-visited destinations. In addition, guardrails, culverts, and other drainage structures will be replaced to enhance visitor safety. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and the Legacy Restoration Fund.
Yellowstone River Bridge
Location: Near Tower Junction along the Northeast Entrance Road.
Access: Anticipated to begin fall 2022 until fall 2025. Expect up to 30-minute delays in this area year-round. The Yellowstone Picnic Area, Wrecker Curve access road, and parking area will be closed during construction. However, hiking trails will remain open in the area.
Improvements: Built in the early 1960s, the deteriorating Yellowstone River Bridge will be replaced with a new bridge to preserve year-round safe visitor access to and from the Northeast Entrance and the communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana. The new bridge will be located 500 feet south of its existing location, with several new pullouts will increase viewing opportunities and trail and fishing access. In addition, paved trailhead parking will be constructed for three local trails, and the Yellowstone River Picnic Area will be reconstructed to accommodate increased visitor use.
The Yellowstone River Bridge Replacement project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act and the Legacy Restoration Fund.
All three projects will cause significant delays (Lewis River Bridge, Old Faithful to West Thumb, and Yellowstone River Bridge). In addition, two projects (Old Faithful to West Thumb and Lewis River Bridge) will have overnight closures.
Visitors entering and exiting the park’s south entrance should allow extra driving time. Drive slowly through road construction and be alert to workers, heavy equipment, wildlife, and other hazards.
Thankfully, the road between Canyon Village and Tower-Roosevelt (Dunraven Pass) reopens on May 27 after two years of closure.
- Services in the spring will be limited, and visitors should come prepared. Visit Operating Hours & Seasons for area-specific services.
- Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the spring. Many areas of the park are still experiencing winter conditions. Visitors should check the park’s current conditions before they arrive.
- Find updated road status on the park website and by calling (307) 344-2117. To receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone, text “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions).
- Reduce wait times at park entrances. Buy a pass online ahead of time.