Yellowstone Opens Slough Creek & Most Backcountry Trails

Yellowstone Opens Slough Creek & Most Backcountry Trails

Written by on July 13, 2022

With most roads open to tourists, now most of Yellowstone National Park’s backcountry trails (88%) are accessible, but there are permits needed and hazards to avoid.

Over the past several weeks, Yellowstone National Park staff have worked wonders to open most of Yellowstone’s roads for the Summer 2022 season. Now, hikers can rejoice as park officials open most of the park’s backcountry.

On Tuesday, July 12, Yellowstone officials announced the reopening of Slough Creek to overnight backcountry use. Located in the northern portion of the park, Slough Creek is one of the park’s most visited backcountry areas.

Approximately 93% of Yellowstone’s paved roads and 88% of the backcountry trails are now open.

Backcountry (Visit the Backcountry Situation Report for details.)

Slough Creek

  • Starting July 13, public access to Slough Creek from Tower Junction will be limited to overnight backcountry permit holders, stock outfitters, and approved commercial guides and operators.
  • See the map for area-specific details.
  • Park staff will coordinate directly with current backcountry permit holders and commercial operators to allow them to enter and exit the area during daylight hours.
  • At this time, outside of permit holders allowed into the corridor (as described above), visitors will not be allowed on the 6-mile segment of road from Tower Junction to the Slough Creek Campground Road until further notice.
    • This is primarily due to limited traffic capacity on this section of road, the road closure after Slough Creek, construction traffic, and other factors being monitored as the road partially opens.
    • The park will monitor use within this corridor and determine if expanded day-use can occur at a later date.
  • The park is developing a new day-use permit system to potentially allow additional visitor access to Slough Creek later.
    • This is not being implemented at this time.

The park will look to open a portion of the road to foot traffic from Tower Junction to the Yellowstone River to provide fishing access soon. Meanwhile, the Slough Creek Campground remains closed until further notice.

Courtesy NPS & Jacob W Frank

88% of Yellowstone’s backcountry is open to overnight and day-use, as are 88% of the 1,000 miles of park trails, with 12% closed due to historic flooding.

Furthermore, 88% of the 293 backcountry campsites in the park are open, with 12% closed due to limited access, flood impacts, and high water. Crews continue to evaluate the damage and make repairs on these trails and throughout the park.

Park officials say sections of the Lamar River Corridor and Miller Creek will likely stay close for the entire season due to extensive damage.

Visit Camp in Backcountry for details.

North and Northeast Entrances

The North Entrance Road (Gardiner, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs) and Northeast Entrance Road (Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana, to Tower-Roosevelt) remain closed to vehicular traffic. However, both entrances are still open to tourists.

Visitors can now access the park on bicycles and by foot through these entrances.

  • From the North Entrance, bicyclists can travel 1 mile to the Rescue Creek Trailhead.
  • From the Northeast Entrance, bicyclists can travel 6 miles to the Barronette Meadows area.

 Any visitors accessing these areas should understand the dangers and risks of traveling within these corridors.

Approved guides and outfitters have as much access as possible to open sections of the park through the North and Northeast Entrance Roads. Park staff will continue working with commercial guides and outfitters in Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate to expand park access where possible.

Reconnecting the park to Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate remains Yellowstone’s highest flood recovery priority. These communities are open with access to the park as described above.

Temporary and extremely limited access from the North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs

  • A temporary and extremely limited access road (Old Gardiner Road) between the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs is currently an active construction zone. It is being converted to two lanes before winter.
  • Currently, ONLY approved personnel and limited commercial use authorization holders are allowed on the road.
  • Regular visitor vehicular traffic, bicycles, pedestrians, and horses are not allowed.
  • Visitors may access the park through the North Entrance through approved guiding and outfitting services.

The park is working diligently to ensure this single-lane dirt road will be a two-lane, paved, and safe-to-travel-on road between Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs before winter.

Construction traffic on the Northeast Entrance Road will be heavy at times.

Stay Informed

Visitors traveling to the park must stay informed about what is OPEN and CLOSED throughout the park. Visit Operating Hours and Seasons for more info. In addition, visitors are encouraged to monitor the park website and social media for updates.

Stay informed about up-to-date road conditions in Yellowstone on the road and on the go through these methods:

    • Visit Park Roads.
    • To receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone, text “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions).
    • Call (307) 344-2117 for a recorded message.

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