During the winter, always watch for snow and icy conditions on the roads around West Yellowstone, especially if traveling north from West Yellowstone to Big Sky on Highway 191. This road includes a section that runs through Yellowstone National Park which becomes icy due to wind-blown snow. Watch for snowplows, snow moving equipment, and snowmobile trail groomers operating on these highways and in the town of West Yellowstone.
From January through April, also watch for bison (buffalo) standing on or along the roads north of West Yellowstone, including Highways 191 and 287. Bison migrate out of Yellowstone Park to large open areas northwest of West Yellowstone. Bison are difficult to see at night. Their eyes do not reflect light like a deer or elk, and their bodies are very dark. They will also not jump off the road like a deer, but move very slowly.
Yellowstone Park Road Information
From early November through late April, all roads south through the park are closed to wheeled vehicles, including the road to Old Faithful Geyser. These entrances opened in mid-December for over snow vehicles only. Yellowstone is always approachable from the North Entrance outside of Gardiner, MT, which is south of Livingston. This road is plowed in the winter and leads toward the park's Northeast Entrance, toward Cooke City, MT. Travel out of the park past that point in winter is not possible, as the pass to Red Lodge, MT, is not maintained during winter months.
Yellowstone's west, east, south, and northeast entrances open on a staggered schedule beginning in late April. West Yellowstone and the West entrance offer the shortest distance to Old Faithful and West Thumb and easy access to Fishing Bridge or the South Entrance.
This Spring's road opening schedule is based on plowing 300 miles of roads within Yellowstone Park. These dates could change depending on weather or snow conditions. Please call 406.646.7701 for the lastest information:
- Friday, April 26th, 2013: the west entrance at West Yellowstone, Monday
- Friday, May 17th, 2013: the east entrance via Cody, Wyoming and Sylvan Pass
- Friday, May 24th, 2013: the south entrance via Jackson, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park
- By Memorial Day Weekend (Friday, May 24th, 2013): Sunlight Basin Road between Cody, Wyoming and Cooke City, Montana
- Mid-June: the Beartooth Highway (Highway 212 between Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana)
Yellowstone Park Road Construction Projects
Road construction is a normal part of the ‘warm’ weather season here in the Rocky Mountains. This summer will also bring road improvement projects on many of the major travel routes to Yellowstone Park from Montana and Wyoming. Yellowstone Park road updates available at (307) 344-2117.
There is still ongoing construction at the Lamar River Bridge area on the way to the Northeast Entrance.There may be temporary delays. Please slow down through this area.
Plan ahead by allowing extra time or finding an alternate route. We also suggest these tips for summer travel:
- Make sure to pack some extra water or beverages, tuck in a few snacks and make sure your camera batteries are charged
- When you hit a delay, stop your car, roll your windows down, turn off the engine and enjoy the smells, sights and sounds of Yellowstone. Watch for wildlife along the rivers and streams, hidden at the edge of the forests, or colorful song birds in the trees above
- Meet your ‘neighbors,’ exchange Yellowstone adventures, and get the latest wildlife sightings
Grand Teton National Park Road and Construction Updates
Grand Teton Park road updates available at (307) 739-3614. Two roads are now closed to vehicle traffic for the winter season: the length of the Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake parking area and Signal Mountain Lodge parking lot, as well as the Moose-Wilson Road between Granite Canyon and Death Canyon trailheads.
The Teton Park Road is not plowed after the first of November. During the time that the Teton Park Road remains free of snow, visitors are welcome to use the roadway for non-motorized recreation such as walking, bicycling, and in-line skating. Once the snow begins to accumulate on the road, winter season activities such as cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snow-shoeing become possible. In addition to road closures in Grand Teton National Park, the Grassy Lake Road within the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway is closed.
Montana Road and Construction Updates
- Montana Highway Updates available at (800) 226-7623 or visit mdt511.com
- Expect possible 15-20 minute delays and onelane traffic on Highway 191 and Gallatin River Road approximately 8 miles south of Belgrade, Montana and I-90.
- Alternate route to West Yellowstone: Follow Hwy 191 north to Bozeman until it intersects with Hwy 287 (10 miles). Turn west (left) and drive to Ennis. Along the way make sure to stop at the Quake Lake Visitor Center. In Ennis you can take a side trip to the old mining towns of Nevada and Virginia Cities. Or, just continue north from Ennis to the Norris Junction where you can turn right to go to Bozeman, MT or keep going north to I-90
Idaho Road and Construction Updates (US 20 is the main road connecting Idaho Falls, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana)
- Idaho Highway Updates available at (888) 437-7623 or visit 511.idaho.gov