The south loop of Yellowstone National Park will reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, park officials announced Saturday.
The south loop is accessed from the East (Cody), West (West Yellowstone), and South (Grand Teton/Jackson). Areas accessible include Madison, Old Faithful, Grant Village, Lake Village, Canyon Village and Norris.
All entrances to the park were closed earlier this week after massive flooding damages roads and bridges leading into the park.
To balance demand for access to the park, the park will institute an interim visitor access plan to ensure the south loop does not become overwhelmed with visitors.
Here's the details of the plan:
- Public vehicle entry will be allowed based on whether the last numerical digit on a license plate is odd or even.
- Entrance will be granted based on odd/even days on the calendar.
- Personalized plates (all letters, for example YLWSTNE) will fall into the “odd” category for entrance purposes.
- Plates with a mix of letters and numbers but that end with a letter (for example YELL4EVR) will still use the last numerical digit on the plate to determine entrance days.
- Entrance station staff will turn away vehicles attempting to enter the park when the odd/even numerical digits do not correspond to the odd/even calendar date for entrance.
- Odd-numbered last digits on license plates can enter on odd days of the month.
- Even-numbered last digits (including zero) on license plates can enter on even days of the month.
And here are some exceptions:
- Current commercial use operators with active commercial use permits will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number. This includes commercial tours and stock groups.
- Visitors with proof of overnight reservations in the park will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number. This includes hotels, campgrounds, and backcountry reservations.
- Commercial motorcoaches will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number.
- Motorcycle groups may enter on even dates only.
- Essential services like mail and deliver, employees and contractors may enter regardless of license plate number.
Here's what open starting June 22:
- Backcountry areas accessible from roads open to the public will be available/restricted for day use only.
- Old Faithful [nps.gov], West Thumb, Grant Village [nps.gov], Bridge Bay, Fishing Bridge, Lake Village [nps.gov], [nps.gov] and Norris [nps.gov] visitor services
- West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center [nps.gov]
- Canyon Village Visitor Education Center
Overnight use from trailheads in the south will open July 1.
- Visit Camp in Backcountry [nps.gov] for details.
And here's what remains closed in the south loop:
- Canyon Village Lodges & Cabins
- Canyon [nps.gov], Madison [nps.gov], Norris [nps.gov] and Lewis Lake [nps.gov] campgrounds
- Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum [nps.gov]
Yellowstone staff are working to determine what other potential sections of the park may be reopened prior to roads closing Nov. 1. Decisions will depend on extent of damage and the ability of park managers to safely open additional sections as the year progresses. Park managers are evaluating plans to reopen roads connecting Canyon Village, Tower Junction, Mammoth Hot Spring and Norris however this will not happen initially. The park is also working to reconnect Mammoth Hot Springs to Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate as soon as possible with temporary solutions, while long-term reconstruction is planned.