All entrances now open in Yellowstone

Posted 6/2/20

Yellowstone National Park is getting closer to being fully open.

The park opened its Montana entrances — the North Gate near Gardiner, the West Gate near West Yellowstone and the Northeast …

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All entrances now open in Yellowstone


Yellowstone National Park is getting closer to being fully open.

The park opened its Montana entrances — the North Gate near Gardiner, the West Gate near West Yellowstone and the Northeast Entrance near Cooke City — on Monday morning, while some in-park lodging options are becoming available.

“Yellowstone National Park is an incredible place for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors, and the American people having access to their public lands is now more important than ever,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said Thursday of all the entrances opening. “The park entrances in Wyoming opened about two weeks ago, so it’s great that we’ve been able to work with the governor of Montana to safely restore access to the remaining entrances.”

Yellowstone’s two entrances in Wyoming — the East Gate outside of Cody and the South Gate outside of Jackson — opened back on May 18.

Gov. Mark Gordon said in a Friday interview on KODI-AM that he had “pushed” officials in Park County and Teton County to open earlier than Montana.

“... neither county was really prepared for that, so we kind of pushed your counties,” Gordon said on KODI’s Daybreak program. “And I do feel badly about that.”

However, he said the state stood behind the counties and worked with Wyoming’s Congressional delegation — particularly U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. — to get the support from the White House “that you need to be able to run that [Yellowstone].”

Gordon added that, “so much of Wyoming’s economy is based on what happens elsewhere in the nation,” from energy prices to tourism.

“We needed to get people starting to move again,” the governor said on KODI.

Meanwhile, the opening of Montana’s entrances was delayed until the expiration of a directive from Gov. Steve Bullock, which required out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days. Bullock’s order expired Monday, while Gordon’s had lapsed on May 8.

“I appreciate the partnership with Gov. Bullock, his team, and our surrounding counties and communities,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We will continue working closely together as we progress through this reopening sequence.”

As of Monday, the entire Grand Loop Road will be accessible (though excluding the under-construction segment between Canyon and Tower); over the last couple of weeks, only the lower portion of the loop has been open to the public.

In-line with the park’s three-phased reopening plan, visitors on Monday were able to access Phase 1 services/facilities (including restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails/boardwalks, limited stores, entrance stations, medical clinics and approved tours) and a few services/facilities outlined in Phase 2 — including takeout food service, boating and fishing.

The park’s primary concessionaire, Xanterra Travel Collection, announced Monday that it has begun a phased re-opening of its operations on a limited basis — including lodges, campgrounds, dining and tours.

Takeout options are available, but “we are not able to offer dining room seating at this time,” Xanterra’s website said on Monday.

Cabins with private bathrooms at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel opened Monday, while other accommodations and campgrounds at Old Faithful, Lake and Canyon are set to open between now and June 19.

“Old Faithful Inn, Grant Village, and Roosevelt Lodge are currently closed but may reopen in 2020 if conditions allow,” Xanterra said, adding that the Fishing Bridge RV Park “will remain closed through the fall of 2021.”

Updates and more details are available at

As of last week, the park had approved 126 commercial use authorizations for area businesses to operate inside the park after reviewing individual COVID-19 mitigation plans submitted by each company. Yellowstone officials said the park’s business partners have made “substantial investments in mitigation measures.”

The park itself has been providing additional protective barriers, encouraging the use of masks or facial coverings in high density areas, metering visitor access in certain spots, cleaning facilities more frequently and adding signage on boardwalks and other public spaces as part of messaging efforts.

Yellowstone is also partnering with surrounding states, counties and businesses — like Medcor, the company that runs the medical clinics in the park — to increase testing capacity for the new coronavirus. Park County, Montana, health officials have begun testing frontline employees and partners in an effort to detect any COVID-19 transmission early on.