After flooding that decimated miles of roads in and around Yellowstone, the nation’s first national park is set to reopen on Wednesday, June 22nd under an odd/even license plate number access system.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday visitors will be able to access the south loop of the park from either the East (Cody), West (West Yellowstone), or South (Grand Teton/Jackson) entrances. Accessible areas include Madison, Old Faithful, Grant Village, Lake Village, Canyon Village and Norris.
To balance the demand for visitor access while the park recovers, vehicles will be allowed to enter the park based on the last number of their license plate:
Odd/Even Entry to Yellowstone
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Park staff will monitor the license plate system and may adjust or implement a reservation or timed entry system, if necessary, after three to four weeks.
“Less than six days ago, Yellowstone National Park was hit with devastating floods,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our teams and partners, we are prepared to reopen the south loop of Yellowstone. It is impossible to reopen only one loop in the summer without implementing some type of system to manage visitation.”
OPEN in the south loop as of June 22
- Backcountry areas accessible from roads open to the public will be available/restricted for day use only.
- Overnight use from trailheads in the south will open July 1.
- Visit Camp in Backcountry for details.
- Old Faithful, West Thumb, Grant Village, Bridge Bay, Fishing Bridge, Lake Village and Norris visitor services
- West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center
- Canyon Village Visitor Education Center
CLOSED until further notice in the south loop
- Canyon Village Lodges and Cabins
- Canyon, Madison, Norris and Lewis Lake campgrounds
- Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum
- Visitors should continue to monitor the park website and social media for additional updates.
In what has been called a 1 in 500 years event, the northern roads into the park are severely damaged, and may not open for years to come. But the massive figure 8 loop road and the three southern entrances into the park have been less impacted. It’s not clear when the northern loop might reopen, but Yellowstone staff are working to determine whether some or all of it might open prior to the park’s closing on Nov. 1. They are evaluating plans to reopen roads connecting Canyon Village, Tower Junction, Mammoth Hot Spring and Norris. 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.
Yellowstone is a very large park, but with half as much space available for visitors, a solution to manage the number of entrances was required.