Yellowstone National Park will close most roads next month as it prepares for winter.
The park, which stretches across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, will close the west, south and east entrances to regular vehicle traffic on 1 November. The park will also close nearly all roads, according to the National Park Service.
Along with the annual winter-related closure, the NPS said snowmobile and snowcoach travel will begin on 15 December.
While most roads will be closed, some will remain open year-round between the north entrance at Gardiner, Montana, and the northeast entrance at Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana (via Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction, and Lamar Valley).
In addition, the NPS states that “all communities near Yellowstone are open year-round, with local businesses offering a wide range of fall and winter recreational opportunities”.
Travellers planning to drive through the park in the winter should be aware of possible road closures due to inclement weather, expect temporary travel restrictions or closures without notice, and be flexible with their plans, according to the NPS. Visitors can check the park’s live road map for up-to-date conditions or sign up for road alerts by texting “82190” to 888-777.
Driving in Yellowstone may be a little more challenging in the winter, but there are plenty of reasons to visit, including fewer crowds, winter activities like snowshoeing and snowmobiling, and the chance to see Old Faithful erupt in a fresh blanket of snow.
Yellowstone isn’t the only national park that closes its roads in the winter. The Grand Canyon’s North Rim also closed to overnight visitors this month ahead of winter, and the NPS said the entrance gate on State Route 67 will close at sunset on 30 November or after the first major snowstorm, whichever comes first.
Glacier National Park also closes sections of its famous Going-to-the-Sun Road to vehicles in the winter, but visitors can cross-country ski or snowshoe on the popular route.