Yellowstone National Park opened to the public for motorized oversnow travel as scheduled on Monday morning, Dec. 15.
Recent warm weather and limited snowfall has resulted in very little snowpack on many of the park’s interior roads. Until appreciable snowfall is received and conditions on the park’s packed, groomed roads improve:
-- Visitors will be able to take commercially and non-commercially guided snowmobile trips or travel by commercial snowcoach between the park’s South Entrance and Old Faithful.
-- Commercial snowcoaches with rubber tracks or large oversnow tires or other high clearance commercial wheeled vehicles will be permitted to transport visitors between West Yellowstone and Old Faithful.
-- Commercial snowcoaches with rubber tracks or large oversnow tires will be permitted to offer visitor travel on road segments linking Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris, Madison, Canyon, and the northern end of Hayden Valley.
The road from the northern end of Hayden Valley through Fishing Bridge Junction to West Thumb is not currently suitable for any type of guided visitor travel. Travel through the park’s East Entrance over Sylvan Pass to Fishing Bridge is scheduled to begin Sunday, Dec. 22.
Park staff members will continue to closely monitor conditions and weather forecasts. Additional sections of the park will open to guided snowmobile and snowcoach travel as soon as enough new snow permits.
The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, MT, through Mammoth Hot Springs and on to Cooke City, MT, outside the park’s Northeast Entrance is open to automobile travel all year.
At Old Faithful, the Geyser Grill, the Bear Den Gift Shop and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center open for the season on Dec. 15. The Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins and the Obsidian Dining Room open on Thursday, Dec. 18.
The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, dining room, and gift shop will open for the season on Saturday, Dec. 20. The Yellowstone General Store, the medical clinic, campground, post office, 24-hour gasoline pumps and the Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs are open all year.
All communities around and on the way to Yellowstone are open year-round, with local businesses offering a wide range of winter recreation opportunities. Extensive information and assistance for planning a visit to Yellowstone is available on the park web site at http://www.nps.gov/yell.