Above: Car driving on Yellowstone’s North Entrance road in the winter. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco
During the winter, the only roads that are open to wheeled traffic are from the North Entrance at Gardiner to the Northeast Entrance to Cooke City. Since the Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph Scenic Highway outside Cooke City also close for the winter season, the only way to Cooke City is through the north Park road.
Other Park roads are open to winter concessionaires with snowmobiles and snowcoaches.
Click on map to expand.
2014 Yellowstone Road Schedule for Closing to Wheeled Vehicles
- October 15: US Highway 212 over the Beartooth Pass is scheduled to close for the winter season at 8am.
- October 15: Dunraven Pass, which is between Canyon Village and Tower Junction within Yellowstone National Park, is scheduled to close.
- November 3: The West, East and South entrances to Yellowstone, are scheduled to close for the fall season.
- The North entrance near Gardiner, Montana remains open year round.
- The Northeast entrance near Cooke City, Montana remains open year round but since the Beartooth Highway is closed (see above), you can only access the entrance and Cooke City from within the park.
2014 Over-snow Travel
Roads in Yellowstone may be closed to regular vehicles in the winter, but many can be accessed via over-snow vehicles like snowmobiles and snowcoaches. Check out the plethora of snowmobile tour options leaving from the town of West Yellowstone and heading into the park to places like Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Opening Dates for Over-snow Travel
- December 15: Mammoth to Madison to West Entrance; from Old Faithful to West Thumb; from South to Lake Butte Overlook and from Canyon to Norris at 8:00 a.m.
- December 22: East Entrance Road (from East Entrance to Lake Butte) at 8:00 a.m.
Closing Dates for Over-snow Travel
- March 1: East Entrance to Lake Butte; Mammoth to Norris Junction closes at 9:00 p.m.
- March 3: Norris Junction to Madison Junction, and Norris Junction to Canyon closes at 9 p.m.
- March 8: Canyon Junction to Fishing Bridge Junction closes at 9 p.m.
- March 15: Remaining groomed roads in the park close at 9 p.m.
All Dates are Subject to Change. For current road conditions, call the Yellowstone Public Road Report recording at (307) 344-2117 or check the government road report www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm
General Winter Road Information
- Most park roads are closed to vehicles between early November and late April
- The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont. through the park to Cooke City, Mont. via Tower Junction is open all year to vehicles
- U.S. Highway 212 is closed to vehicles just east of Cooke City from late fall to late spring
North Entrance, near Gardiner, Mont.
The North Entrance is the only entrance open to wheeled vehicles all year long. Between November and April, it’s the only access route to Cooke City, Mont.
West Entrance, adjacent to West Yellowstone, Mont.
The West Entrance is closed to wheeled vehicles from early November to late April; however, it’s open to tracked, over-snow vehicles from mid-December to mid-March.
South and East Entrances
These entrances are closed to wheeled vehicles from early November to mid-May. The East Entrance is open to tracked, over-snow vehicles from mid-December to early March, while the South Entrance permits these vehicles from mid-December to mid-March.
Northeast Entrance, near Silver Gate and Cooke City, Mont.
The Northeast Entrance is open year-round for access to Cooke City via Gardiner and the North Entrance.
Spring Road Plowing
Each spring, park roads close while crews clear a winter’s worth of packed snow from the Grand Loop. This totals 198 miles of main road, 124 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots inside the park as well as 31 miles of the Beartooth Highway outside the park’s Northeast Entrance to prepare for the summer season. Watch the video to see what it is like to be a part of the Yellowstone Winter Road Crew.