Winter Road Access in Yellowstone

Car driving on Yellowstone's North Entrance road in the winter. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco

Car driving on Yellowstone’s North Entrance road in the winter. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco

2015 Winter Road Closings for Wheeled Vehicles

During the winter, Yellowstone has a number of road closures. 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.

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Yellowstone Road Map

  • Oct. 11, 2016: Dunraven Pass (Tower Fall to Canyon); Beartooth Pass (US 212 to Red Lodge, Montana) closed
  • Nov. 7, 2016: All roads except the road between the North Entrance and the Northeast entrance close at 8 a.m.
  • 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.

2015/2016 Over-snow Travel Season

Yellowstone Snowmobile Tour. Photo by NPS

Yellowstone Snowmobile Tour. Photo by NPS

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.

Winter Tours

Opening Dates for Over-snow Travel

  • December 15: Conditions permitting, the park will open at 8 am to oversnow vehicles from Mammoth to Madison; Madison to Old Faithful; Madison to West Entrance; from Old Faithful to West Thumb; from South to Lake Butte Overlook, and from Canyon to Norris.
  • December 22: Conditions permitting, East Entrance Road (from East to Lake Butte) will open at 8 am.

Closing Dates for Over-snow Travel

  • March 1: East Entrance, from entrance to Lake Butte, closes at 9 p.m.
  • March 6: Mammoth to Norris Junction closes at 9 p.m.
  • March 8: Norris Junction to Madison Junction, and Norris Junction to Canyon closes at 9 p.m.
  • March 13: 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.