Yellowstone Roads after Flood of 2022

Flooding during the third week of June, 2022, destroyed a lot of infrastructure in Yellowstone National Park. The Park has done an amazing job getting things back open, but entry and travel are still restricted. Below are excerpts from the Park website about what is open and when you can enter the Park.

Visitors traveling to park in coming weeks must stay informed about the new interim visitor entry system

Yellowstone National Park's south loop reopened this morning, June 22, at 8 a.m. As the park expected, traffic entering through only three entrances (South, West, East) did cause major backups initially, however, backups have cleared at each entrance. By 12:30 p.m. only 20 cars were in line at the West Entrance. Park staff have monitored traffic throughout the day and reported light to medium activity in most areas. Norris Geyser Basin, one of the busiest destinations in the park, reported light activity.

Less than 5,000 vehicles have entered the south loop today – normally it is 10,000 or more vehicles. Less than 1% of vehicles had to be turned around due to having the wrong license plate. The park will monitor traffic and expects backups to be high in the mornings as day use visitors enter and should normalize mid-morning through mid-day. As a reminder, just like many times during normal years, traffic is backed up numerous miles at the West and South entrances.

"While it's too early to tell if the license plate system worked, it appears to have done its job by cutting our normal traffic counts by half," said Superintendent Cam Sholly. "As we've discussed with our community partners, we will monitor this together and make adjustments if necessary. We're happy to have visitors back in Yellowstone and appreciate the patience of the public and community partners as we continue working through this difficult situation." 

Public vehicle entry into Yellowstone National Park will be allowed based on two factors: whether the last numerical digit on a license plate is odd or even and whether the calendar day is odd or even.

  • License plates with an odd-numbered last digit can enter on odd days of the month.
  • License plates with an even-numbered last digit (including zero) can enter on even days of the month.
  • Personalized plates with a mix of letters and numbers that end with a letter (i.e. YELL4EVR) will still use the last numerical digit on the plate to determine entrance days.
  • Personalized plates without numbers (i.e. YLWSTNE) will be allowed to enter on odd days of the month.
  • Motorcycle groups traveling together (two or more) where all license plates in the group don’t correspond to the date may enter on even dates only.

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.

Exceptions to the rules stated above:

  • 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 (not dining reservations).Must show printed or digital reservation confirmation. It’s highly recommended that visitors print or download their reservation confirmation in advance, as cell/data service is either unavailable or limited at entrance gates. All vehicles associated with the reservation will need to have proof of their reservation in their possession. Camping without a reservation is not allowed in the park, including in parked cars or RVs. Park Rangers enforce no-camping rules on all roadways.
  • Bicyclists or visitors on foot are exempted from the ALPS.
  • Current commercial use operators with active commercial use permits will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number.Excepted commercial operators include: active Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) holders, motorcoach companies, commercial stock groups, and other commercial operators entering the park paying the Commercial Tour Fee.Visitors wanting to enter the park on days not correlating with their license plate can book a guided tour with one of Yellowstone’s many authorized tour operators. View a list of guided tour options in Yellowstone.
  • Essential services like mail, UPS, FedEX, Grizzly Armored Car, employees and contractors may enter regardless of license plate number.
  • Credentialed media and reporters should e-mail us. The Public Affairs Office will coordinate with you.

For additional questions about excepted groups, contact Yellowstone’s Visitor Services Office at (307) 344-2107.