Majority of Yellowstone Park to Reopen Following Flooding — What to Know to If You're Visiting

·2 min read
A sign for Yellowstone National Park
A sign for Yellowstone National Park

George Frey / Stringer

Yellowstone National Park will reopen its north loop in time for the July 4 holiday, allowing access to nearly the entire park after catastrophic flooding caused it to shut down just weeks ago.

The north loop will reopen to visitors on July 2, the National Park Service said on Thursday, with access available to 93% of roadways. The full opening comes a week after the park reopened the south loop, which was spared the worst of the damage and includes access to the famous Old Faithful geyser.

The NPS will also eliminate the alternating license plate system that was temporarily put in place to control visitor numbers when only the part of the park was open.

Earlier this month, Yellowstone suffered devastating flooding and saw several collapsed roads, leading officials to doubt whether large swaths of the park would reopen at all this year. But the park, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, has rebounded.

"We're pleased to reopen the north loop of Yellowstone to the visiting public less than three weeks after this major flood event," Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. "We have attempted to balance major recovery efforts while reopening as much of the park as possible."

Starting this weekend, visitors will be able to access the park from the east entrance (Cody, WY), the west entrance (West Yellowstone, MT), and the South Entrance (Grand Teton/Jackson, WY).

In the weeks since the flooding, Federal Highway Administration engineers have completed final bridge and road safety inspections, according to the NPS.

Overnight visitors will also once again be able to access Yellowstone's southern backcountry starting on July 1, but the NPS noted "some trails and campsites will remain closed for repairs due to flood impacts, high water and bear management closures." North loop backcountry trails will then open on July 2, but a "handful of trails/sections of trails and campsites along the northern range of the park will remain closed."

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.