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Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

Detroit, Michigan
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275 posts
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Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

I'm tired, frustrated, and now confused.

I arrived at the east gate of yellowstone today at ~9pm. The park employee told me that he "just closed the gate" due to an accident.....and also weather. He told me that he hope to reopen tomorrow. However, he said that if he does open, it will be 9-10am!

I turned back to Cody and got a hotel room (where I am now). I asked the hotel front desk and they know nothing, but gave me the 307-344-2117 number to call. I called just now (11pm) and it had no update since 10:30am. No mention of closure.

Here is the part that really confused me. I called the Lodge to see if they can do anything about my reservation. The guy on the line told me that he just heard of the east gate closure, and that my only option was the south and north-east gate. He then told me the south gate was closed as well.... huh?! The beartooth hwy is closed on the WY side. How can anyone get in from the NW entrance?

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Cody
Cody
Wyoming
1. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

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Removed on: 10 July 2016, 01:17
2. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

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Removed on: 10 July 2016, 01:17
Detroit, Michigan
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275 posts
21 reviews
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3. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

Thank you for the info. I'm looking at google map, and I think I can do this... however, I read this:

MT page: US-212 beartooth hwy WY state line to vista point - road closed for season. WY side closed due to blowing and drifting.

Can I assume that US-212 (which is part of Beartooth Pass Hwy), is on the WY side, but west of the WY-296, it is open through Cooke City to the Yellowstone NW entrance?

Heck, according to Google map, it only take 4hr to get from Cody to OF lodge! The parks gate person told me 7hr!

I may try this route tomorrow morning when the sun comes up...

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Cody
Cody
Wyoming
Bay Village, Ohio
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1,267 posts
27 reviews
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4. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

It takes much longer to drive thru YNP than google map shows. Listen to the park employee and hope that you can do it somewhat more quickly. Our son works at Lake Village and left Friday to visit friends in Park City Utah for the holiday weekend. He will usually go back to the park via Jackson Hole where my sister and family live - hope the south entrance opens today. He can drive thru the entrances as a park employee oftentimes even when the roads are closed - administrative use only. The weather was supposed to have turned pretty ugly in the park over the weekend with heavy snow. Let's hope it warms up quickly and the snow melts during your visit. Whatever the weather - you will love the park! And - Yes, your assumptions about the drive from Cody to Cooke City are correct - you should be fine.

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Lake Village
Lake Village
9 Reviews
Yellowstone National Park, WY
Park City
Park City
Wasatch Range, UT
Cody
Cody
Wyoming
Yellowstone Nat...
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5. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

You cannot let yourself get angry and frustrated over road closures this time of year, or you risk spoiling your vacation. May is a winter month here, albeit sometimes with pretty pleasant days, sometimes even back-to-back. Plan B, Plan C and even more may be necessary. But until you make it to the park, bloom where you are planted, eh? That's one of the coolest phrases I ever heard.

Detroit, Michigan
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275 posts
21 reviews
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6. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

Bill, my frustration is mostly with my luck. Some of it was with the lackof professionalism and sense of urgency/customer service of the park management/employees.

When I approach the East gate, the employee cannot give me a definite reason for the closure, nor any other useful information. In fact, the estimated time he gave me (7hr) was not very useful. (I asked him which entrance his estimate was based on, and he couldn't even tell me which gate was open and which was closed...)

When they "officially closed the east gate" ~9pm, nobody knew. The next morning, ~6:30am, the updated recorded phone message didn't directly mention that at all, except saying ??? Pass was closed between Fishing Village and the East Gate. They couldn't have simply/explicitly say that the East Gate was closed due to road closure at the Pass? They couldn't have gave some meaningful estimate as to when it will re-open? Is the local weather report and road clearing logistics that variable?

Anyway, I took Ystoner's advice, and drove up to Cooke City and enter the park via the NE entrance. After its all done, I think I lucked out a little bit... I had a beautiful drive from Cody through Cooke City and into the Park. (My 50% consolation for missing the Beartooth peak for the second time) The OF lodge was understanding of my late arrival, and adjusted my reservation so I didn't get charged for the first night. Since I lost 1/2 day and added driving, I did not get to do any hiking, which made my vacation a little more relaxing.. I did get to drive through more of the park (driving the Lakeside road at sunset was great!) :-)

As an update, the east entrance opened again. (I only knew because I was able to drive east at Fishing Bridge (no closure signs) last night ~8pm. However, road from Canyon Junction north remained closed due to weather.

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Cody
Cody
Wyoming
Yellowstone Nat...
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7. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

We all learn at different rates. Those of us who favor late winter trips in the northern Rockies already know we'll face uncertainties about road closures, and uncertain, sometimes very marginal road conditions even when roads are open. Well, we forget sometimes, and have to learn over again.

Those of us who do late winter mountain trips need to be able to adapt to Plan B, or Plan C, on short notice, often with very incomplete information, and sometimes even with a smidge of guesswork involved. It has to be part of our skill set when we undertake such trips. We adapt or we upset ourselves.

I doubt anyone in YNP arbitrarily withholds info. YNP staff face many of the same uncertainties that visitors do. No one can say how long it will take to clear a pass, or how long it may stay open, or when weather will close it again. No one could have predicted the rockslide between Mammoth and Tower late last May, nor did they have any idea how long that would take to clear. No one could have predicted that the road to Tower out of Mammoth would have to be closed for a while at the church the oher morning. So no one could have communicated these things in advance, either, as you cannot communicate something no one knows.

I think after I faced uncertainty in a trip to Glacier late last winter, and uncertainty in a trip to YNP late this winter, by next year I would either move my trip dates back or prepare myself for more uncertainty. I try not to upset myself. Hopefully this can be read in the helpful and sympathetic manner in which it is intended ... I feel your pain, been there, done that.

Now that you're here, enjoy YNP.

Detroit, Michigan
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275 posts
21 reviews
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8. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

Bill, all I'm saying is, the park workers could provide better info. It would also take little time to update the road closure status when it happened, as oppose to the next morning (10 hours later)... The guy at the east gate could of told me which other gate was open...

Nottingham, United...
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830 posts
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9. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

We were staying at Shoshone lodge, approx 3 miles outside the east gate.

On the am of the 25th May we entered via the east gate. The weather was not good, snow was falling. We decided, that as the weather was not conducive to wildlife viewing we would return to Shoshone lodge. When we tried to exit the park, we were told that Sylvan pass was closed, and that we would need to exit via the Northeast gate, and Cook City.

We did exactly that. The journey was a couple of hundred miles, and took us along the Chief Joseph highway, and over the Absaroka Mountains, and through to Cody. From Cody we then drove all the way back to the Shoshone lodge, approx 3 miles from the east gate.

The roads were absolutely lethal. They had not been ploughed, or gritted.

To say they were winding roads, up, down, through the mountains is no exaggeration, as anyone who has travelled that route will confirm.

We enjoyed the adventure. The mountain route was a complete white-out, the all wheel drive vehicle was very sure footed. It was a 10 hour detour, and not without some hairy, scary moments.

The snow falling on the stretch from Cody to the east gate, was some of the heaviest I have ever seen, and the road markings were non existent, covered by a minimum of 6 inches of the white stuff. It was late by the time we reached Shoshone lodge, all was closed, and so we went to bed hungry.

The following morning we were due to check out from Shoshone lodge, which we did, and headed towards Jackson, via the east gate of Yellowstone.

We reached Sylvan pass in a a very short time, to find it was completely free of snow !

The park rangers had sent us away from the east gate the day before, and forced us to travel a much longer, much more dangerous route, and at a much greater cost.

Edited: 03 June 2012, 17:30
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Cody
Cody
Wyoming
N. Idaho
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10. Re: Yellowstone gate closure May 27!?

I am not an expert on Sylvan Pass, but it could very well have been the white-out conditions you experienced elsewhere that forced it's closure and not necessarily snow depth.

Pam