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Yellowstone NP side road???

Teesside, England
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Yellowstone NP side road???

Looking on Google maps at the Grand Loop Road (GLR) that runs from Mammoth Hot Springs to the junction with the NE entrance road Tower Roosevelt, I noticed a long side road. The turn off is past Undine Falls and Blacktail pond. It re-joins the GLR, a few miles before the junction of the NE entrance road, and here there looks to be a No Entry sign, so I assume this side road is only one way. This road looks to be quite narrow but Tarmac not gravel.

My question is, can this road be driven on or is it a service road?

Edited: 18 February 2014, 18:08
Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Blacktail Plateau Drive (Anything else would be a off limits service road) and it is most definitely a dirt road.

nps.gov/features/…mamtotwr.htm

Except for entrance roads to some of the campgrounds and Gull Point drive near the marina on Lake Yellowstone your previous thread mentions everything.

tripadvisor.com/…56133585

Edited: 18 February 2014, 19:00
Teesside, England
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2. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

OK, thanks - as long as I know it's a dirt road and not Tarmac!

Cinnaminson, New...
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3. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

As was mentioned, that is the Blacktail Plateau Road, is a one-way road and is 7 miles long. I definitely recommend driving it if it's open. Beautiful scenery and good chances for wildlife. It is a dirt road and rough in spots, but well worth the trip. I have had great sightings of bears, moose, bison and other animals on this road. My suggestion is to drive it right at dawn.

Teesside, England
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4. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Thanks Tom but I will have a hire car when we visit Yellowstone. I would like to take this drive but dirt roads would violate my rental agreement and I would hate to have a problem (flat tire etc.) while driving a dirt road!

West Yellowstone...
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5. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Interesting that you mention the wildlife you've seen along Blacktail Plateau Rd. Tom K. I drove it once last summer, arrived quite a bit later than dawn (probably the problem) and saw one bird the whole 7 miles. Nothing else. I wouldn't have recommended it to others with a short time for their visits based on my experience. I'll give it another shot next time I'm at the park if I can get in early in the day.

USA
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6. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Adventuritis, stop at one of the pull-offs & climb up a hill with binoculars to watch & listen. I was lucky enough to watch the blacktail wolf pack half on one side of the road & the other half howling to them on the nearby ridge.

Edited: 18 February 2014, 22:59
N. Idaho
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7. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Denalicat, that must have been awesome! For years all I ever saw was the tail of a chipmunk headed down a hole as my car approached! lol I drive Blacktail every time I go to the park. Sometimes twice. Sometimes 3 times. After perhaps having driven it more than a dozen times, this last summer I ~finally~ saw a black bear and a moose along there. First time I have ever seen anything back in there! I have seen the best wildflower displays ever along here, though!

I would not take a rental car back in there. I drive a Honda CRV and while you normally don't need 4WD or the extra clearance, I don't think there would be a problem driving a passenger car back in there.

Pam

West Yellowstone...
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8. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Wow, Denalicat, that sounds amazing! I will give it another try on my next opportunity.

I drive a compact car and, while it was a little rough going, I had no problems. Of course, the road was pretty dry. I can't remember which month this was, but there was no residual moisture from snow or anything, so probably July or early August.

Cinnaminson, New...
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9. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

I agree, the Blacktail Plateau Drive can be hit or miss with wildlife, but I've had good success, especially when driving it around sunrise. I always have rentals in Yellowstone and have driven the Blacktail with every one, from a Kia Optima, Subaru Impreza and Chrysler 200. All of them have low clearance, but the road is very well maintained and mostly smooth. There are a few bumpy spots, but nothing an average car can't handle.

You definitely want to park in one of the couple of pullouts, get out and climb up the hill, and just sit there and listen. Very few cars come along and also have your binoculars handy. You will be rewarded!

Here are a couple of pics. First is from a moose encounter we had about a mile from the end of the road. There were 2 bull moose and 1 cow moose. The other is when we came across 15 or so mule deer bucks. The bears we saw weren't really in good spots for photos.

https:/…

https:/…

Here you can see what the road looks like:

https:/…

West Yellowstone...
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10. Re: Yellowstone NP side road???

Fabulous photos, Tom. Thank you for sharing them!