Yellowstone’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 (see Flood Recovery and Operations for details about the license plate system). 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.”
Learn more about flood recovery efforts, park operations, and how to access Yellowstone’s south loop via the Alternating License Plate System (ALPS), including an UPDATED list of FAQ’s: go.nps.gov/YELLflood
Photos (NPS / Jim Peaco): Park rangers welcoming visitors through the West Entrance on (re)opening day!