Yellowstone Closed Through Wednesday Due To Massive Rockslides, Flooding

Some visitors were evacuated from Yellowstone National Park on Monday as heavy rains fell on melting snowpack causing "extremely hazardous" conditions, according to the National Park Service.

Ellen Fike

June 13, 20223 min read

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All entrances to Yellowstone National Park were closed Monday and would be through at least Wednesday as heavy rain falling on melting snow caused significant flooding and road damage, park officials announced.

Calling it “extremely hazardous conditions,” authorities evacuated the northern portion of the park due to flooding, rockslides and mudslides caused by record rainfall.

Park officials announced on Monday afternoon that the park would be closed to visitors until at least Wednesday.

“Red Lodge, Montana, is a river right now and we have some flooding on the west of Cody,” Cody Beers, a Wyoming Department of Transportation spokesman, told Cowboy State Daily. “I’ve never heard of Yellowstone closing the entire park to inbound traffic, though.”

Footage from the storms showed roads collapsing into raging rivers and logs piled high on the shores.

The electricity was out in several areas of the park as of Monday morning.

All inbound traffic to the park was halted until conditions stabilized and park officials could assess damage to the roads, bridges and other facilities. The visitors turned away included those with lodging and camping reservations.

Many of the park roads could be closed for an extended period of time, according to park officials.

“It’s just been multiple days of rain up in this area, plus we had snow on Memorial Day weekend,” Beers said. “It’s a rare day when we have water levels that reached the bottom of our bridges.”

Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day said flood advisories surround Yellowstone because of the “huge amount of snow” coupled with the significant rain.

“I don’t think anyone thought the runoff would be as big as this,” he said.

Beers said WYDOT will continue to monitor the weather events in the northwestern portion of the state and how they might affect roads.

He recommended anyone traveling toward Yellowstone wait a day or two for officials to figure out how long certain roads will be closed and whether the rainfall in the area will continue.

“Be careful out there, because Mother Nature’s fury is showing itself right now,” Beers said.

Yellowstone superintendent Cam Sholly said on Monday that staff’s first priority was to evacuate the northern section of the park, where there were multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides and other issues.

“The community of Gardiner is currently isolated, and we are working with the county and State of Montana to provide necessary support to residents, who are currently without water and power in some areas,” Sholly said. “Due to predictions of higher flood levels in areas of the park’s southern loop, in addition to concerns with water and wastewater systems, we will begin to move visitors in the southern loop out of the park later today in coordination with our in-park business partners.”

Sholly said it was likely the northern loop of the park would be closed for a substantial amount of time.

“I appreciate the efforts of the Yellowstone team and partners to safely evacuate areas of the park and of our gateway community partners who are helping us through this major event,” he said. “We appreciate the support offered by the Department of Interior, National Park Service and the Montana and Wyoming governors.”

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Ellen Fike