Residents of Park County are all too aware that the East Entrance into Yellowstone National Park isn’t necessarily the most reliable route.
Travelers on Highway 14/16/20 must cross Sylvan Pass, a high-altitude route with steep canyon walls that’s prone to avalanches during spring and fall storms.
So while the East Entrance is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Friday, current weather patterns indicate park officials may be forced to close the gate shortly after it opens.
“With a chance of rain and snow in the forecast, visitors should watch for quickly changing weather conditions,” said Linda Veress with the Yellowstone’s Public Affairs Office. “They should anticipate temporary road closures near Sylvan Pass because of increased avalanche danger from recent snowfall and warm temperatures.”
Veress said many areas of the park are still experiencing winter conditions, and snow and ice may cover sections of road, so they should drive cautiously.
Snowfall No Deterrent To Road Crews
Despite a long, harsh winter, Veress said that road crews are still on track to open the East Gate on Friday morning and that huge amounts of snow have been moved.
“Road crews are working hard to plow roads and prepare the park for opening,” she said. “They are doing a great job plowing, and we are on track for the scheduled opening dates, weather-permitting.”
Other Entrances To Open Soon
The East Entrance isn’t the first road into Yellowstone to open to the public after this year’s strong winter season.
On April 21, the West Entrance opened to vehicular traffic, and the highway between Gardiner, Montana and Cooke City, across the north expanse of the park, is open year-round.
On May 12, should the weather cooperate, the roads between the South Entrance and West Thumb, Lake Village and Old Faithful are scheduled to open, as well as Tower Junction to Tower Fall. Dunraven Pass, at a higher elevation, won’t open until May 26.