Yellowstone’s road system loops more than 350 miles through the park as it carries visitors to every major Yellowstone attraction. Although traffic jams and construction create less than ideal driving conditions, they are a perennial occurrence that all summer drivers must be ready to face. Patience is key in driving on Yellowstone’s roads, so maintain your cool to ensure your safety and that of other visitors. For the latest in construction related road closures, visit Yellowstone on the web at www.nps.gov/yell/planvisit/orientation/travel/roadclos.htm.
Driving Yellowstone: Private Vehicles and Commercial Tours
Although private tours were historically the only means of traversing Yellowstone’s unique terrain, today’s visitors enjoy the luxury and convenience of creating their own touring schedule while using their personal vehicles. Most of Yellowstone’s visitors opt to use their private automobiles, motorcycles, or bicycles to tour the park’s major attractions. A few, however, prefer to let someone else drive.
Although no free public transportation is available in the park, those too nervous to drive Yellowstone’s winding roads may take advantage of the Xanterra Parks and Resorts bus tours. Operating during the summer season only, these tours allow patrons to choose from a Lower Loop Tour, Upper Loop Tour, or the Grand Loop Tour. The Lower Loop tour departs daily in the southern portion of the park while the Upper Loop Tour departs from Canyon Lodge, Lake Hotel, and Fishing Bridge RV Park on an explorative journey of northern park regions. The Grand Loop Tour, which travels to all the park’s major attractions in a single day, starts and ends its tours at both the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and in Gardiner, Montana. During the winter, Xanterra Parks and Resorts welcomes snow lovers to experience snowcoach tours departing from various points throughout the park. Those interested in a tour should make advance reservations.
In addition to the park-sponsored tours, several regional commercial businesses offer summer scenic tours, winter snowcoach tours, and snowmobile excursions. Other businesses provide winter bus transportation on the road linking Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City.
General Seasonal Road Opening and Closing Dates
The following is a general listing of Yellowstone’s seasonal road conditions and openings, barring road construction or unexpected weather events. For additional information, visit Yellowstone’s website at www.nps.gov/yell/planvisit/orientation/travel/roads.htm.
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