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Yellowstone National Park to reopen north loop

tower junction sign ynp.jpg
Jacob W. Frank

Yellowstone National Park’s north loop will reopen this weekend for the first time since it closed following last month’s severe flooding.

The park’s north and northeast entrances remain closed to vehicle traffic, though people can enter on foot. Visitors will be able to access Norris Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs to Tower-Roosevelt, and Tower-Roosevelt to Canyon Junction via the south loop.

With the north loop reopening, 93% of the park’s roadways will be accessible.

“We're pleased to reopen the north loop of Yellowstone to the visiting public less than three weeks after this major flood event," Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement Thursday. "We have attempted to balance major recovery efforts while reopening as much of the park as possible.”

The park is suspending its alternating license plate system that controlled the number of people entering the south, east and west entrances.

Most of the park’s southern backcountry will open to overnight use Friday, though some areas will remain closed for repairs, high water and bear management. The park cautions that some waterways remain high, and backcountry areas in the north loop may close due to hazardous conditions and damaged trails.

The park says it’s in communication with outfitters and guides in the gateway towns of Gardiner and Cooke City/Silvergate “to further expand park access where possible.”

A 23-mile stretch of the Beartooth Highway opened earlier this week between the junction with the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the ski hill parking lot.

“Reconnecting the park to Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate remains Yellowstone's highest flood recovery priority,” the park said in a statement.