‘Massive Snowstorm,’ Shuts Down Travel to Much of Yellowstone National Park

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Image: National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Josh Spice.

It may say its spring on the calendar, but the weather in some parts of the United States seemingly hasn’t gotten the message. For example, parts of the Rocky Mountain west were slammed with a spring snowstorm in late May, the Cowboy State Daily (CSD) reported.

“Two feet of snow on Thursday [May 23] stopped the Beartooth Highway from opening,” CSD said. “Many other Yellowstone routes were closed down too as winter refuses to give up.

“The National Park Service (NPS) and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT) hoped to open the Beartooth Highway for Memorial Day weekend,” wrote CSD. “MDOT announced that the opening of the Beartooth Highway, scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday, has been delayed because of ‘deep, drifting snow.’”

Before the storm hit the National Weather Service had issued a Winter Storm Warning through midnight May 23, saying high winds and as much as two feet of snow in the Absaroka and Beartooth mountains could make travel dangerous on U.S. Highway 212 (the Beartooth Highway).

The storm front was expected to continue dumping snow sporadically on the region, possibly through the weekend.

The Beartooth Highway is a popular route into Yellowstone national park. The NPS and the MDOT had been working hard to clear the highway of deep snowpack for more than a month in anticipation of opening on Memorial Day weekend. The late season winter storm with its heavy snow proved to be a setback to those efforts.

Aside from the Beartooth Highway, the NPS also reported that various other routes too and through Yellowstone would remain at least temporarily closed: the Sylvan Pass, the route between Yellowstone’s East entrance and Fishing Bridge, where several vehicles got stuck, was closed; the South entrance road to Grant Village; the East and South entrances into the park; and Dunraven Pass between Canyon Village and Tower Fall, were all closed. It was hoped that the East and South entrances would be able to be reopened by Memorial Day, while other routes, particularly, the Dunraven Pass, were closed with no possible date being announced for their reopening.

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