Over the weekend, I was chatting with the manager of a western wear store here in Billings, and she mentioned that tourists have already started passing through Billings. With Yellowstone National Park roads opening soon, Montana's tourist season has officially begun. The West Entrance to Yellowstone Park should be open by April 19.

Over four million guests have visited the park yearly since 2015 (exceptions for 2020 and 2022). Records were hit during COVID-19; 2021 saw nearly five million guests through Yellowstone gates. Many will enter through the busiest entrance at West Yellowstone, MT, a convenient, two-hour drive from the Bozeman airport.

West Entrance, YNP. Credit Google
West Entrance, YNP. Credit Google

 Major road openings in Yellowstone vary depending on snow.

Exact dates vary each year, depending on how fast road crews can clear the park's 370 miles of paved roads that lead to Yellowstone's most popular destinations. With much of the park receiving snow depths measured in feet instead of inches, it's no easy task. The only road open year-round in Yellowstone is the north route from Gardiner, MT to Cooke City, MT.

Read More: 10 Things You Didn't Know about Montana's Highest Town

Credit NPS
Credit NPS

Estimated opening dates for all entrances at YNP for 2024

  • April 19 - West Entrance at West Yellowstone opens first. This route connects travelers to Norris, Old Faithful, Mammoth, and the North entrance at Gardiner.
  • May 3 - East Entrance near Cody, WY opens next. This road connects to the West Entrance and North Entrance, with access to Fishing Bridge and Canyon.
  • May 24 - South Entrance of Yellowstone Park opens. This road connects to all the routes above.
Credit Canva
Credit Canva

Bring your patience to Yellowstone National Park.

Locals know that traffic congestion in the park is the norm. You won't be able to drive through all the routes in the park in one day. Not a chance. Driving 10 - 20 miles between popular attractions typically takes an hour or more. Plan accordingly.

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Get up-to-date info on Yellowstone National Park road openings, closures, construction updates, etc., HERE.

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