Yellowstone's south loop reopened Wednesday. Here a Ranger explained the road closures to a traveler entering the park. NPS Photo

YNP Opened Wednesday; 5K vehicles entered, Half the Usual Number

Yellowstone National Park’s south loop reopened yesterday morning, and, as the park expected, traffic entering through only three entrances (South, West, East) did cause major backups initially, however, the backups cleared in a little over four hours.  Park staff monitored traffic throughout the day and reported light to medium activity in most areas. Norris Geyser Basin, one of the busiest destinations in the park, reported light activity.  

Less than 5,000 vehicle

s entered the south loop which normally is 10,000 or more vehicles. Less than 1% of vehicles had to be turned around due to having the wrong license plate, yesterday was for the last digit in a license plate to be even numbered. Today, it will be odd numbered. The park will monitor traffic and expects backups to be high in the mornings as day use visitors enter and should normalize mid-morning through mid-day. As a reminder, many times during normal years, traffic is backed up numerous miles at the West and South entrances. 

Superintendent Cam Sholly said, “While it’s too early to tell if the license plate system worked, it appears to have done its job by cutting our normal traffic counts by half.  As we’ve discussed with our community partners, we will monitor this together and make adjustments if necessary. We’re happy to have visitors back in Yellowstone and appreciate the patience of the public and community partners as we continue working through this difficult situation.” 

National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, right, and YNP Supt. Cam Sholly addressed a press event. NPS Photo