Getting into Yellowstone National Park from the south gets easier Friday, when the park's South Entrance gate is scheduled to open to vehicles.
That scheduled opening is just two days earlier than last year's opening of the South Entrance.
According to park officials, the gate was to be open for business at 8 a.m. Friday. That will provide the shortest, most-direct route for visitors heading up from Jackson, Wyoming, to the Old Faithful area.
The roads from the park’s North and West Entrances opened as scheduled on April 20, and the East Entrance opened May 4.
While all the roads should be open this weekend, park officials caution visitors that spring in Yellowstone is very unpredictable and can still bring cold temperatures, high winds and falling snow. Even cleared sections of roads can be narrow and covered with a layer of snow, ice and debris. Drivers should use extreme caution as road clearing operations can be ongoing at any time throughout the park.
By Friday, most visitor facilities will be open at Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful, and limited facilities will be available at Canyon, Fishing Bridge and Grant Village. The opening of popular campgrounds and trails, especially those in the backcountry, could be delayed. A complete list of facility and road closures can be found on the web at this site.
Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
For information on roads outside of the park from Cooke City over Colter Pass to the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, travelers in Wyoming may dial 511; those outside of Wyoming may call 1-888-996-7623, or visit the Wyoming Department of Transportation website.
For information on the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge, Montana, travelers in Montana may dial 511; those outside Montana may call 1-800-226-7623, or visit the Montana Department of Transportation website.