Historic floods hit Montana's Yellowstone Country this week, including in Yellowstone National Park. Fortunately, Montanans know how to jump into action, and local communities are working swiftly and efficiently to mitigate the situation. Once again, we've seen strength, fortitude, and compassion in droves.
We realize many people have planned trips and are wondering if they will still be possible. There's a lot to be assessed in the coming days, and we'll keep you updated as we know more. In the meantime, here are tips for immediate travel planning.
Flood Status and Current Closures
Yellowstone National Park
At this time, all entrances to Yellowstone National Park are closed. However, the Park is evaluating how to best handle traffic through sections that can be re-opened. Updates are expected to come soon.
Several Red Lodge hotels are open and available; call ahead to confirm. The Songwriter's Festival June 23-25 and Home of Champions Rodeo July 2-4 are going on as planned. Highway 308 is open with access to Red Lodge in and out of Bear Creek. Camping in the national forests is currently closed and will likely remain so for the upcoming weeks. The Beartooth Highway is currently closed.
Cooke City is open and can be accessed from the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Wyoming 296.
Currently, the West entrance to Yellowstone National Park is closed, but the town of West Yellowstone is open, including Yellowstone Airport. with plenty to do in the surrounding area. Hiking, ATV rides, Hebgen Lake and the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center are all great options.
It will take some time to fully assess the damage and formulate a plan for the town of Gardiner. So please be patient, and we will let you know when they are ready to welcome travelers back! In the meantime, check out this Bozeman Daily Chronicle story about how Gardiner residents came to the aid of visitors in the community.
What To Do About Current Reservations
First, check your accommodation's social media channels if you have a current reservation in Yellowstone National Park or other affected areas. Most locations post instructions for those already with reservations, and many diligently contact those with the earliest reservations first.
At this time, it is unknown what will be closed and for how long. Business owners and Park officials are working to assess the damage and plan for the foreseeable future. If possible, we ask that you wait a few days before canceling your reservation while business owners and Park officials assess the situation and determine next steps.
Please be patient and know that your lodging partner will do everything they can to work with you. Most businesses are experiencing a high call demand, so please be considerate to those answering the phone. Everyone is doing their best.
Montana is a big state—the fourth largest state, in fact—with plenty of beautiful areas to visit. In Yellowstone Country, Big Timber, Livingston, Bozeman, Big Sky, West Yellowstone, Belgrade, and Three Forks are all open for business as usual. You'll find plenty of room for hiking, alpine fishing, biking, and some excellent evening entertainment.
Keep in mind that Yellowstone National Park consists of 2.2 million acres. It's a vast area with several sections, so even though you may not see one part, you may be able to see a different location. Local tour companies are planning to operate in the unaffected areas, which will likely be the easiest way to see the park this summer.
What You Can Do to Help
Many people are wondering how they can help. Our communities thank you. Any help can make a difference, whether physically participating or fiscally donating to relief efforts, and is very much appreciated.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park, has set up the Yellowstone Resiliency Fund to provide immediate and flexible financial support for the most pressing needs in the park's community.
Gallatin and Park Counties
In Gallatin, Park, and Madison Counties, the Greater Gallatin United Way and the Park County Community Foundation have teamed up to create a relief fund to help residents with personal care, food replacement, supplemental income, vehicle damage, or loss, and home repairs. This money will be distributed to individuals and agencies serving those affected.
- To donate to the relief fund, go to: https://find.pccf-montana.org/SWMT-Flood-Relief-Fund.
- If you or your business has been affected and would like to request funds, go to: https://find.pccf-montana.org/Request-Flood-Relief-Funds.
Similar funds have been set up in the greater Red Lodge area.
- The Red Lodge Area Community Foundation has set up the Carbon County Disaster Relief Fund for cash donations.
- To volunteer or donate supplies, go to https://carbonalert.org/incidents/.
Warmer temperatures are expected through Saturday, potentially causing water levels to rise again. Therefore, the public is urged to remain cautious, alert to changing water conditions, and clear of flooded areas.
Check road conditions before traveling, and monitor the latest Park information on https://www.visityellowstonecountry.com/ynp-status.