The roads to many favorite destinations in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will close to automobile travel in a few days as both parks begins preparing for the winter season.
In Yellowstone National Park, the only road open to auto travel all year is the section from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo. to Tower Junction and the Lamar Valley on to the park’s Northeast Entrance, leading to the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana.
All other roads will close for the season at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4, according to a statement released by the Yellowstone public affairs office. Park workers will begin preparing the roads for snowmobile and snow coach travel that starts Dec. 15.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, medical clinic, campground and visitor center remain open all year. Pay-at-the pump fuel is available 24 hours a day all year at all park service stations.
All communities near and on the way to Yellowstone are open all year, with local businesses offering a wide range of fall and winter recreation opportunities.
Information on fall and winter lodging, camping, services and activities near the park in the Montana communities of Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Cooke City and Silver Gate is available by contacting their respective Chambers of Commerce or from the Montana Office of Tourism at 800-847-4868 or http://visitmt.com.
Those interested in visiting the Wyoming communities of Cody and Jackson can get information from their Chambers of Commerce, or by contacting Wyoming Office of Tourism at 800-225-5996 or http://www.wyomingtourism.org.
If your travel plans take you through Idaho, you can get more information by calling Idaho Tourism at 800-VISITID or checking out their web site http://www.visitidaho.org.
Visitors driving to and in the park during the fall and winter are encouraged to have flexible travel plans and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Temporary travel restrictions or closures can occur at any time without notice. Mud and snow tires or tire chains may be required. Updated information on road conditions in Yellowstone is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
Extensive information and assistance for planning a visit to Yellowstone is available on the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/yell.
Jackson residents and and Grand Teton National Park visitors are reminded that two roads within Grand Teton will close to vehicle traffic for the season on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 31. These seasonal closures include the length of the Teton Park Road between Taggart Lake parking area and Signal Mountain Lodge parking lot, as well as the Moose-Wilson Road between Granite Canyon and Death Canyon trailheads.
In addition to the annual road closures, the Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations will be temporarily closed for the month of November and early December. They are scheduled to reopen on December 15 for the winter season.
The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose is scheduled to be closed from Nov. 4 to April 7, 2014 as a cost-saving measure due to ongoing budget constraints, according to a statement released by the Grand Teton public affairs office.
Park officials say the decision to close the Discovery Center for the winter season stems from a need to reduce expenses associated with its winter operation during a time of low visitation. Customary visitor services will be provided at other locations and via online access or through phone contact. Education outreach programs to area schools will take place for the 2013-14 winter season, as they have in previous years. A cost/benefit analysis will be done at the conclusion of this winter closure to determine a course of action for future years.
The Teton Park Road is not plowed after the first of November. However during the period of time that the Teton Park Road remains free of snow, visitors are welcome to use the roadway for other recreation such as walking, bicycling and in-line skating. Once the snow begins to accumulate on the roadbed, winter season activities such as cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snow-shoeing become possible.
Pets are only permitted on park roadways where vehicles are allowed access, and by special exemption, pets are allowed on the Teton Park Road year-round. However, pet owners are reminded that dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet and under physical restraint at all times. Dog owners are required to clean-up their pet’s waste, and mutt mitt stations are provided for that purpose during the off season months.
In addition to road closures in Grand Teton National Park, the Grassy Lake Road in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway will close for the season with the first major snowstorm.
For more information, visit .http://www.nps.gov/grte.