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Yellowstone Road Closure - need driving ideas/times

Yellowstone Road Closure - need driving ideas/times

Aug 4th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Yellowstone Road Closure - need driving ideas/times

Aloha folks! I'm doing some last minute double-checking for our trip to Yellowstone at the end of August. I have noticed that the road between Norris and Madison will be CLOSED during the time we will be in the park.

My husband and I are driving up from Brighman City Utah (1 hour outside of Salt Lake City). The AAA TripTik is telling me the drive from Brigham City to West Yellowstone is about 4 hours. Then to go around the Grand Loop it is another 3.5-4 hours! Yikes!

I looked at going in the South Gate, but the AAA TripTik is telling me it's slightly fast to go in the West Gate even with the drive around the loop.

Any advice? We were planning on visiting the Golden Spike Monument on the day we are driving up to Yellowstone, but due to the road closure and potential 8 hours of drive time we are going to scratch that and get up SUPER early for this big driving day! Wow!

Mahalo for any advice or words of wisdom you may have!

Denise in Hawaii (not used to being in car for more than 45 min at a time) ;-)
hulagirl is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 105
Are you sure it is closed, even during the day? We were there last week and it was only closed at night. During the day it was open but with delays. If it is definitely closed, I would suggest going in the West Gate, going around the loop to Mammoth and Norris, and then exit the park at the North Gate to Gardiner, MT.
tnnc2 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 06:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,671
Hey, hulagirl, we may be overlapping our trips a bit! As you say, I have also seen that that section of the loop will be closed. As you've probably seen, it will only experience lane closures until then. Price you pay for off season, I suppose...

We are staying in West Yellowstone (which we also did last year, so the trip is still fresh in our mind). So...we fly into Salt Lake City just before noon, but then we are skirting the park to the west, staying at Big Sky, MT, the first night. Then the next night in Gardiner. That way we can leisurely explore that region and take the long loop down to West Yellowstone, since we have to go "around the Horn," so to speak.

P.S. Should be places to stop and gawk at scenery every 45 minutes..add the time to your agenda and enjoy!
sludick is online now  
Aug 5th, 2009, 12:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
To tnnc2, The official Yellowstone website shows the road between Madison and Norris will be closed for the season on August 17th. http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm


On the day you leave Brigham City where are you spending the night? What did you plan to see in Yellowstone on that day? How long to you have in Yellowstone?

utahtea is offline  
Aug 5th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Aloha all - thanks for the replies!

tnnc2 - yes, as of August 17th it will be closed for the season. ;-(

sludick - We fly into SLC and arrive around 10:30 am on day 1. Then my husband and I were planning to head to REI (since we don't have one in Hawaii) to gawk and dream, then drive to Brighman City and check into the KOA there.

utahtea - We are staying at the Brighman City KOA. We will do the Golden Spike 'thing' on the day we arrive so that we can head out for Yellowstone early on day 2.

Our plan for Yellowstone is:

2 nights in Mammoth Hot Springs and 2 nights at Old Faithful Inn. Then 1 night in Jackson, then 1 night in Park City to get us back to SLC for the flight home.

So if we leave Brigham City at sunrise, that should give us plenty of time to account for scenic stops, food, geocaching, etc on our way to West Yellowstone. I'd like to get to West Yellowstone by noon. Then we have all afternoon to make our way around the Grand loop and up to Mammoth.

Since we are taking the S. Gate out to Jackson and Park City, I'm trying to avoid driving the same roads twice.

Do you folks think that departing Brigham City by 6am will get us to West Yellowstone by noon - allowing for pit stops, food, scenic areas? AAA says 4 hours to drive but I'm not sure if there is much to see on the way. (I'm from Illinois originally and driving through Illinois is pretty boring - flat, corn, hay. Not sure of the geological features of N. Utah and East Idaho. It has me taking the 15 north to the 20 and the 20 right to West Yellowstone.

Aloha and Mahalo for any advice!
hulagirl is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Denise - It takes about four hours to drive from Brigham City to West Yellowstone. I would allow another half hour for pit stops. If you have extra time, there is a really neat waterfall about 30 minutes off of Highway 20 in the Island Park area. After you leave the Interstate 15 at Idaho Falls (watch for the exit for Highway 20- Yellowstone - Rigby closely...it will be right after the Broadway exit), you will take Highway 20 up through St. Anthony and Ashton. You will drive up a large hill (actually the edge of an old volcano caldera) and then eventually come to an open area (I think about 10 miles). Watch for the signs for Mesa Falls. It is very beautiful and you can walk to the edge.

The Norris road closure is 24 hours a day, seven days a week starting August 17th. The Park Service is dynamiting the cliffs along the road and putting in a new bridge. Not even fishermen are allowed in the area.

West Yellowstone is the closest entrance to Old Faithful (about 30 miles away). You will not need to go through the construction area to get to Old Faithful.
WestYell is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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PS... There are some great geocacheing spots around West Yellowstone!
WestYell is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
WestYell - Thanks! We MUST stop at Tiki's Cache in West Yellowstone are our caching name is "Tiki" so it's almost required! ;-)
hulagirl is offline  
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