There have been devastating floods causing widespread damage in Southern Montana and northern Yellowstone National Park, including in Red Lodge, Travel Montana’s headquarters. Thankfully, our staff in Red Lodge are safe along with their families and homes.
- Red Lodge was severely impacted, with people losing their homes, bridges washing out, the downtown area flooding, electricity outages, and water still not on in half of the town. Our community is digging in (literally) and trying to deal with the aftermath, filling sandbags, placing them in key areas around town, and helping dear friends clear out 6 feet of water in their homes. We are super grateful that nobody lost their life here. It all happened so fast!
- The Beartooth Pass is closed and the Beartooth Ranger District has closed all access to the National Forest until at least July 8th.
- Yellowstone is currently closed to visitors, primarily as a safety issue because there have been widespread power outages and some roads and bridges in the northern part of the park are washed out.
- The town of Gardiner at the north entrance to the park is open and the road north to Livingston is open. There is no access to the Park from Gardiner.
- Most of the rest of Montana, including Glacier National Park, Bozeman, and Billings are all open.
Impact on Travel and Visitation
If you have plans to visit Yellowstone or the gateway cities of Gardiner, Red Lodge, and Cooke City within the next week, you should cancel them.
In Yellowstone, the Park’s first priority is safety and the second will be damage assessment. However, parts of the park should be reopening soon. Yellowstone is over 2 million acres so there are still significant portions of the park that were untouched. First to reopen will be the southern loop with access from West Yellowstone, the southern entrance from Jackson, and the east entrance from Cody. This would mean the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, Norris Hot Springs, and Yellowstone Lake will likely be accessible in the near future.
However, the northern park entrance from Gardiner might be out the rest of this year. It is uncertain when the northeast entrance from Cooke City and the road through the Lamar Valley will be open.
If you have plans to visit Yellowstone this summer, you need to reassess those plans and likely will need to make changes.
Impact on Our Tours
We have canceled our Beartooth Hiking Vacation that was scheduled to start in a little over a week. The roads and trails will not be ready for hikers by then. Since Glacier National Park did not experience the same amount of flooding, we are happy that our Glacier Hiking Vacation scheduled for July is on track to run. We are also hopeful that come this fall, we will be able to run our Yellowstone Wolf Vacation in October in the Lamar Valley. For all private tours we have scheduled this summer in Yellowstone, we do expect to be able to visit Yellowstone but are even now working to adjust our travel arrangements to accommodate the unexpected situation.
Thank you to everyone who’s reached out to check on us and thank you to everyone who is doing what they can to help our communities and neighbors. If you would like to help Red Lodge clean up and rebuild, please donate to the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation.
If you are interested in a Yellowstone or Montana vacation this summer, we are here to help!