Yellowstone sees record flooding, closes

High water levels in the Lamar River eroding the Northeast Entrance Road. Flooding in Yellowstone caused the park to close Monday.
NPS/Courtesy Photo

Record-high water levels on the Yellowstone River and flooding on rivers throughout the park caused Yellowstone National Park to close all five of its entrances Monday. The flooding led to power and water outages and extensive damage to roads and bridges.

Helicopter video shows damage the Gardner River caused to roadways between Mammoth Hot Springs and the North Entrance through the Gardner Canyon. NPS/Doug Kraus

The park will remain closed to inbound visitation through Wednesday, and superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement officials will not know when the park can reopen until flood waters subside and they can assess the damage. The park expects more rain over the next several days.

Two recordings of a house in Gardiner, Montana, falling into the Yellowstone River on Monday went viral. Sholly said in his statement Monday that the park was working to evacuate all visitors and provide support to isolated communities like Gardiner, which was without water and power.

Video shows a house in Gardiner, Montana, sliding into the Yellowstone River. Video by Parker Manning

Don Day, a Wyoming meteorologist, said on his DayWeather Podcast on Tuesday that heavy rain and melting snow caused the Yellowstone flooding.

“This is a culmination of events,” Day said. “By the time we got to the weekend, all the stars lined up.”

Multiple showers and thunderstorms hit Yellowstone over the last week, and the area saw around 16 inches of precipitation over the last two months, including some late-season snow. The rain and snow, combined with summer heat over the weekend, caused the intense flooding, according to Day.

Rocky Mountain National Park experienced less-severe flooding Sunday and Monday caused by melting snowpacks. The most recent Facebook update from the park included closures for two roads, two trails and a bridge.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.