On June 12, 2022, Yellowstone National Park began to fall apart. Literally. During the previous days, unprecedented rain pummeled the park’s Beartooth and Absaroka mountains and that rain melted off snow creating even more or a torrent of 4 to 9 inches of rain. The park — and surrounding county’s — rivers swelled, flooded, and began to carry away homes and destroy roads as rockfalls and mudslides only made things worse.
“Yellowstone is a region shaped by our planet’s mighty natural forces,” said National Parks Service Director Chuck Sams in a press release following the park closure. “This is what makes it so spectacular and unmatched anywhere in the world. This week’s flooding reminds us that we humans are just one small part of this ecosystem.”
Indeed, the draw of Yellowstone is the natural rawness of the place. The park’s 2.2 million acres shelter grizzly bears and wolves, elk and big horn sheep, and it represents one of the biggest chunks of protected land on the planet. The first national park in the U.S., it sits on top of a massive volcanic caldera, which creates its famed geysers and bubbling paint pots. But that caldera could erupt in an explosion that would alter the ecosystem of the planet. And the park has been closed by the forces of nature before — in 1988 wildfires burned nearly 800,000 acres in the park, even forcing then-President George H.W. Bush to evacuate from a fishing trip. So the power of nature is part of the power of Yellowstone.
While the bad news is that the park’s north and northeast entrances remain closed and some of the damage will take years to repair, most of the park and its roads are now open again. And as of July 6, seven of nine Yellowstone National Park Lodges and many campgrounds are now open too. And this may be your best shot to get in last-minute at spots that are usually booked out by this time in the summer.
Here are our recommendations on where to stay.
Canyon Lodge & Cabins, a massive, 400-room lodge with dining, that’s close to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its stunning falls
Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins, a national historic landmark with dining on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, the largest high elevation lake in the U.S.
Lake Lodge Cabins, Grant Village, more modest and modern accommodations also on the lake
Old Faithful Inn, a national historic landmark that puts you right in the action for the park’s most famous attraction
Old Faithful Lodge, another historic site that provides cabin rentals.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge, opened in 1999 and yet another spot to stay in comfort near the famed geyser (it’s also open in the winter)
Xanterra, which manages the lodges and campgrounds, says to visit the Yellowstone lodge website or call 307-344-7311 for reservations.
The latest Yellowstone National Park conditions, including available park services, roads, flood recovery, weather, and more can be found here.