And just like that, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are closed. In a joint press releases by Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, it was announced that the roads would be closed due to COVID-19 concerns from the gateway communities surrounding the iconic parks. The following, in italics, is a press release directly from both National Parks: 

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are announcing modifications to operations at the request of local county health officers from Park County, WY, Park County, MT, Teton County, WY, and Gallatin County, MT. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Effective immediately, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are closed to all park visitors until further notice. There will be no visitor access permitted to either park. State highways and/or roads that transcend park/state boundaries and facilities that support life safety and commerce will remain open. Both parks will cooperate on the implementation of the closures. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.   

“The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our local partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily closed the parks. We are committed to continued close coordination with our state and local partners as we progress through this closure period and are prepared when the timing is right to reopen as quickly and safely as possible.”  ~ Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail. 

The parks encourage people to take advantage of various digital tools available to learn about Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on Please check with and for specific details about park operations, as well as live webcams, educational materials and virtual tours of your favorite areas. 

For those who are reading between the lines, it appears as if the road from Gardiner, Montana to Cooke City, Montana will remain open. A call to Yellowstone Forever was answered, and we were told that the road is open, but only for essential travel. Park Rangers may be enforcing this.  An email to verify this information was sent and a call as placed to Yellowstone’s public affairs officer Morgan Warthin, but the email or call has not been returned. We will update this post as soon as we hear back.


While you shouldn’t and can’t visit Yellowstone for awhile, you are in luck. Why not daydream about your next wildlife watching experience in America’s First National Park with my new guidebook. With color pictures and the entire road system of the park broken down into the best wildlife viewing opportunities, this book will fill the void until you can once again explore the wondrous and beautiful lands of Yellowstone.

Want to see the wildlife of Yellowstone National Park?

Order a copy of my newest book, The Ultimate Wildlife Watching Guide for Yellowstone National Park. I have been visiting Yellowstone for 30+ years, as well as having lived and work right near the park. With thousands of trips into the stunning landscape, I have seen nearly every animal possible, numerous times. Year round, I have traveled into the park and witness scenes like wolves chasing down bison and elk, grizzly bears feasting on elk and bison, elk battling for a harem, bison in the rut and bighorn sheep challenging each other. I have seen beavers, otters, eagles, swans and sandhill cranes. I have watched bison and elk take their first steps, and other animals take their last. I have seen coyotes and fox dive into snow and watched as mountain goats perch precariously from craggy rocks. I have seen it all and want to share that knowledge with you. With full color images and a beautiful layout, this book is for every Yellowstone enthusiast, no matter the age or experience level.