The dramatic June 2022 floods of Yellowstone have devastated the park and will likely affect the area economically for many years. Are Yellowstone guided tours done for the year, or is there a chance that some might reopen? Understanding whether to hire national park tour guides for this area requires knowing what parts of the park were most heavily affected and whether they’ll reopen this year.
The North Section: The Most Heavily Devastated
When the flooding started throughout Yellowstone, it became quite clear that the northern section would be the most heavily affected. Heavy rain, rampant snow melting, and excessive temperature changes throughout southern Montana washed a heavy amount of water into this section of the park, where the flood started and became the most devastating quite quickly.
Throughout this section of the park, roads are not just heavily damaged but gone. All five entrances to the north are closed and are likely to stay that way for the rest of the year. Park experts state that they’ll likely stay closed for “significant periods of time,” without giving a timeline for reopening. Anyone heading there from Montana and Wyoming cannot pass through the park to avoid this damage.
Officials are closing these sections not just to minimize further damage but to protect motorists. If damage spreads and worsens throughout the region, drivers may find themselves trapped. All Yellowstone guided tours, even with official national park tour guides are closed to the north, though there are sections of the park there are already opening up for use after the flood.
Some Areas Are Reopening
While Yellowstone officials attempt to evacuate over 10,000 visitors in the park (and severe weather prompts continue to affect the area), park officials are already reopening some sections of the park. As Montana state officials scramble to provide residents with safe power and drinking water, the less heavily affected areas of the park, mostly to the south, will see restricted access for some visitors.
The park plans to use an Alternating Plate License System to let in people based on their plate and restrict access to the park’s southern sections during recovery. After this section reopened on June 22, around 20 cars were waiting to come to the park. This number is a considerable decrease from the thousands of people who typically flock to the park daily to hike, camp, and visit.
Some limited Yellowstone guided tours may occur in these areas with specially trained national park tour guides prepared for the unique challenges of this experience. That’s because many businesses throughout the region rely heavily on Yellowstone to survive. As the park brings millions of people to the region every year, many people rely on tourism money to survive.
Unfortunately, some companies are likely to fail to survive, such as hotels that are often booked years in advance. Many are already seeing a wave of cancellations that could sweep through the area and cause heavy economic turmoil.