Cody Adjusts as Yellowstone National Park Reopens; Travelers Finding Accommodations, Adventures Outside Yellowstone
Just one week and two days after a horrified world learned of the devastating flooding in the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park partially reopened. The south loop of the vast, 2.2-million-acre park – so named because of the park’s distinctive figure-eight-shaped roadway – and three of the park’s five gates are now open.
National Park Service superintendent Cam Sholly announced that the south loop would reopen using an Alternating License Plate System (ALPS), with odd-numbered last digits on license plates allowed to enter the park on odd days of the month and even-numbered (and zero) last digits on license plates entering on even days of the month. Complete details can be found here.
Although hotels and many services in the park will remain closed, numerous popular park sites and selected visitor services reopened today. They include the Upper Geyser Basin which includes the park’s most celebrated geyser, Old Faithful; West Thumb; Grant Village; Bridge Bay; Fishing Bridge; Lake Village and Norris Geyser Basin. Visitor Education Centers in Canyon Village and West Yellowstone will also be open. These south loop locations will be closed for now: Canyon Village Lodge & Cabins, campgrounds in Canyon, Madison, Norris and Lewis Lake and the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum.
Cody Businesses are Open, Opportunities for Last-Minute Travelers
For those in gateway communities like Cody, the rapid response of the National Park Service is good news, and it provides hope for returning to the robust season the region had experienced so far as the park celebrates its 150th anniversary. ￼
With very few exceptions, Cody businesses – including dude ranches, hotels, campgrounds, museums and classic attractions like the Cody Nite Rodeo, Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Old Trail Town – have remained open. Although attractions and accommodations have seen cancellations, they have also experienced an increase in bookings by travelers who are quickly working to alter their vacation plans.
“While our hotels and other businesses have reported cancellations, they are also receiving calls for new bookings, which may suggest that Wyoming-bound vacationers are adjusting their plans on the fly,” said Ryan Hauck, executive director of Cody Yellowstone, the marketing arm for the Park County (Wyoming) Tourism Council. “That means that travelers with some flexibility may be able to find accommodations at campgrounds, dude and guest ranches and popular Cody hotels that might otherwise have been sold out as the summer season nears the July mid-point.”
Although park-bound visitors may not be able to experience some of the park’s famous attractions, there are numerous adventures just to the east of the park that will also provide lasting vacation memories. For example, outdoor recreation enthusiasts will find miles of hiking and mountain biking trails in the Shoshone National Forest just to the east of the park’s boundaries. There are also lesser-known backcountry gems such as Kirwin Ghost Town, a well-preserved ghost town that can be accessed by ATV tours. The trout-rich streams outside of the park were also unaffected by the floods, and Cody-based outfitters can help anglers discover those lesser-known fishing spots.
Accommodations Available for July 4 Cody Stampede
The biggest event of the year in Cody is its world-renowned five-day celebration of the July 4 holiday. Named one of the best July 4 getaways by Reader’s Digest, the Cody Stampede event kicks off June 30 with the Cody/Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls Rodeo. Over the course of the next several days, visitors can experience parades, festivals, rodeos and more. Tickets are still available for the rodeos, including the final July 4 rodeo which is capped by spectacular fireworks show.
The Cody Stampede is always rip-roaring fun, and especially this year, as “Yellowstone” actor Cole Hauser will serve as the Grand Marshal of the July 4 parade. ￼
Cody Yellowstone has opened two helplines to assist travelers who wish to make accommodations and other arrangements. Those numbers are 307-586-1574 and 307-586-1571.