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Yellowstone opens a bit more for summer, following Grand Canyon’s lead

Visitors view the Yellowstone River from an observation deck in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park

Visitors view the Yellowstone River from an observation deck above Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Yellowstone National Park, which eased into activity two weeks ago, will reopen several entrances in coming days, followed by many cabins, but the park’s campgrounds and emblematic lodges are still closed until further notice.

The move puts Yellowstone on the same path as another gradually reopening icon of the national park system, the Grand Canyon, but several steps behind.

On Monday, the National Park Service is to open Yellowstone’s three main Montana portals: the west entrance (near West Yellowstone), north entrance (near Gardiner) and northeast entrance (near Cooke City). The openings, which follow the Montana governor’s decision to lift out-of-state travel restrictions, mean that all five of the park’s entrances are open. (Its Wyoming entrances opened May 18.)

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This move is part of a gradual process, park officials said in a statement. Along with the entrances, other openings include restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails, boardwalks, some stores, medical clinics and approved tours, boating and fishing, and takeout food service. No resumption of sit-down dining in the park is scheduled yet.

Limited overnight accommodations would begin reopening “later in June,” a Yellowstone release said, beginning with cabins that have private bathrooms. Xanterra, one of the park’s concessionaires, said Friday it would have cabins open at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel (accepting bookings for stays beginning Monday), Old Faithful Lodge (June 8), Old Faithful Snow Lodge: (June 8), Lake Yellowstone Hotel (June 17), Lake Lodge (June 17) and Canyon Lodge (June 19).

The park’s Old Faithful Inn, Grant Village and Roosevelt Lodge remain closed until further notice.

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Citing the fight against the coronavirus, park officials also have said that campgrounds, visitor centers and other facilities remain closed for now. Xanterra has said it expects to open several campgrounds in mid-June, including Madison (June 15), Bridge Bay (June 17), Grant Village (June 17) and Canyon (June 19).

At the Grand Canyon, lodgings are scheduled to begin opening Friday with Maswik Lodge, followed by El Tovar Hotel and Kachina Lodge on June 10. Bright Angel Lodge and Thunderbird Lodge will follow June 15.


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