Although snow still clings to the ground in the hills surrounding Gardiner, Montana, we're looking ahead to the transition of winter to spring and all that comes with it. Check out the latest on wildlife activity, park opening dates, and more from Nature's Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone Prepares for Opening Day
Many of Yellowstone's roads are currently closed as crews work hard to clear snow for spring opening day. Although visitors cannot access park interior locations such as Old Faithful at this time, the road from Mammoth to Lamar Valley and on to Cooke City is open year-round. This wildlife-rich area known as the Northern Range is only accessed from Gardiner, Montana, this time of year—and we highly recommend it to our visitors! For more information on important park opening dates, check out the Yellowstone's 2018 Schedule.
Wildlife Activity in Town
Wildlife—including elk, bighorn sheep, and bison—have joined us both in town and all along Highway 89, as they often do this time of year. Now is a wonderful time to witness and photograph this incredible meeting of nature and civilization. Visitors should also note the speed limit has been reduced from 70 mph to 55 mph between Yankee Jim Canyon and Gardiner for the safety of both drivers and wildlife.
The World's Tallest Geyser Erupts
After reviewing the latest scientific information, Yellowstone National Park reported Steamboat Geyser erupted in the early morning hours on March 15. Located in the Norris Geyser Basin approximately 50 miles from Gardiner, Steamboat's eruptions can reach heights of up to 300 feet and are entirely unpredictable—the last eruption took place in September, 2014 (pictured below).
Time to Start Planning for Summer!
If you're coming to Yellowstone's North Entrance this summer it's not too late to start planning your trip. Check out our helpful Gardiner trip-planning resources, including lodging, dining, and activities. Give us a call at (406) 848-7971 and we'll be happy to help you put together the ideal Yellowstone vacation for you and your family.
Bears Emerge from Hibernation
The first grizzly bear was spotted on March 6 by Yellowstone National Park staff. Male grizzlies typically emerge from hibernation in mid-March. Females with cubs come out of hibernation a bit later, in April to early May. All of Yellowstone Country is bear country—we encourage anyone heading into the park or recreating in the surrounding area to brush up on bear safety tips.
Park Trail Closures
The Boiling River is currently closed due to muddy trail conditions. As bears continue to emerge from hibernation, it's a good idea to check with the nearest Visitor Center for any additional trail closures in Yellowstone National Park.
Anglers know spring is one of the most underrated times of the year for fly-fishing on the Yellowstone River. Water clarity is the biggest variable this time of year, but rising temperatures mean hungry trout and lots of them. In April and May we look forward to the March Browns and the Mother's Day Caddis Hatch. Whether you are a seasoned pro or want to try fly-fishing for the first time, spring is a great time to start. Contact Park’s Fly Shop for the most up-to-date report on conditions in the area and for all your fishing needs.
Looking Ahead to Spring
As the days continue to grow warmer, we're looking ahead to baby wildlife arriving in May, taking a scenic drive through Paradise Valley, and gearing up for spring hiking. Until then, we're soaking up the extra hours of daylight and welcoming some old friends back into the area—including buttercups, bluebirds, and fly-fishermen!
Photos Credits: Baby bison - Evan Barrett. Elk at Roosevelt Arch and Yellowstone River - Jean Modesette. Elk in town - Gardiner Chamber of Commerce. All others courtesy of Yellowstone National Park.