Yellowstone National Park Visitation Drops 50 Percent; Availability Surges for Accommodations, Adventures Outside Yellowstone
CODY, Wyo., June 28, 2022 – What was supposed to be a record-breaking vacation season in and around Yellowstone National Park has turned completely upside down and created opportunities for last-minute travelers.
“Just two weeks ago the cupboard was pretty bare for folks looking to make hotel reservations,” said Ryan Hauck, executive director of Cody Yellowstone, the marketing arm for the Park County (Wyoming) Tourism Council. “The flooding in Yellowstone, however, has cut visitation in half and created ripple effects in gateway communities like ours who depend upon that traffic. There’s even availability in town during the Cody Stampede and July 4 when we never have an empty bed.”
The floods that ripped through the northern part of the park two weeks ago tore up roads and disrupted the traffic patterns to the point that three accommodations complexes inside the park – Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, Roosevelt Lodge and Canyon Village – were closed. Canyon Village with its 400 rooms is scheduled to reopen soon,
with the other two possibly opening before the end of the season. More information is available online.
Many of the park’s top attractions are open including the Upper, Midway, Lower, Norris and West Thumb Geyser Basins. Visitors can see Old Faithful and other geysers erupt, mud pots bubble at Fountain Paint Pots, wildlife wander in Hayden Valley and the Upper and Lower Falls crash down in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Grand Prismatic Spring and nearby Fairy Falls are open as well.
The National Park Service is regularly updating information about park conditions and the reopening timing of facilities, and travelers are advised to review current information here before heading into the park.
In addition to the closed facilities, only three of the park’s gates – including the East Gate due west of Cody – are open on an odd/even Alternating License Plates System (ALPS). The result is the park is seeing a 50 percent drop in visitation over 2021. Some 30,000 people visit the park each day during peak summer months, and cutting that number in half has had a profound effect on regional businesses that rely on seasonal tourism.
So, what are these opportunities that exist now? Cody businesses such as dude ranches, hotels, campgrounds, museums and popular attractions like the Cody Nite Rodeo, Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Old Trail Town have remained open.
Outdoor recreation enthusiasts will find miles of riding, hiking and mountain biking trails in the Shoshone National Forest just to the east of the park’s boundaries. The fishing streams outside of the park were also unaffected by the floods, and Cody-based outfitters can help anglers discover those lesser-known fishing spots.
Cody has some 40 hotels and motels, 26 guest houses/lodges, 21 RV parks/campgrounds, 14 dude/guest ranches, seven B&Bs and numerous vacation rentals. Many have received cancellations in wake of the Yellowstone floods, and availability has increased.
Cody Yellowstone is the marketing organization for the region and is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as areas inside of Yellowstone National Park and the valley east of the entrance. You can go online or call one of the helplines.
Cody Yellowstone has opened two helplines to assist travelers who wish to make accommodations and other arrangements. Those numbers are 307-586-1571 and307-586-1574 .
Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as areas inside of Yellowstone National Park and the valley east of the entrance. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations