Despite having three of its gates closed because of the coronavirus, Yellowstone National Park saw healthy traffic in the first three days of operations after opening back up. And they are expecting even more traffic through those gates during the Memorial Day Weekend.

Monday thru Wednesday, visitation was 90% of normal through the East Entrance (near Cody, WY) and approximately 60% of normal through the South Entrance (near Jackson, WY). Vehicle counts per day are broken down below.

May 18                            2019                   2020                   Difference

East Gate                         478                      504                      105% of 2019

South Gate                       910                      542                      60% of 2019

Total                                 1,388                   1,046                   75% of 2019


May 19                             2019                  2020                  Difference

East Gate                          585                     502                      86% of 2019

South Gate                        825                     584                      71% of 2019

Total                                  1,410                  1,086                  77% of 2019


May 20                             2019                  2020                  Difference

East Gate                          546                     307                      56% of 2019

South Gate                        876                     395                      45% of 2019

Total                                  1,422                  702                      49% of 2019

Last year, with all five entrances open on these same dates, there were 5,022 cars in the park on May 18, 4,880 cars in the park on May 19, and 4,723 cars on May 20. It is estimated over the past three days, there is less than 20% of the normal traffic volume in the park compared to when all five entrances are open at this time of year.

Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said,

Overall, the first three days of operations have gone smoothly, especially with the very reduced amount of visitation in the park. I expect these numbers to go up significantly in the next few weeks.

The park is working closely with Governor Steve Bullock to set an opening date for the Montana entrances (west, north, and northeast). The governor announced earlier this week that he's lifting out-of-state travel restrictions on June 1st, so it's anticipated that those Yellowstone gates will open on that date or very soon thereafter.

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