It was only closed just over a week, but the line for tourists to get into Yellowstone National Park started forming well before the sun came up. Those early birds wanted to make sure they got into the park first.

Yellowstone Crowd

Not every visitor that planned to arrive early, got there early enough and have been waiting for quite a long time. On the Yellowstone National Park Facebook Group, park visitors have been keeping everyone updated on their progress.

Yellowstone Crowd 4
Yellowstone Crowd 5
Yellowstone Crowd 6

The line has been a constant traffic jam since the line started forming in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks to modern technology, you're able to monitor what some of the gates are looking like. The National Park System has cameras located at some of the gates and you can see, the line has been constant all day.

Yellowstone Crowd 3

Since the northern loop isn't open and everyone is still trying to get in, there have been special rules put into place to enter the park. Some people didn't know or 'forgot' and were turned away at the gate.

Yellowstone is using an alternating license plate system for entry into the park. Here is the information directly from NPS.GOV

Public vehicle entry into Yellowstone National Park will be allowed based on two factors: whether the last numerical digit on a license plate is odd or even and whether the calendar day is odd or even.

  • License plates with an odd-numbered last digit can enter on odd days of the month.
  • License plates with an even-numbered last digit (including zero) can enter on even days of the month.
  • Personalized plates with a mix of letters and numbers that end with a letter (i.e. YELL4EVR) will still use the last numerical digit on the plate to determine entrance days.
  • Personalized plates without numbers (i.e. YLWSTNE) will be allowed to enter on odd days of the month.
  • Motorcycle groups traveling together (two or more) where all license plates in the group don’t correspond to the date may enter on even dates only.

Entrance station staff will turn away vehicles attempting to enter the park when the odd/even numerical digits do not correspond to the odd/even calendar date for entrance.


There are actually exceptions to the rule.

  • Visitors with proof of overnight reservations in the park will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number. This includes hotels, campgrounds, and backcountry reservations (not dining reservations).

    • Must show printed or digital reservation confirmation. It’s highly recommended that visitors print or download their reservation confirmation in advance, as cell/data service is either unavailable or limited at entrance gates. All vehicles associated with the reservation will need to have proof of their reservation in their possession. Camping without a reservation is not allowed in the park, including in parked cars or RVs. Park Rangers enforce no-camping rules on all roadways.
  • Bicyclists or visitors on foot are exempted from the ALPS.

  • Current commercial use operators with active commercial use permits will be permitted to enter regardless of license plate number.

    • Excepted commercial operators include: active Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) holders, motorcoach companies, commercial stock groups, and other commercial operators entering the park paying the Commercial Tour Fee.
    • Visitors wanting to enter the park on days not correlating with their license plate can book a guided tour with one of Yellowstone’s many authorized tour operators. View a list of guided tour options in Yellowstone.
  • Essential services like mail, UPS, FedEX, Grizzly Armored Car, employees and contractors may enter regardless of license plate number.


When the northern loop of the park re-opens, there is likely only going to be about 80% of the park that will be accessible.

Keep up to date by checking in on the NPS.GOV website.

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