July 12th 2023
You can checkout anytime you’d like, but you can never leave….welcome to Yellowstone National Park in July.
We loved 99% of everything at Yellowstone National Park. I wrote several posts about the magnificent geysers, valleys, mountains, rivers, streams and meadows and of course the beautiful wildlife.
But they have GOT to get control over the traffic as you are attempting to leave the park.
Getting in is no big deal. Even the longest entry lines to pay are reasonable. But of the 9 days we visited the park we spent more than two hours trying to exit on each of three separate occasions. And from what we understand this is standard in the summer months.
Adding rangers at the main intersections between 4 – 7pm would help tremendously but even more than that, they need a cop and a tow truck stationed at each exit during the busiest days. Perhaps even an ambulance. One day, we were creeping along for over an hour before we saw the first emergency vehicle coming to help. I hope nobody needed immediate care.
I WISH the delays had had been from a bison jam. Nope – those were few and far between. This was just too many inattentive drivers driving rental cars they are not familiar with in too big of a hurry.
We saw a rollover (thankfully it looked like everyone was OK) and saw the aftermath of several other accidents. The other two times the blockage had been cleared by the time we were moving again, so we didn’t see what caused the delay.
And because there is no cell service in most of the park, there is no way to get emergency information to visitors. If visitors knew there was a two hour backup, we could potentially try leaving through a different entrance.
Tim was saying (during one of our long standstills) that an AM Radio signal through the park would be helpful in case of an emergency. Rangers could make visitors aware of sudden weather emergencies (not uncommon) or traffic issues.
I realize that rangers don’t sign up to deal with traffic issues, but if the national park system doesn’t get this under control, not only will people start to be leery of visiting, but someone is going to die when emergency services can’t get to them in time.