Yellowstone National Park and surrounding communities were devastated by unprecedented amounts of rainfall last week. The damage to roads and bridges has created hazardous conditions in and around the park, leading officials to close all five entrances on Monday.
This type of extreme weather is not common for the area. “It’s created an unusual instance for us,” said Katrina Wiese, president and CEO of Destination Yellowstone. “At this time, we’re usually worried about wildfires, not flooding.”
Since the flooding began, more than 10,000 visitors were evacuated from the park, the Associated Press reports, and search-and-rescue missions are ongoing in surrounding areas.
Known as “the world’s first national park,” the 2.2 million-acre expanse is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the country. The park drew a record number of visitors last year, with more than a million people visiting in July. According to data from the travel app TripIt, Yellowstone ranks in the top 20 places for hotel bookings over this Fourth of July weekend.
With Yellowstone’s peak season around the corner and the full extent of the destruction still unfolding, here’s what potential visitors need to know about the park’s situation.