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Work Nearly Finished On New Road Through Gibbon Canyon In Yellowstone National Park


Reclamation work is ongoing in the Gibbon River Canyon of Yellowstone National Park, where a road realignment is allowing crews to restore the landscape to its original conditions. NPS photo by Mary Hektner.

It has been a long time coming, but the end of the roadwork finally is in sight for a key stretch through Yellowstone National Park.

In August traffic began traveling over the new road alignment through Gibbon Canyon between Norris and Madison Junction and across a new 253-foot bridge over the Gibbon River.

The construction progress means that round-the-clock travel is now being allowed along this section of the Grand Loop. However, visitors still can expect up to 30-minute construction delays through October 23, including through the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend, park officials said.

Paving of the new road and the nearby Beryl Springs Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of September.

The redesigned Gibbon Falls Overlook and parking area, two new picnic areas, and the long-closed Gibbon Falls picnic area are all set to open to visitors October 23, weather permitting. All interior park roads are scheduled to close for the coming winter on Monday morning, November 8.

Another important component of the Gibbon Canyon road project began when traffic began traveling over the new road alignment. Wetlands, rare plants, thermal areas, and even the path of the Gibbon River itself were disturbed when the old road was built in the 1930s. Work is now under way to remove the old road and bridge and restore the 2-mile section of river corridor.

The land along the river is being reshaped back to the way it was before the old road was built, and thousands of native plants grown from seed are being planted in the area. When completed, about three acres of wetland habitat will have been restored, according to park officials.


The construction work has made us change our itinerary the last several visits to Yellowstone. In July when we were there, we were staying at the Old Faithful Inn and wanted to hike the Osprey Falls trail. Wanting to get an early start and knowing that the road would still be closed, we decided to catch the sun rising over West Thumb. Those were some of the best photos of the trip since the smoke from a small fire near the Bridge Bay area made for a beautiful sunrise. It just goes to show you that there's a gift in everything, you just have to look for it sometimes. Returning at the end of our hike we were delayed for a short while due to the ongoing construction. My husband and I were both eager to see how the work was coming along and it looked great!!! Restoration of 3 acres of wetland habitat and 2 miles of river corridor might not seem like much to some people but I'm eager to see how in 5 years, these changes have benefited the wildlife as well as plant life!

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