Video: What it was like during Yellowstone's historic, park-closing flood

An image taken by Mike Godfrey last week, at Yellowstone National Park, prior to flooding that completely closed the park. (At Home in Wild Spaces via YouTube)

5 photos

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — After decades of exploring, Yellowstone's remarkable landscape continues to keep me on my toes and humbled at Mother Nature's awesome power.

My family and I arrived at Yellowstone National Park on the evening of June 10, excited for yet another visit to the world's first national park. Our first evening began normal enough. We made camp, cooked, ate and cleaned up dinner before setting out into the park, hoping to spot some of its mesmerizing wildlife.

We knew that the forecast warned of scattered rain and thunderstorms but that was nothing new to us. Having visited the park dozens of times, the park's often dramatic weather has always been part and parcel of the Yellowstone experience.

But we had no idea what we were in for — flooding that ultimately became the only natural event to ever completely close Yellowstone National Park.

Chances are, you have seen many of the clips and photos documenting the remarkable changes to the park's rivers, roads, camping and picnic areas. We've all heard about the damage caused by the peculiar combination of unprecedented rainfall, record-high temperatures and torrential runoff.

I saw it all unfold first-hand, as you can see in this video. It documents what it was like to actually witness the flooding and the resulting changes to Yellowstone's iconic Iandscape, to know what it was like to watch water levels rise to unprecedented levels, flooding valleys and overwhelming park infrastructure.

With the significance of the recent flooding and the subsequent complete closure of Yellowstone National Park, the video offers a tour of the park before and during the historic flood.

Perhaps you will join me in asking, what does this mean for the future of the park and all of us, park visitors or not? Is there more to sort than the wrecked roads? Those are questions that will be answered with time.

Mike Godfrey

About the Author: Mike Godfrey

Mike Godfrey is the owner of At Home in Wild Spaces, a responsible outdoor recreation company which has worked with various public lands agencies to provide outdoor enthusiasts the information and education needed to both enjoy and preserve America's natural heritage. He's been a KSL contributor since 2015.


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Mike Godfrey is a graduate of BYU and along with his wife, Michelle, the manager of At Home in Wild Spaces, an outdoor recreation website, blog and community dedicated to sharing national parks, wilderness areas, hiking/biking trails, and more.


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