Why Yellowstone's iconic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel won't take guests this winter

An undated photo of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel by Sepulcher Mountain in Yellowstone National Park. The hotel won't allow overnight stays this winter, park officials announced Wednesday.

An undated photo of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel by Sepulcher Mountain in Yellowstone National Park. The hotel won't allow overnight stays this winter, park officials announced Wednesday. (Jacob Frank, National Park Service)



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MAMMOTH HOT SPRING, Wyo. — Yellowstone's popular and historic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will not accept overnight guests this winter because of damage it received during significant flooding in June, park officials announced Wednesday.

The hotel was slated to open for the winter season on Dec. 15 and close out the season on March 6, 2023, according to Yellowstone National Park Lodges. The facility regularly draws in park guests during the winter season, which is December through March every year.

However, it will not allow any overnight guests or food services this winter because of damage to the wastewater system in the area, park officials said. However, the hotel's lobby, gift shop, ski shop and coffee/beverage services will be available this winter. Winter tours and snowcoach service will not be impacted by the partial closure, either.

"The hotel concessioner is in the process of notifying guests with reservations about the situation," officials said in a statement.

The current building dates back to 1938, though was built in the area of a hotel that predated it by decades. The National Hotel first opened in 1883, taking in visitors who arrived by horse-drawn stagecoaches, according to the park service. The hotel went through one renovation in 1913 before architect Robert Reamer "essentially cut the hotel in two — leaving the dining room separate from the new lobby and map room and the 1913 east guest room wing," the agency wrote.

The park service also completed an "extensive" $30 million rehabilitation and renovation in 2019.

But June's heavy flooding in the northern portion of the park near Mammoth Springs damaged roads and ruptured an important sewer line. Park officials explained that crews were able to reroute wastewater to percolator ponds that were originally used between the 1930s and 1960s, which allowed for some hotel functions to continue after it was initially closed.

The problem is that it is "not ready to support hotel operations" in the winter, they explained. Park officials said that they hope to have the hotel ready again for when it opens in spring 2023.

Wednesday's announcement comes a week after officials reopened the park's North Entrance for the first time since June. Old Gardiner Road also reopened after significant repairs.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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