North Entrance Road Historic District

In 1887, Captain Clinton Sears outlined the core dilemma for those involved in the development of Yellowstone National Park: “The National Park is a great national trust, which should be carefully guarded and preserved, while, at the same time, made readily, safely, and cheaply accessible throughout its extent.” Safe, convenient roads designed—as far as possible—to blend with nature reflected the government’s attempt to balance these conflicting goals of access and preservation. The scenic course of the North Entrance Road signals this effort, as does its relatively narrow roadbed and the unobtrusive culverts constructed with stone headwalls so that they blend with the landscape. Such road building was not easy, and the Gardner River canyon presented exceptional challenges. Spring floods annually threatened to wash out the road, and despite construction of retaining walls and drainages, most years in the 1900s and 1910s saw crews removing huge boulders and hundreds of yards of dirt and rock from the roadbed, the result of dry slides from Sliding Hill. The North Entrance Road terminates at park headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs. It originates at the Roosevelt Arch, an impressive Rustic style entrance gate constructed in 1903 to welcome the throngs of park visitors brought by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Although the railroad is long gone, the Roosevelt Arch still marks the passage into a special place, while the narrow, winding road through the spectacular Gardner River canyon facilitates visitors’ entrance into “Wonderland.”

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Yellowstone National Park, Montana ~ Public