Screenshot of Google Maps showing a side-by-side comparison of a standard map and a terrain map for a route from Jackson Hole to Old Faithful, with travel times and road closures highlighted.

Google Maps Road Closure Hack for Summer National Park Road Trip Planning During Winter

Is Google Maps refusing to properly route your summer National Park Road Trip? Welcome to the club. You are not alone. This is a common problem for people planning road trips in the western National Parks from November to April. So, let’s get right into my Google Maps Road Closure Hack.

The article will discuss all aspects of Google Maps Road Closures Hack, including:

  • Why does Google Maps route around road closures?
  • How to do the Google Maps Road Closures Hack on both computer and the Google Maps Phone App.

Table of Contents


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Here are some of the best resources to plan your national park travels. If you are new to the parks, National Park Travel Planning Bundle is the perfect resource to help you plan your dream trip, get it planned, and reduce the stress of planning your National Park trip.

  • National Park Itineraries: Let someone else do the planning with our pre-planned National Park Itineraries for less than $6 a day.
  • Get Free Entrance: The America the Beautiful National Park Pass is an $80 pass that is valid for 12 months. The pass provides free entrance to the National Parks and more than 2,000+ other federal lands.
  • Make sure you have a National Park Passport: Here is my favorite National Park Passport.
  • For Flights: Use Skyscanner to get the best prices on your flights.
  • For Rental Vehicles: Browse for deals on rental cars at Or rent an RV or campervan with RVshare or Outdoorsy.
  • For Hotels: I book my hotels on and
  • For Vacation Rentals: I love VRBO for my vacation rentals.
  • For Camping: If making camping reservations in the parks, I use For private campgrounds, I use Campspot.
  • Buy Outdoor Gear: I get most of my outdoor gear at REI.
  • Get Trail Maps on your phone with 
  • Looking for National Park Gift Ideas: Here are the 55+ Best National Park Gifts Ideas.
  • Don’t forget travel insurance: I get my travel insurance through World Nomads.

Google Map Automatic Routing Around Road Closures

Google Maps is my favorite road-tripping planning software and app, but the biggest flaw with the program is that Google only uses current road status to plan your route. I get it. Google is between a rock and a hard place.

They either assume that you are about to leave on this road trip or give you the current information. Or they can assume that the journey is in the future and all the roads are open. Google has no way of knowing which scenario works best for their users. I suspect that they picked current information because that is what their user data tells them.

It’s great for planning a weekend trip to your local National Park units but isn’t so great when its January and you are trying to plan a trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier.

How the Google Maps Road Closure Hack Works

1. Enter Two Locations

The first step is to enter your locations. For this demonstration, I’m going to use Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park as my two locations. The straight line distance between these two points is 68 miles, and if you look at a map, there is a nice road called the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway that connects them.

On February 6, 2024, Google Maps says me that this drive would take me a minimum of 8 hours and 15 mins and 398 miles.

This hack ONLY works for TWO locations at a time. It will not work if you try to add more stops.

Screenshot of Google Maps showing a route from Old Faithful to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with the travel time of 8 hours and 15 minutes for 398 miles, alongside alternative routes and a notice for a route closure.

2. Change the Departure date

Once you have your two locations entered, you need to change your departure date. I have found it best to use a random day in mid-July. Generally speaking, the high-elevation roads are all open by mid-July. Once you have changed the departure date

Road Closure Hack for Computers

2.1 Click the Leave Now Button
A Google Maps navigation snapshot indicating the options menu for a trip from Old Faithful to Jackson Hole with a red arrow directing attention to the 'Leave now' button for immediate travel.
2.2 Select Your Date:
Google Maps itinerary showing a route from Old Faithful to Jackson Hole with a calendar view open to select a date, highlighted on 'July 2024' for setting a departure or arrival time.

Road Closure Hack for Phones

2.1 Click the 3 Little Dots Next to the First Location
2.2 Click Set Depart or Arrive Time
Interactive Google Maps screenshot showing an options menu for a planned route, with the highlighted feature to 'Set depart or arrive time' for better travel planning.
2.3 Select Your Date
Google Maps navigation window displaying multiple time options for departure or arrival to plan a trip from Jackson Hole to Old Faithful, set against a satellite map background.

3. Google Maps Shows the Summer Roads Open Route

Google should now show you the drive time, assuming the roads are all open and drivable. Going back to our Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Old Faithful example, the drive time is now 2 hours and 10 minutes and 88 miles. Much more reasonable, don’t you think?

Google Maps interface showcasing a route from Old Faithful to Jackson Hole with options for exploring local amenities like restaurants and parking, placed over a light terrain map.

What to do if the Google Maps Road Closures Hack Doesn’t Work?

Are there multiple stops?

This hack only works if you do TWO locations, so if you are trying to travel from A to B to C, you will need to do separate searches. You need to map A to B and then change the dates. On a separate map, do B to C, and then change the dates.

Have you selected a date when the road is almost guaranteed to be open?

Every high-elevation road is a little different. Its opening and closing dates may change from year to year, and I have no idea what source Google uses to determine when the road is open or closed. But in general, I have found that most roads (at least in the United States) are open from mid-July to early August. So pick a date within that range, and you are probably safe.

Another thing to check is whether there are planned closures for the summer. Most road maintenance can only be done during the summer, so if something serious needs to be done, then the road will be closed for the summer.

Final Thoughts on the Google Maps Road Closures Hack

I hope this Google Map Hack helps you with your National Park Road Trip Planning.

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Pin for Later: Google Maps Road Closure Hack for Summer National Park Road Trip Planning During Winter

Having trouble getting Google Maps to include routes that are currently closed for winter? Click here for the solution - the Google Maps Road Closure Hack.
Hi, I'm Jennifer!

Welcome to the wonderful world of National Parks. I'm here to help you plan your NEXT amazing adventure through the United States National Parks and beyond. I want the national parks to be accessible to all.

I live in Tennessee, and when I'm home, you can find me hiking in the Smokies and the Cumberland Plateau.

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