After opening for a handful of hours on May 27th, the scenic and amazing Beartooth Highway was quickly closed due to a serious snowstorm slamming the region over Memorial Day Weekend. The closure lasted for 12 days, before officials announced it was reopening on Thursday, June 9th. The road will be open until it is not. I know. Super helpful. It is important to know that while the road is open for the season, there will be closures occurring. The closures will be in effect from 7.p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday. There will be no closures Friday through Sunday.
As the spring of 2022 demonstrated, snowstorms occur throughout the year, and even when it looks nice out, strong winds and severe thunderstorms can appear out of nowhere. In the best of weather, driving this road takes at least two hours, thanks to numerous pull-outs, incredible stops and mountain goat encounters. I know I should be preaching wilderness and trails, but the Beartooth Highway is a journey in itself, worthy of exploration by the most rugged of adventurers. If you haven’t yet driven over this spectacular road, I highlighted recommend it. Slicing through the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, one of the great drives in America is waiting for your adventurous spirit. In north central Wyoming and South Central Montana, straddling the border, the Beartooth Highway can be found. Open only a few months each year, this wild 69 mile long road weaves through a stunning landscape, reaching nearly 11,000 feet in elevation.
Starting in Red Lodge, Montana at 5,568 feet above sea level and running to Cooke City, Montana (the seventh-highest US city by altitude) at 7,608 feet above sea level, few roads in the country offer such a stunning view for so long. Towering peaks rise from the valley below as the road switchbacks up, while glacier-ground hillsides provide the backdrop the the route. Lakes and boulders dot the barren landscape for as far as the eye can see, granting access to some of the most inhospitable wilderness in the contiguous United States.
The Beartooth Highway serves as backdoor into Yellowstone National Park. The road, while popular with some, is mostly overlooked by the millions who enter the park each year. Few amenities are available, making this a rugged and rough road, despite the paved path. Opened in 1936, the Beartooth Highway follows the same basic path that Civil War General Philip Sheridan and 120 men took in 1972 as they were returning from an inspection tour of Yellowstone National Park.
Now open, the Beartooth Highway is ready to once again dazzle those who drive over it. However, drivers and visitors should be aware that temporary road closures can occur any time on the highway given its high elevation. Also, it is important to know that closures will be in effect from 7.p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday. There will be no closures Friday through Sunday.
This is a hard closure and traffic will not be allowed to pass through during these times. The closure is from Pilot Index Overlook east to Beartooth Lake Campground. There will be barricades at the traffic lights on each end. Closures will be in effect through mid-October and is necessary to allow for ongoing highway construction.
I hope you all have a chance to go there this year and when you do, let me know what you thought of it! I love the road a lot and am always stunned that so few of the millions of park visitors take the time to see the region. Oh well! Their loss!