Beartooth Highway (US-212) Now Open for the Summer (With Nighttime Closures)

SnowBrains |

beartooth highway,
Beartooth Highway. Credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The Beartooth Highway (US-212), located east of the Yellowstone Park’s Northeast Entrance between Red Lodge, Montana, and Cooke City, Montana, opened yesterday, June 9.

Over the last several days, crews cleared a substantial amount of snow from the highway.

Temporary road closures due to winter weather can occur at any time on the highway, given its high elevation. Stay informed about weather conditions.

Plan ahead. Nighttime closures will begin today:

  • Closures will be in effect from 7 pm to 7 am Monday through Thursday. There will be no closures from 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. See map.
  • Closures will be in effect through mid-October and are necessary to allow for ongoing highway construction.

Check the Montana and Wyoming departments of transportation websites for road updates and status throughout the summer.

Beartooth Basin ski area, the only summer-only ski area in North America, relies on the opening of US-212 to open itself. However, due to low snow, the ski area has announced it will not be opening this summer.

The road, which closes each winter because of excessive snow and adverse winter conditions, typically opens by the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

Snow levels vary, and drifts can be as high as 26-feet at the higher elevations, according to the Montana Department of Transportation. 

MDT is responsible for the highway to the Montana/Wyoming border, where the National Park Service takes over maintenance responsibilities through Wyoming, back into Montana, and into Yellowstone Park. MDT and NPS coordinate closely in keeping the road open throughout the summer.

Opening the Beartooth Highway is a huge undertaking.

Map of the Beartooth Highway

Photo courtesy MDT

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...