Weather-permitting, the Beartooth Highway (US-212) between Red Lodge, Montana, and Cooke City, Montana, will open May 28, 2021, at 8 am, Yellowstone National Park announced yesterday.
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The announcement is great news for Beartooth Basin, North America’s only summer-only ski area, which had been planning to open May 28th too, and was just waiting for confirmation the pass would be open.
However, officials warned that conditions can change quickly, especially during spring and fall, and roads can temporarily close due to poor driving conditions. Plan to have alternate routes for travel should the highway close.
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.