Beartooth Highway (US-212) Opens for the Summer Today But Closes Tonight Due to Winter Weather

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Crews plowing Beartooth Highway on May 19, 2021. Credit: Yellowstone NP

The Beartooth Highway (US-212), located east of Yellowstone Park’s Northeast Entrance between Red Lodge, Montana, and Cooke City, Montana, will open Friday, May 27 at 8 am and close at 5 pm.

This is a temporary closure due to expected winter weather, heavy snow, and hazardous driving conditions through the weekend. The highway will reopen as conditions allow.

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

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