Beartooth Highway (US-212) Will Open Friday July 22nd Ahead of Schedule

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beartooth highway
The most beautiful drive in the world? Credit: The Beartooth Highway

Montana Department of Transportation is excited to announce that its crews and Riverside Contracting are finishing up the repair work south of Red Lodge on US 212 ahead of schedule. The Beartooth Highway will be opening this coming Friday (July 22, 2022) at 5 pm.

Snowmelt and flooding last month damaged six areas of the highway. The Department says construction crews were able to finish repairs about one week ahead of schedule.

The Wyoming side of the highway, which was not damaged, reopened three weeks ago.

Night-time closures of the highway are still in effect from 7 pm to 7 am Monday thru Thursday, because of overnight construction work.

Beartooth Highway
Current construction on Beartooth Highway. Credit: MDOT

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 and closes in October.

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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