Through a joint effort conducted each spring, snow plowing crews from both Yellowstone National Park and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) cleared the famous 67-mile passage that links the park’s Northeast Entrance with the community of Red Lodge, Montana.
That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of snow still on the road. A visit to Big Moose Resort outside Cooke City by our contributing editor Nelson King yesterday yielded the following report:
There’s still over 5 feet of snow cover (and another foot in the last couple of days) and they’ve piled about a 20-foot mountain of snow on the access road [right off 212). Given that the snow is still accumulating and cool weather is predicted for at least the next couple of weeks, I would be pleasantly surprised if I can drive in to the cabin by the 25th of June — a record by far.
This year a majority of the road spent well past its traditional opening date buried under more than 25 feet of snow and ice. In advance of the scheduled May 30 opening, MDT had cleared a section from Red Lodge to Vista Point, though the road was opened and closed several times over the next few weeks due to adverse weather and snow conditions. At the same time Yellowstone crews were forced to pull resources from the Beartooth to focus on road clearing efforts over Dunraven Pass to increase visitor access that was being affected by other weather-related delays within the park.
Given the weather forecast, there’s a decent chance the Highway will be closed because of bad weather — snow is still falling in the area, so call ahead. Travelers in Montana may dial 511; those outside Montana may call 800-226-7623, or visit the Montana Department of Transportation website. Travelers in Wyoming may dial 511; those outside of Wyoming may call 888-996-7623, or visit the Wyoming Department of Transportation website.
Image from the 2010 Beartooth Highway plowing, courtesy of the National Park Service.