Looks like we got out of Cooke City just in time: with the first big winter storm expected tonight, the Beartooth Highway is temporarily closing tonight.
The decision was made by Montana Department of Transportation, Wyoming Department of Transportation and National Park Service officials working with law enforcement authorities.
The closing is set for 6 p.m. tonight. On the Wyoming side, the road will be closed at the Long Lake Gate, which is 14 miles east of the intersection with WY-296, the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. On the Montana side, the road will be closed at the bottom gate 13 miles south of Red Lodge.
After the storm passes, crews will re-evaluate the status of the road.
If you’re planning a Yellowstone visit via Billings and Red Lodge — and there were indeed lots of folks on the Beartooth Highway the last few days — it will mean bypassing the high altitudes and skirt around the area via the Chief Joseph Highway (Hwy. 296).
Updated road information for Montana is available by calling 800-226-7623 and is available online at http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/. The latest information on road conditions in Wyoming is available by calling 888-WYO-ROAD or by visiting http://www.wyo.road.info/. Current information on roads in Yellowstone National Park is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.