The Memorial Day weekend is a big event on the Yellowstone calendar: Most lodging and services will be open for the season by then, and many visitors will hit the main route between Billings and the Northeast Entrance, celebrating the Beartooth Highway opening.
Weather permitting, of course.
Crews are out clearing the Beartooth Highway and have been since April 8. Memorial Day weekend is a ceremonial spot on the Yellowstone calendar, with plenty of folks from Billings and Red Lodge making their first runs to the Park for the season. If the weather holds up (which is always a big if on Memorial Day weekend), there will be plenty of traffic beginning on Friday, May 24, on what’s arguably America’s most scenic highway.
And if you’re one of those people, take a moment to reflect on how much work goes into the Beartooth Highway opening. The Montana Department of Transportation knows; you can get a good idea from this video:
From the Billings Gazette:
The Montana Department of Transportation began the annual clearing work April 8, with workers from Red Lodge, Billings, Laurel, Big Timber, Columbus and Bridger all pitching in.
The crews are on track to have it cleared by Memorial Day weekend, when they expect to see the usual lineup of vehicles waiting at the gate Friday morning.
Clearing the Beartooth Highway is a tremendous undertaking. It’s 11 miles from the gate at the base to the Montana-Wyoming state line at the top, where Montana road crews meet Wyoming and Forest Service crews working from the other side.
Photos courtesy Montana Department of Transportation.