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Weather Wise: Strange year for Beartooth Highway

Weather Wise: Strange year for Beartooth Highway
Posted at 5:09 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 10:03:56-04

HELENA — Montana's highest road, the Beartooth Highway will be closed for the season Tuesday, Oct. 11 with the next estimated opening Memorial Day Weekend 2023.

It's been a weird year for the Beartooth Highway, one of the most scenic roads in the country. The opening this spring occurred on schedule, with drivers able to wind their way up to over 10,000 feet on the Friday before Memorial Day. However, a huge snowstorm produced up to 5 feet of snow shutting down the highway right after it opened. That snowstorm would have more implications later in June that would close the highway for an extended period of time.

Record rainfall and snowmelt produced widespread, dramatic flooding that washed away parts of the Beartooth Highway as well as many roads in and out of Yellowstone National Park. Because of the damage, the only access to the Beartooth and Cooke City was via the Chief Joseph highway through Wyoming.

Road Repairs were completed and the entire Beartooth Highway reopened in late July.

The road remained open until a snowstorm shut it down in late September. While this is not unusual, the highway was able to be reopened until Tuesday, October 11th.

For the next seven and a half months, the highway will be closed as storms produce feet of snow that get blown around by howling wind. See you next Memorial Day Weekend, but anything is possible with a road that almost touches 11,000 feet above sea level.