Beartooth Highway Closes at 8 a.m. Friday (10/8)
Written by Andrew-Rossi on October 8, 2021
With winter on the horizon, the Beartooth Highway partially closes this Friday, effectively closing U.S. 212 for the rest of 2021.
The Beartooth Highway – U.S. 212 – is one of the many signs of summer in northwest Wyoming. Its opening and closure bookend the increasingly busy tourism season in the region, and 2021 is no exception.
Forecasts for the 68-mile mountain pass call for “a powerful fall weather system” with wet accumulating snow. Because of this, the Wyoming and Montana Departments of Transportation, along with Yellowstone National Park, jointed decided to close the pass a bit earlier than anticipated.
Effective at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8, the Beartooth Pass from the Long Lake barricade to the MT/WY state line will close.
While the entire pass isn’t closed – only a 24-mile stretch – it does prohibit thru traffic from Cooke City to Red Lodge. This will effectively close U.S. 212 until its reopening in Spring 2022.
It’s almost a year to the day since the last closure of the Beartooth Highway. The same stretch of the highway was closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, as snow began falling on the nearly 11,000-foot peak of the pass.
U.S. 212 opened for Summer 2021 in late May. The reopening requires massive snowplowing efforts coordinated by W.Y.D.O.T., M.D.O.T., and the National Park Service.
There are four mountain passes in Wyoming affected by seasonal winter closures. Northwest Wyoming is home to two of those passes – the Beartooth Highway and the Medicine Wheel Passage (U.S. 14A) in the Bighorn Mountains.