Many of you are aware that I looked forward to driving the Beartooth Highway in Montana. See details below.
Although I was advised that the Beartooth Pass was open, upon arrival at the pass at 11000 feet after a white-knuckled drive we were turned back as the pass had been closed due to heavy snowfall at the top. This was June 17:) We had to drive down to the starting point and take an alternate route to Cooke City which took an additional 5 hours.
The Beartooth Highway has been called "the most beautiful drive in America," by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt. Because of heavy snowfall at the top, the pass is usually open each year only from mid-May through mid-October, weather conditions permitting.
The Beartooth Highway is the section of U.S. Highway 212 between Red Lodge, Montana and Cooke City, Montana. It traces a series of steep zigzags and switchbacks, along the Montana-Wyoming border to the 10,947 ft (3,337 m) high Beartooth Pass. The approximate elevation rise is from 5,200 ft (1,600 m) to 8,000 ft (2,400 m) in 12 mi (19 km) in the most daring landscapes.
When driving from the east to the west, the highest parts of the Beartooth Highway level off into a wide plateau near the top of the pass, and then descend to where the Beartooth Highway connects to the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway near Cooke City, which forms the northeast gateway to Yellowstone National Park. En route, one passes numerous lakes typical of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area which borders the highway along much of its route.
Because of the high altitudes, snowstorms can occur even in the middle of the summer and the pass is also known for strong winds and severe thunderstorms. The highway passes through portions of Custer National Forest, and Shoshone National Forest and near the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.
This road connects with the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to reach Cooke City and the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.