Beartooth Highway Opens 5/24/2013

It’s official – The entire Beartooth Highway will open Friday, May 24, 2013 at 9:00 am for the 2013 summer travel season.

Just in time for the weekend!  Yellowstone National Park Service has announced today that spring plowing of the Beartooth Highway is complete and the road will be  open in time for travelers to enjoy it this Memorial Day weekend.

Following is the official press release from Yellowstone Park Service making the announcement:

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
May 22, 2013                   13-039
Al Nash or Dan Hottle
(307) 344-2015
Beartooth Highway Opens For Memorial Day Holiday Weekend
The Beartooth Highway, the scenic high elevation portion of US-212 linking Red Lodge, Montana, with the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park, is scheduled to open for the season at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, May 24. Spring road clearing and maintenance is conducted by the Montana Department of Transportation and the National Park Service.
Inside Yellowstone, the road over Dunraven Pass linking Canyon Village, Tower Fall and Tower Junction also opens for the season Friday morning.
All other park roads and all park entrances have already opened for the season.
Most seasonal visitor services in the park open in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Saturday also marks the opening of fishing season in the park.  Details are available online at, by consulting the park newspaper handed out at entrance stations, or by asking the staff at visitor centers and information stations in and near the park.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a chance of afternoon or evening thunderstorms for the three day holiday weekend, with high temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, and overnight low temperatures near freezing.  Spring visitors to the park are encouraged to have flexible travel plans and to be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions.
All communities near and on the way to Yellowstone are open all year, offering a wide range of recreation opportunities, activities, and services for visitors to the region.
Information on lodging, camping, services, and activities near the park in Montana including the towns of Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Cooke City and Silver Gate, is available by contacting their respective Chambers of Commerce or from Travel Montana at 800-847-4868 or  Information on visiting Wyoming including the communities of Cody and Jackson is available from their Chambers of Commerce, or by contacting Wyoming Travel and Tourism at 800-225-5996, or on the web at  Idaho travel information is available by calling the Idaho Tourism Division at 800-VISITID or online at
There will be no daytime travel delays or overnight road closures due to road construction during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  Starting Tuesday morning, May 28, visitors should expect construction delays of up to 30 minutes on the road between Tower Fall and Canyon.  This section of road will also be closed every night between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. due to construction.
Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117. Information on current conditions in the park is also available online at

One note of caution – fast moving high elevation storms are common on the Beartooth Highway this time of year!  While every effort will be made to keep the Highway open, travelers are advised to be weather aware!  Please check with area Chambers of Commerce and/or the Beartooth Highway website at for weather updates and travel conditions!

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Did You Know?

Clay Butte Lookout - Beartooth Highway

The Clay Butte Lookout was built in 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was used as a fire lookout. It was staffed until the 1960s, when aircraft proved a better tool for fire detection. Today, because of its popular scenic vantage point and proximity to the Beartooth Highway, Clay Butte is used as a visitor information site. It was remodeled in 1962 and has been staffed since 1975 by volunteers. The focus of Clay Butte today is to give visitors a glimpse of how fire lookouts functioned 60 years ago. Sightseers driving the scenic byway stop to obtain information or take in the view, which includes wildlife, botanical areas, the effects of the Clover-Mist wildfire of 1988, and the geology of ancient seas that once covered the Beartooth Plateau.

Cooke City Montana - Beartooth Highway

The Cooke City cemetery is located only a short distance from town, adjacent to the Gallatin National Forest Service Campground. Within the plot lie the remains of many who cherished the hope for the future of Cooke City, including one of its founders, Horn Miller.   When lumber for coffins were needed, men of the community simply used parts of uninhabited buildings to construct the boxes.