Snow Brings First Fall Closure of 2023 to Scenic Beartooth Highway
The first official day of Fall is Saturday.
Bam! Just like that, it suddenly feels a lot more like fall around Montana, and (as if on cue), the Beartooth Pass has experienced its first closure of the season. The Montana Department of Transportation shared Friday morning (9/22) that Highway 212 over the pass is closed on the Montana side from Mile Marker 45 to 48.88. The Wyoming Department of Transportation reports their side of the highway is closed between WY 296 and Beartooth Pass.
MDOT says they'll reevaluate the closure on Saturday.
More than likely, Beartooth Pass will reopen later this weekend or Monday at the latest. Once this cold, rainy, snowy front blows through, we're expecting temps to bounce back into the 70s next week in the Billings area. The pass typically won't close for the season until sometime in mid-October, according to MDOT. If you're hoping to take a fall road trip over one of the most scenic highways in America, you've got a few weeks to get it done.
How much snow will the Absaroka/Beartooths get this weekend?
According to the National Weather Service, up to 2" of snow are expected at elevations of 9,000 feet in south-central Montana tonight through Saturday. At elevations above 10,000 feet, they're forecasting between 6 and 10 inches of snow. Hunters in the high country are advised to prepare accordingly.
Snow has fallen on one Montana ski resort already.
Showdown Ski Resort shared pictures on their social media account yesterday of snow falling at the resort. I checked the webcams at Big Sky Resort earlier today, and people were still playing golf. It looks a lot more pleasant in that area than it does around here at the moment. West Yellowstone didn't have any snow yet either. That could change at any point this time of year.
Prep for winter driving.
Now is a good time to go through your winter driving checklist. Find your ice scraper, check the condition of your tires, etc. Consider assembling a winter great kit too. Some suggestions are below.