Snow plow crews are on track for the seasonal opening of Beartooth Pass.

Montanans love to take friends or relatives from flatland states over Beartooth Pass, mainly to watch them squirm in terror. The narrow, winding road is one of the most stunning drives in Montana, but it can make some travelers uncomfortable.

With sheer drop-offs just inches from the edge of the road, vertigo-inducing views, and a good chance of motion sickness (from the altitude, the curves, or both), Beartooth Pass can be a stressful trip for many tourists. I've driven the pass many times - on two wheels and four - and while it doesn't make me nervous, I certainly don't take my eyes off the highway.

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A job not for the faint of heart.

The guard railing appears suspiciously insufficient for stopping a vehicle from plummeting to a fiery demise, thousands of feet below. The grade is steep in some spots and while speed limits on Beartooth Pass are low, few travelers try to rush things. 1) Why would you want to? and 2) The consequences of reckless driving on Beartooth Pass are far worse than a speeding ticket.

Credit MDT via YouTube
Credit MDT via YouTube
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Beartooth Pass should be open Memorial Day Weekend.

The Montana Department of Transportation shares videos each spring of the snow removal process over Beartooth Pass, an elevation climb from 5,588 feet in Red Lodge to 10,947 at the apex. MDT is tasked with clearing the MT side of the pass, while Wyoming road crews handle the WY side.

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These MDT employees spend weeks clearing hundreds of thousands of tons of snow from the iconic Beartooth Pass roadway; in some places, it's drifted ten feet or more above the asphalt.

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Open by Memorial Day? Most likely.

The pass is almost always open by Memorial Day Weekend and typically closes in late September/early October. However, spring weather at 10,947 feet can be quite unpredictable. The Beartooth Pass 2024 opening may be delayed or temporarily closed during late spring due to hazardous weather. Check MT511.com before you head out.

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