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West Yellowstone to Beartooth Hwy to Billings

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Sydney, Australia
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West Yellowstone to Beartooth Hwy to Billings

Hi We are Australian and my husband and I are wanting to drive from West Yellowstone to Cooke City to Red Lodge to Billings on 12th September 2013. I've read a lot about weather conditions on this hwy which seem unpredictable. i'm really hoping for good conditions as want to see this much recommended scenery but wondering where/who would be best to check with for weather prior to leaving as do not want to get caught in a snow storm. We will have a 4 wheel drive but are not used to driving in such conditions and want to be safe. I know there are alternate routes if we are unlucky with weather.

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N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: West Yellowstone to Beartooth Hwy to Billings

There are a few things I would do if I were driving this route. Will you have internet access? If so I would check the weather for the few days before you plan to travel just to see if there are any weather fronts moving thru. The day before, I am assuming you will be in Yellowstone? I would stop at one of the Visitor Centers in whatever area you are visiting and talk with the Rangers there about your plans for the next day. They will post a 3 or 4 day weather report at each Visitor Center so should be able to advise you. The morning you actually leave you can ask at the West entrance gate if they have heard of any road closures.

This will be an instance where it would be a good idea for you to have paper maps and not rely on GPS. Your alternates if you know it will be closed are:

1: Drive north from West Yellowstone on 191 to Bozeman and get on I90 there and head east.

2: Enter the park, drive to Mammoth, then north to Gardiner and up 89 to Livingston and connect with I90 there.

3: If by some chance you don't know of a closure until you get to the NE entrance, go east from Cooke City to Chief Joseph, take a right to it's end and swing up thru Belfry MT.

4: A longer option would be to drive thru Yellowstone to the East gate, out to Cody, then up to Belfry from there.

Have fun and try not to fret. You are not going to know until the last minute, so just enjoy the rest of the time!


Sydney, Australia
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23 posts
59 reviews
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2. Re: West Yellowstone to Beartooth Hwy to Billings

Thanks so much for your advice. We will have internet access and we have detailed paper maps. Have saved your alternatives in case needed. Will take your advice.

western WA
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3. Re: West Yellowstone to Beartooth Hwy to Billings

On Sept 12, the odds are in your favor.

I took this exact drive last year. The worst part was being stuck in road construction for an hour between Norris Junction and Canyon. We went in to the main dining room at Canyon for buffalo burgers, and that's something I would do again. I'm no foodie, but they were delicious.

On top of the pass, we saw mountain goats. Keep your eyes out!

If it isn't safe for driving, they will close the road. So don't worry about being caught up there in some snowbound adventure.

Edited: 15 July 2013, 16:20
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