Washouts and rockslides hit stretches of Beartooth Pass between Yellowstone Park and Red Lodge, but sections of the famously scenic route have started to reopen. While many of the campgrounds around Red Lodge were inundated by flood waters, the town itself—and its restaurants, art galleries, and mountain views—is still easily reachable within an hour’s drive from Billings on Highway 212. Likewise, the gateway towns of Silver Gate and Cooke City can still be reached for a day trip or an overnight stay via Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, a 47-mile long paved road that connects the high country of the Beartooths with US 120 near Cody.
Cody, situated high above the banks of the Shoshone River, avoided significant flood damage, making it a good launching point for Yellowstone adventures, Hauck says. He had anticipated an uptick in visitors due to closures elsewhere, but relatively slow traffic in late June and a steady flow of cancellations suggests that many would-be Yellowstone travelers have decided to go elsewhere. Hauck says that Cody currently has vacancies, even in early July, when the town is usually full. As summer moves along, he looks forward to the return of normalcy—or something like it—for the entire region.
“Our hearts go out to Gardiner and Red Lodge,” Hauck says. “We hope they recover sooner rather than later.”