||Yellowstone National Park
- Tower Junction
- South Dakota
According to Citypopulationreview, US 212 is a US Highway in the US state of Wyoming. The road forms an east-west route through parts of the northern part of the state and is located in three places in Wyoming, between Yellowstone National Park and Beartooth Pass, with the road passing through Montana for a little while, and for more than 20 miles. in the far northeast of the state. In total there is 161 kilometers of US 212 in Wyoming.
The Beartooth Highway.
At the hamlet of Mammoth Hot Springs, US 212 begins at an intersection with US 89. The road then heads east through Yellowstone National Park, across a canyon plateau. The road is located here at an altitude of about 2,100 meters, but the area does not have much higher peaks. The road then enters a more mountainous area with peaks above 3,000 meters. Here the road crosses the territory of the state of Montana for a few miles and exits Yellowstone National Park.
The second section re-enters the state a little further east and leads through a very mountainous area, over Beartooth Pass, which is 3,336 meters high. The road here crosses a very high plateau and then crosses the border into Montana again. US 212 in Montana then continues to Billings.
Hundreds of miles to the east, in the far northeast of the state is another stretch of US 212 in Wyoming territory. The road here runs for about 32 kilometers over the High Plains at an altitude of about 1100 meters. US 212 in South Dakota then continues toward Belle Fourche.
US 212 was one of the original US Highways of 1926 but originally ran no further west than Belle Fourche, South Dakota. In 1939, the route was extended to Miles City, Montana, establishing the easternmost section in Wyoming. In 1962, the route was extended to Silver Gate, Montana, on the border of Yellowstone National Park. De facto, the route was extended to US 89 in the national park, creating the entire US 212 in Wyoming.
The Beartooth Highway was opened to traffic in 1936. This became part of US 12 from then on. In 1960, US 12 was moved to a more northerly route in Montana, after which the section between Yellowstone and Miles City, Montana was renumbered US 312, but this situation lasted only two years, until the Beartooth Highway became part of US 212.
The Beartooth Mountains are a mountain range on the border of Wyoming and Montana. The 3,904 m high Granite Peak in Montana is the highest point. The route was used by horse riders from the late 1800s because it was a faster route between Yellowstone National Park and the High Plains. They took advantage of the high elevation of Yellowstone and avoided the difficult route through the Bighorn Mountains. As part of the development of tourism, the Beartooth Highway was built in the 1930s. Construction of the road started in 1931, most of the road was built between 1932 and 1936. The hardest part was the descent into Rock Creek Canyon on the Montana side, where the steepest part of the Beartooth Highway is. The Beartooth Highway was officially opened to traffic on June 14, 1936.
The Beartooth Highway was awarded National Scenic Byway status and most prestigious All-American Road status in 2002. Due to the high altitude, tourists are recommended to prepare for bad weather, the temperature can get close to freezing on the highest part of the road even in summer. The Beartooth Highway has a winter closure every year. The road usually reopens around Memorial Day, after which there are occasional short-term closures due to snowfall. The Beartooth Highway usually closes again in mid-October for the winter.
Yellowstone National Park
Damage to the Northeast Entrance in 2022.
The section in Yellowstone National Park is not formally a US Highway, it is administered by the National Park Service and is unnumbered. In fact, US 212 does physically run through the park, it is formed by the northern part of the Grand Loop Road and the Northeast Entrance Road.
The northern portion of the Grand Loop Road was built in 1902, the grade of the track started from Mammoth Hot Springs and was completed 10 kilometers eastward in 1903. Complex was the construction of the bridge over the Gardner River just east of Mammoth Hot Springs, the construction was already partly completed in 1905-1906 but was halted after several landslides and lack of money. Road planning didn’t get back on track until the Bureau of Public Roads took over construction in 1926. In 1930-1932, the route between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction was mapped, and grading of the route began in 1933, partly as an employment project during the economic depression. The road was built in the late 1930s.
Construction on the Northeast Entrance began in 1914, however the road was significantly damaged during spring flooding from 1917 to 1918. It was not until 1933 that an exploration of the definitive route of the present-day road was carried out. Construction began in 1934, and in 1935, the northeast gateway to Yellowstone National Park was inaugurated. In 1936-1937, portions of the route were paved, but bridges were still missing from the Lamar River and Yellowstone River on the western portion of the Northeast Entrance. The bridge over the Lamar River was completed in 1940. However, the outbreak of World War II brought work to a standstill on the rest of the route, at the time with 5 miles missing, including a definitive bridge over the Yellowstone River, which was not opened until 1963.
On June 12-13, 2022, a combination of heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt caused a historically raging flood in Yellowstone National Park. Most of the damage was at the North Entrance (US 89) and the Northeast Entrance (US 212). The road was completely swept away in five places and the bed of the Lamar River has moved to where the road used to be. A temporary repair was completed in October 2022. A definitive repair was estimated to take several years.
700 vehicles drive daily on the Beartooth Highway in the border area with Montana. The section through far northeastern Wyoming runs 1,500 vehicles per day.