Driving in Montana is usually a joy, but during the winter, road conditions can be treacherous and travel becomes stressful. 

The weather is cooling down, and winter is fast approaching. One thing that I, for one, am not looking forward to is driving through certain particularly tricky mountain passes across the state. 

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Some mountain passes aren't too risky during winter, but there are a few places that you should be extra wary of when the weather is bad. Trust me, I would know. I drive through these passes to go home during Christmas every year, and they seriously stress me out. 

Homestake Pass between Butte and Bozeman is one of the toughest mountain passes in Montana. Because it's at such a high elevation, the weather on this pass is different from anywhere else in Montana. The road has sharp turns, and the rise and fall of the freeway will test your brakes. Just take it slow and be careful. 

Photo by James Kemp via Unsplash
Photo by James Kemp via Unsplash

Another mountain pass to be careful of while driving is Bearmouth Pass, in between Drummond and Missoula. This pass might not seem stressful, but due to the high cliffs surrounding the highway, ice tends to stay longer than usual. I slid on slick roads and hit one of the concrete medians several years ago, and I will never forget it. 

The last mountain pass we want to mention is Lookout Pass. Lookout Pass is on the border of Montana and Idaho on I-90, and is historically the worst mountain pass in Montana. There are constant wrecks and road closures in this area. Heavy snow, icy roads, steep declines, and careless drivers are all factors that contribute to this pass' danger. I avoid this pass at all costs during the winter. 

Photo by Micha Sager via Unsplash
Photo by Micha Sager via Unsplash

Driving in Montana can be a great experience, but during the winter you need to be aware of everything around you. If you're driving on a pass, you should have some sense of how to navigate winter road conditions. Please take your time and drive carefully. 

For road conditions, check out the Montana Department of Transportation.

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