Lookout Pass is on Interstate 90, Montana exit ninety-six miles west of Missoula, Montana. It is steep and should be avoided in the winter.
Lookout Pass is at the border between Montana and Idaho, on the continental divide. Just south of the pass is the Lookout Pass Ski Area. Just east of the pass (south on Interstate 90) is Montana exit zero.
Of course, you could say that RVs should avoid traveling in the winter in the northern Rocky Mountains and I would agree. It goes double for steep roads in the winter.
In the summer, Interstate 90 is merely a steep road but I think you should know what you are getting into before you go there. Really the road is very nice, wide, and has slow lanes both climbing and descending, and overall the grade alone isn’t a good enough reason to not travel on Interstate 90.
Expect large vehicles to be traveling at very slow speeds relative to traffic or speed limits.
Montana interactive map for road conditions. MDT Travel and Weather
Elevation: 4710 feet
Length: 10 miles
Terrain: 5-6% grades on both the east and west side of the pass. The steepest areas are near the top. The west side of the pass is steeper and steeper for a longer distance than the east side. Near the top on the overpass, westbound there is a sign for a windy road and a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour. The speed limit westbound is 55 miles-per-hour for all vehicles. The speed limit for eastbound truck traffic is 65 miles-per-hour.
Exit speed for both east and westbound traffic at the top is 20 miles-per-hour.
Turns: Are gentle eastbound, and windier, but still gentle on the west side.
Turnouts: One turnout on the west side on at a scenic overlook. Right turn for eastbound uphill traffic.
Turnaround locations: On the west side, three exits in Mullan, on the east side one exit in Saltese.
Chain up areas: Multiple locations, both sides of the pass.
Brake-check area at the top, westbound on the right side.
Runaway truck ramps: Two on the west side, one at mile marker 68 the second one mile past the first. Both ramps are deep gravel type and are on the right. The second ramp is right next to the highway.
Starting at Lookout Pass Summit, eastbound the road descends for three miles at a grade of 6%.
Starting at Lookout Pass Summit, westbound the descents at up to 6% for five miles then at 4-6% for the next five or so miles
Lookout Pass Our Experience
We drove over Lookout Pass eastbound on our way to Missoula on September 8, 2020. The road was dry and overall, other than slow speeds pertaining to the steepness of the grade we didn’t have any difficulty. Assuming you have enough power to travel the pass and assuming the road is dry, you should not have any problem.
We stopped at the ski area parking lot for a short break and lunch. It is very large and convenient to the highway.
Expect slow climb speeds eastbound in the 35 miles per hour range. Expect slow descent speeds for the first two miles on the east side, eastbound at about 25 miles per hour.
Here is a link to the Montana Department of transportation webcam. Montana exit zero webcam
Here is our link to our interactive map. Bad Roads for RVs