Rogers Pass (Montana)

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Rogers Pass
Elevation 5,610 ft (1,710 m)
Traversed by MT 200
Location Lewis and Clark County, Montana, United States
Range Rocky Mountains
Coordinates 47°04′35″N 112°22′11″W / 47.07639°N 112.36972°W / 47.07639; -112.36972
Topo map USGS Rogers Pass (MT)

Rogers Pass rises 5,610 feet (1,710 m) above sea level and is located on the Continental Divide in the U.S. state of Montana.[1] The pass is adjacent to Helena National Forest and is traversed by Montana Highway 200. Wide shoulders provide parking for those wishing to hike the Continental Divide Trail. Bicyclists should note that the wide shoulders are limited to the very top and will not be found elsewhere on 200. The pass is the best route between the cities of Great Falls and Missoula, Montana—more than 800 feet (244 m) lower than Lewis and Clark Pass, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) to the northwest, which was used by Meriwether Lewis of the eponymous expedition on July 7, 1806.[2]

Rogers Pass is more than 100 miles (160 km) south of Marias Pass, and there are no other roads that cross the Continental Divide between these two passes. The region between the two passes is mostly wilderness, and the majority of it has been set aside and protected from future development. The Great Bear, Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wildernesses have been consolidated into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and permanently protect 1,535,352 acres (6,213.35 km2). The region is noted for its inaccessibility and as one of the last strongholds for the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states.[3] The Scapegoat Wilderness is a 10 miles (16 km) hike north of Rogers Pass via the Continental Divide Trail.

Origin of Name[edit]

Rogers Pass in Montana was named by the Great Northern Railway for one of the line's locating surveyors,[4] A.B. Rogers, who located the pass in 1887. Rogers has the distinction of having two passes named after him, this one in Montana and another Rogers Pass in British Columbia, Canada, c.373 miles to the north-west.[5] In 1881 and 1882 A.B. Rogers was a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and he located Rogers Pass in British Columbia, Canada, which was then used by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) on its transcontinental line across Canada. The CPR named the pass after Rogers. James Jerome Hill, who controlled both the CPR and the Great Northern, then hired Rogers as a locating engineer on the latter, which built into Montana in 1887. Shortly after Rogers had located the pass in Montana that bears his name, his career ended when he was badly injured falling from his horse.[6] Although Hill and the Great Northern eventually chose Marias Pass, 100 miles to the north, as the route over the Continental Divide for their transcontinental railroad, Hill saw to it that Rogers Pass in Montana was named after the surveyor.

Record cold temperature[edit]

Rogers Pass is the location of the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States outside of Alaska. On January 20, 1954, a low temperature of −70 °F (−57 °C) was recorded during a severe cold wave.[7]

Golden eagle migration route[edit]

The region is a noted location for observation of golden eagles and, to a lesser extent, bald eagles. In March and April, strong westerly winds help migrating flocks of eagles cross the Continental Divide so that they can spend the summer on the Great Plains. During these months, over 800 golden eagles and 129 bald eagles have been observed heading east. From mid-September through October, a similar migration occurs, but in the opposite direction. This is also a migration route used by other raptors such as northern goshawks, red-tailed hawks, and rough-legged hawks. Canada geese, tundra swans, and snow geese also use the pass during migration periods. The golden eagles and other birds can be observed from a distance as close as 100 to 500 feet (30 to 152 m).[8]


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Rogers Pass has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[9]

Climate data for Rogers Pass
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1
Average low °C (°F) −10
Average precipitation mm (inches) 20
Source: Weatherbase [10]

Rogers Pass Web Cam[edit]

A web cam exists allowing the viewer to have a real-time look at periodic snapshots of Rogers Pass and its current road and weather conditions.[11]

See also[edit]

Cited references[edit]

  1. ^ "Rogers Pass, USGS Rogers Pass (MT) Topo Map" (MAP). TopoQuest. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Jill. "A Timeline of the Lewis and Clark Expedition". Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  3. ^ "Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex". Flathead National Forest. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  4. ^ Spritzer, Dan (1999). Roadside History of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Co. pp. 432, at p. 264. ISBN 0-87842-395-8. 
  5. ^ "Glacier National Park and Rogers Pass". Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  7. ^ "Top Ten Montana Weather Events of the 20th Century". National Weather Service Unveils Montana's Top Ten Weather/Water/Climate Events of the 20th Century. National Weather Service. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  8. ^ "Rocky Mountain Front Eagle Migration Area". NatureWatch Viewing Sites. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  9. ^ Climate Summary for Rogers Pass, Montana
  10. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on September 25, 2013.
  11. ^ "Web Cam: Rogers Pass MT200 MP 90.8 - Elev 5406 S". Retrieved 13 November 2011.