Heading from Philipsburg to Hamilton, you turn onto Hwy 1 (Skalkaho Hwy) from Hwy 38. From here, you will have around 10-12 miles of smooth pavement. There isn't much of a shoulder on this road, but traffic is pretty low. When the pavement ends, you will be riding on a smooth gravel road. The climb in this direction is pretty mellow, and a few miles into the gravel you will hit the only rest stop between Philipsburg and Hamilton, which is a Sapphire Mine gift shop with soda and snacks. On your way up to the top of the pass, there is a random 2-3 mile stretch of very smooth pavement before jumping back onto gravel. Once you hit the top of the pass, it's a long winding descent, but the gravel is pretty smooth. It won't turn back to pavement until you get close to the base, and at that point it's a smooth ride into Hamilton.
The pass is closed from mid-October through early June. If you plan on riding this during mid-late June, be prepared for some wet roads, and possible light snow near the top of the pass. For information on road conditions, you can call the State Highway Department at 800-226-7623.
Would like to hear from anyone who has ridden Skalkaho Highway between Philipsburg and Hamilton, MT. I am particularly interested in road conditions. Using Google Street View, it's diffiuclt to tell whether the road is paved, and there is a gap in coverage that includes the pass. I am also interested in when the road usually becomes passable. I am hoping to use it as part of a trip that I would like to do in mid to late June.