Special Places

The Custer Gallatin National Forest is filled with countless special places.  Here are a handful featured areas:

Beartooth Scenic Byway

Vista Point atop Beartooth Highway, All American RoadLaunching out of Red Lodge, MT on the Beartooth Ranger District, this breathtaking 68-mile two-lane road winds from dark dense forest up to the top of windswept tundra dotted with lakes.  Claimed as one of "America's Most Beautiful Highways," you will never forget this drive from Red Lodge, MT through the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park and accessing Cooke City, MT.

Closed Seasonally during Winter.

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Earthquake Lake Visitor Center

New Grand Opening of Earthquake Lake Visitor Interpretive CenterNear midnight on an August night in 1959 a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide forever changing the landscape.  Twenty-eight people lost their lives.  In 1967, the Forest Service’s Earthquake Lake Visitor Center opened its doors for the first season of operation.  Today, the center provides interpretive services for more than 50,000 visitors annually.  The natural attractions and the easily- seen effects of the strongest earthquake in the Rocky mountains has made this area one of the outstanding scenic and geological study areas in the west.

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Earthquake Lake Geologic Area - Explore Montana's Dynamic Geology

An Earthshaking Tour Map


Capitol Rock and The Castles National Register of Natural Landmarks, Sioux Ranger District, South Dakota units

Capitol Rock, listed as part of the National Register of Natural LandmarksGet off the beaten path, travel through northwestern South Dakota.  Stop for a picnic and see these natural wonders on the Sioux Ranger District.  Steep-walled, flat topped buttes standing 200 to 400 feet above the surrounding prairie, the Castles and Capitol Rock Natural Landmarks contain exposed rock of Upper Cretaceous, Paleocene, Oligocene and Miocene Ages.  Designated first in 1976, (U.S.F.S Federal Ownership).

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Active mine reclaimation is in progress on the Sioux Ranger District.  Visitors need to know and understand acceptable exposure levels.  Read about Erionite and learn more about the Sioux Ranger District.


Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness

Hikers in the Absaroka-Beartooth WildernessThe 943,377-acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is an enormous and rugged expanse of high elevation country, boasting over 20 peaks greater than 12,000 feet in elevation, including Granite Peak (Montana's highest at 12,799 feet), along with approximately 950 alpine lakes and over 700 miles of maintained foot and horse trails.  The wilderness experience is a challenging opportunity for discovery, solitude and self-reliance.

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Historic Main Boulder Ranger Station and Visitor Center  

Historic Main Boulder Ranger StationLocated 30 miles south of Big Timber, Montana, the Main Boulder Ranger Station reflects the early years of the Forest Service and the commitment of the United States to the conservation movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

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Areas & Activities