Beartooth Scenic Byway - All American Road

Often windy, the drive takes a minimum of two to three hours but can be stretched out and enjoyed as a day trip or multi-day trip.  Several campgrounds, scenic pullouts, interpretive displays and day hikes line the Beartooth corridor.

Construction of the highway began in 1932 and was completed June 14, 1936. Since then, the Beartooth Highway has often been referred to as one of the most beautiful mountain drives in America. Driving south from Red Lodge, MT, the highway enters the Custer Gallatin National forest and climbs the switchbacks to the Montana/Wyoming state line. Make sure you stop at Vista Point for incredible views of the main canyon of Rock Creek. At the state line, visitors enter the Shoshone National Forest. Climb to Beartooth Pass at 10,947 feet and pass many lakes and scenic pullouts. The road brings you back to Montana, where you again enter the Custer Gallatin National Forest, just before the town of Cooke City, MT.

Plan your trip

The Beartooth Highway is open from Memorial Day to October 15 (weather dependent). Snow usually remains at the higher elevations until early to mid-July. In May and June, as well as late-September into October, expect winter temperatures and the chance of snow.  Plan ahead and bring warm clothes. The State of Montana Department of Transportation closes the Beartooth Highway every winter. If traveling close to the open/close dates always check in advance, conditions can change quickly. Detailed road information and Beartooth Pass weather forecast, more about the Beartooth Highway.

The Greater Yellowstone Area has a healthy bear population. When hiking, carry bear spray and know how to use it.  Whether out for a stroll or a multi-day trek, all hikes venturing from Beartooth Pass lead into bear country. Please be aware of regulations and restrictions for both the Custer Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests.   


Red Lodge Area:  There are 9 campgrounds in the Red Lodge Area. Six of these are on or near the Beartooth Highway (Parkside, Greenough Lake, Limber Pine, M-K, Rattin, and Sheridan). All of these, except M-K Campground, are reservable.

Beartooth Plateau (Shoshone National Forest):  Beartooth Lake, Island Lake, Crazy Creek, and Fox Creek Campgrounds are all first-come-first-serve. No reservations are taken for these campgrounds.

Cooke City Area:  Colter and Soda Butte Campgrounds are first-come-first-serve. No reservations are taken for these campgrounds. These campgrounds are for hard-sided campers only.

Call the local Forest Service office where you will be traveling for the most up-to-date conditions on roads and trails on National Forest System lands:

  • Beartooth Ranger District, Custer Gallatin National Forest (covers area from Red Lodge, south to the Montana/Wyoming state line): 406-446-2103
  • Clarks Fork Ranger District, Shoshone National Forest (covers all areas of the highway in Wyoming): 307-527-6921
  • Gardiner Ranger District, Custer Gallatin National Forest (covers western areas of highway, in the state of Montana, near the town of Cooke City): 406-848-7375