The Beartooth Mountains are home to the highest 41 peaks in Montana, including Granite Peak, which is the highest at 12,799ft.
The district serves as the northeastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park and is home to the Beartooth Scenic Highway. The Beartooth Highway is consistently rated one of the most scenic mountain drives in America. The highway, open from Memorial Day to mid-October (weather permitting), climbs to 10,947ft and offers stunning vistas and many recreation opportunities on the Custer Gallatin National Forest and the Shoshone National Forest.
There are over 300 lakes on the Beartooth Ranger District and there are 10 major sub-alpine tundra plateaus. Tucked away in the rugged mountains, over 700 glaciers can still be found in the Beartooths, though scientific evidence shows that climate has had a huge impact in their size. Glaciers played a big role in forming the Beartooths and they carved away at some of the oldest rocks on the planet. Rock samples in the Beartooths have been dated to 3.96 billion years old.
The Beartooth Mountains are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and we share many of the same wildlife viewing possibilities. Elk, deer, grizzly bear, black bear, mountain goats, big horn sheep, mountain lions, and many other animals call the Beartooth Mountains home.
Recreational opportunities abound on the Beartooth district, including hiking (four national recreation trails), fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, camping, downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as cross-country skiing. A number of camping facilities and picnic areas on the district provide popular jumping-off spots for day hikes into the forest.
The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness makes up 65% of the Beartooth Unit and offers a wide range of scenic landscapes and hidden treasures. There are many trails that provide access to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, but be aware that travelling in the wilderness area comes with additional restrictions. Some convenient non-wilderness sites near Red Lodge, MT include: Basin Lakes Trail, Silver Run Trail, Wild Bill Lake, Palisades Trail, Face of the Mountain Trail, Greenough Lake, Mt. Maurice Trail, Bear Track Trail, and Corral Creek Trail.
Recreation sites are divided into 4 geographic areas:
- Know before you go (helpful tips for travellers, weather, road conditions, forest fire information)