Know Before You Go

  • Understand backcountry travel and follow leave no trace principles. Travelling within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness comes with additional travel restrictions. These regulations are strictly enforced.
  • Understand the forest food storage order for both front-country and backcountry travel. The minimum fine for leaving food unattended or stored improperly is $225. The maximum fine is $5,000 or six months in jail. Storing your food improperly can increase the possibility of bear encounters for yourself and other people, as well as put the bear at risk. These regulations are strictly enforced.
  • Understand how to safely travel in bear country. Read be bear aware to learn more.
  • Forest fires are always a possibility in the summer months. August is the month with the highest risk, but restrictions are possible during all summer months. Smoke from fires to the west of our district often blow our way and create hazy days in mid to late summer. For up-to-date information on fire danger and restrictions, please visit our website’s home page, call our district offices, or visit these websites:
  • Check local conditions. The Beartooth Highway is open from Memorial Day to mid-October, but snow sometimes closes the highway in late-May, mid to late September, and in October. Snow is usually present at the higher altitudes until mid-July. Snow runoff can often make water swift and some trails have crossings. Afternoon storms are common in the summer. Please be aware of lightning danger if travelling at high elevations. In the winter months, avalanches can occur. Please be aware of the risks and carry the proper equipment.
    • Weather forecast for: Red Lodge, Beartooth Pass, Cooke City
    • Custer Gallatin NF Avalanche Center- this link does not cover the Beartooth Ranger Distict, but will forecast the areas around Cooke City and give a general idea of conditions on the forest.
  • Road conditions:
    • For Montana road conditions, please visit, call 1-800-226-7623, or download the MDT Travel app for your mobile devices.
    • For Wyoming road conditions, please visit  or call 1-888-996-7623
    • For Yellowstone National Park road conditions (and all approach roads), please call 307-344-2117 or visit their website.
  • Looking for volunteer opportunities? Contact the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation for a list of projects and opportunities.
  • Need detailed fishing information?  Visit FishMT
  • Need hunting information? The State of Montana manages hunting on federal lands. Visit Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
  • For a complete list of outfitters and guides that operate on the forest, call the local ranger district offices.
  • Climbing Granite Peak and need information? Contact the Beartooth Ranger District for more information: 406-446-2103

For any additional questions, please contact our ranger district offices!