Beartooth All American Road

While driving the Beartooth All-American Road (also called the Beartooth Highway), seasoned mountaineers and visitors alike often gasp at the high-elevation grandeur on this 68-mile drive between Red Lodge and Cooke City, MT.  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.

vista pointConstruction 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 to view 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 ft 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.

Planning your trip:

  • The Beartooth Highway is open each year from Memorial Day to October 15 (though it may close earlier due to snow conditions). 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 (although it's possible to have winter temperatures all months). Plan accordinging and bring warm clothes.  The State of Montana Dept. of Transportation closes the Beartooth Highway every winter. The dates above are firm. For detailed road information, please go here.
  • Map of the Beartooth Highway
  • In certain times of the year, it is necessary and possible to drive an alternate route to Yellowstone, bypassing the Beartooth Pass. Before you go, check Yellowstone National Park's page to see their road opening and closing dates. For a map of alternate routes from Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park, click here.
  • Hiking?  There are many options for hiking along the Beartooth Highway. Please be aware that it is possible to begin your hike in one forest and finish in another. Please be aware of regulations and restrictions for both the Custer Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests.  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.

 Beartooth Hwy

  • Camping?
    • Red Lodge Area:
    • Beartooth Plateau (Shoshone National Forest):
    • 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. No tents are allowed here.
  • Visit the know before you go page on this website for helpful tips when travelling in this area.
  • 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

Enjoy the Beartooth Pass!

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