East Rosebud Trail (# 15)

East Rosebud Trail (# 15) is 16 miles long. The East Rosebud Trail is also known as “The Beaten Path”.

The trail begins at the southern end of East Rosebud Road (Forest Road 2177) and climbs steadily for 16 miles to Fossil Lake.  The trail continues on the Russell Creek Trail (Gardiner Ranger District) for another 10 miles to the Clarks Fork Trailhead. One of the most scenic trails in the Beartooths, this trail has a multitude of trout filled lakes, waterfalls, and cascading streams. Elevation change: 3400 feet. The trail is open for the following uses: hiking, horseback riding.

*Please be aware that travelling in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness comes with additional regulations. Please know what is expected of visitors before entering the wilderness.

Distances to:

  • Elk Lake                            3.5 miles
  • Rimrock Lake                    6.0 miles
  • Rainbow Lake                   8.0 miles
  • Lake at Falls                      9.0 miles
  • Big Park Lake                  10.0 miles
  • Duggan Lake                    12.5 miles
  • Twin Outlets Lake            12.8 miles
  • Dewey Lake                     14.0 miles
  • Fossil Lake                       16.0 miles
  • Windy Lake                      17.1 miles
  • Skull Lake                         17.8 miles
  • Bald Knob Lake                18.4 miles
  • Ouzel Lake                        18.8 miles
  • Russell Lake                      20.0 miles
  • Kersey Lake                       24.5 miles
  • Clarks Fork Trailhead        26.0 miles

*No campfires are allowed from Twin Outlets Lake to Fossil Lake.

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy

General Information


Directions from district office to East Rosebud Trailhead:
Drive north on US Hwy 212 for 2.1 miles. Turn left (west) onto MT-78 and drive 19.7 miles. Turn left (south) onto Roscoe Rd. Drive 2.3 miles, cross the bridge and turn right (south) onto East Rosebud Rd. Drive 10.6 miles and until you dead-end at the trailhead. There is ample parking and room for horse trailers. There is a vault toilet at trailhead.

Directions from district office to Clarks Fork Trailhead:
Drive south on US Hwy 212 towards Cooke City for 59.3 miles. Turn right into the trailhead (follow signs).


Lake and Pond Fishing

East Rosebud offers many options for lake fishing. For detailed information on each lake, go to FishMT

Day Hiking

Elk Lake, which is 3.5 miles from the trailhead, is a popular day-hiking destination.


The East Rosebud Trail is also referred to as "The Beaten Path." Along with the Stillwater Trail (# 24), it is one of two trans-Beartooth routes. This can be a very popular trail on weekends or holidays.

Please be aware of our wilderness travel regulations.

Horse Riding

There is ample room for horse trailers at East Rosebud trailhead. While horses are allowed on East Rosebud Trail, this is not the most horse-friendly trail. This trail typically has a lot of hiking traffic and limited space for horses at camp.

If you do travel with horses, please be aware of our wilderness travel regulations.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Elevation : 
6,280 - 10,000