Heralded as one of the most scenic drives in USA, the Beartooth Highway, a National Scenic Byways All-American Road, features breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, and open high alpine plateaus dotted with countless glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife.
The Beartooth All-American Road passes through what is known today as the Beartooth Corridor. Surrounded by the Custer, Gallatin, and Shoshone National Forests, traveling parallel to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, and abutting Yellowstone National Park, the Highway sits in a million-plus acre wilderness. Visitors have the rare opportunity to experience and explore pristine, untouched alpine and montane landscapes, lush forests, and alpine tundra in the space of a few miles. It is one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet in elevation. In the surrounding mountains, glaciers are found on the north flank of nearly every mountain peak over 11,500 feet high. The Road itself is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet), and is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies.
Recreational opportunities abound in the Beartooth Corridor. Visitors can cross-country or downhill ski in June and July, hike across broad plateaus, and view and photograph wildlife including mountain goats, moose, elk, marmot, mule deer, black bear, grizzly bear, and wolf. Visitors also can take a guided horseback trip, fish for trout in the streams and lakes adjacent to the highway, and camp in the area's 13 National Forest campgrounds. When the highway is formally closed to automobiles during the winter months, snowmobilers travel roughly the same route and enjoy a spectacular winter wonderland.
The Beartooth Highway provides easy access to Yellowstone National Park at its northeast entrance. Three gateway communities - Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana and Cody, Wyoming put you in the heart of today's wild wild west. All three communities retain their western heritage then mix it with modern amenities to provide an unparalleled family western vacation.
The Beartooth Highway is a 67 mile stretch of US Highway 212 that, from its western most terminus at the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park, runs east to Red Lodge, Montana. While the Highway begins and ends in Montana, a large portion lies within the northwest corner of the State of Wyoming. Because the Beartooth Highway lies within National Forest and National Wilderness boundaries services along the route are limited to rest areas and interpretive sites, with the exception of one commercial property - Top of the World Store - located close to Island Lake Campground. Three communities, the Road's "gateway communities", provide access to the Highway, as well as full visitor services. This is important to note as these communities will be used as "home base" for travelers wanting to explore the Highway and surrounding Yellowstone Country.
From the Cooke City, Montana area, visitors who leave Yellowstone National Park through the northeast entrance will find themselves on the Beartooth All-American Road. The Road travels through the historic mining communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana, and continues on for 68 breathtaking miles past the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness and over the Beartooth Plateau at an elevation of 10970 feet and to Red Lodge, Montana. 17 miles from Cooke City, visitors will find the junction of US 212 and WY 296 - the beautiful Chief Joseph Scenic Highway that leads south to Cody, Wyoming.
From Red Lodge, Montana, visitors will travel south and west on US Highway 212, the Beartooth All-American Road, and continue for the next 68.7 miles along the full length of the Beartooth Highway to the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Red Lodge is easily accessible from Interstate 90, which traverses the southern portion of Montana. Exit 367 at Laurel, Montana, will lead visitors to Red Lodge.
From Cody, Wyoming, visitors will travel north on WY 120 for 17 miles to the junction of WY 120 and WY 296 - the beautiful Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. Follow WY 296 for 47 miles to its intersection with The Beartooth All-American Road - US Highway 212. A right hand turn at the intersection will take visitors to the Beartooth Plateau and down the Beartooth Highway "switchbacks" into historic Red Lodge, Montana. A left turn leads visitors to Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Be Weather Ready
Reaching 10,977 feet at Beartooth Pass, and surrounded by 20 mountain peaks that reach over 12,000 feet, the Beartooth Highway crosses some of the most extreme country in the world. The high alpine climate ensures that severe weather conditions occur almost every month of the year. Summertime temperatures can range from the 70s on sunny days to below freezing during sudden snowstorms. Keep these extreme conditions in mind when planning a visit to the Beartooth Highway. Pack appropriate clothing including warm jackets and hats. Those planning outdoor recreation time may want to include additional foot wear and other items that will provide more warmth.
The road is normally plowed by Memorial Day, but closures are common through June due to spring snow storms. From the opening near Memorial Day, the road is seldom closed more than one day to remove the snow. It is not uncommon to experience blizzard type conditions both in the spring and the fall, especially at higher elevations. When these events occur, travel is slowed considerably or the highway is closed until it can be reopened by maintenance crews. Being aware of these possible weather conditional.
The Beartooth All-American Road, also known as the Beartooth Highway, was officially opened on June 14, 1936. First referred to as "the most beautiful drive in America", by Charles Kuralt, On the Road television correspondent, the Highway is a destination in its own right. It is the highest elevation paved highway in the Northern Rocky Mountains open to travelers seasonally from May to October.
|< Prev||Next >|