Beartooth Mountains, Montana

Beartooth Mountains


Cradling the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Mountains encompass huge peaks and high mountain plateaus. The best way to experience the Beartooth Mountains is to drive the Beartooth Highway, between the Northeast Entrance and Red Lodge Montana.

  • Drive the 68 mile Beartooth Highway across the Beartooth Plateau.
  • Hike the Highlakes Trail to Beartooth and Island Lakes.
  • Go skiing at the Beartooth Summer Ski Area.
  • Link it up with Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.

What can I see and do in the Beartooth Mountains?

  • Drive the Beartooth Highway: You will truly feel like you are on top of the world. Negotiate hairpin curves and view sparkling lakes and alpine tundra. Cross the highest point on the trip at 10,974 feet and don't miss the Top of the World Store and a number of viewpoints. This 68 mile route connects Cooke City to Red Lodge and takes about 2 hours to drive.
  • Admire the Bear's Tooth: On the east side of Beartooth Pass, turnout at the Gardner Lake Trailhead for a great view of the mountain range's namesake, the Bear's Tooth.
  • Go for a Hike: Numerous trailheads are accessible as you navigate Beartooth Highway. The Beartooth Highlakes Trail is spectacular and links up Island and Beartooth Lakes.
  • Go Skiing in the Summer: Open from from late April to early July, the Beartooth Ski Area offers a fun place to escape in the early summer. Access is from the east until the highway opens completely.
  • Snowmobile to Cooke City: A fun adventure for snowmobile enthusiasts is to sled the final 7 miles between Cooke City and the junction of Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph Byway. Sled rentals are hard to find in Cody and Red Lodge, but they are available in Cooke City if you ride from the west.
  • Drive the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway: Circumnavigate the Beartooth Mountains by driving out the Beartooth Highway, south to Cody, and back up Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. The Sunlight Gorge is the highlight of this spectacular drive.

Where are the Beartooth Mountains?

As you exit Yellowstone National Park's Northeast Entrance, you enter the Beartooth Mountains. This range spans from northeast Yellowstone to Red Lodge Montana. The range sits primarily within the Shoshone National Forest. Access to the Beartooth's is easiest from the Beartooth Highway.

When are the Beartooth Mountains accessible?

The Beartooth Highway is typically open from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September, depending on snowfall. When the road is clo

A truly dramatic and most breathtaking route is the Beartooth Highway that winds through the Beartooth Mountains, with views that stagger the mind.


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Other Resources
  • Climber.Org
    Climber.Org is an informational site on climbs, trip reports, gear, trip planning, and tips throughout the region.
  • The American Safe Climbing Association
    The American Safe Climbing Association encourages the replacement of unsafe anchors and the minimization of the visual and environmental impact of climbing.