There are thirteen campgrounds and over 200 campsites along the Beartooth All-American Road between Cooke City and Red Lodge. Several campgrounds in the Custer National Forest at the eastern most end of the Beartooth Highway allow site reservations. Other camping sites are available on a first-come first-serve basis.
Higher elevation campgrounds don’t open until July. Others at lower elevations open on or before Memorial Day weekend.
With a majority of the Beartooth Highway either adjoining or traversing wilderness areas keep in mind that it is Bear Country! Campers should be prepared to follow special regulations and always be Bear Aware.
Additional campground, dispersed camping, hiking and outdoor recreation information can be found on the Forest Service websites provided below.
Campgrounds are listed from west to east:
Gallatin NF Campgrounds in Montana
Soda Butte Campground (1 mi east of Cooke City, 27 sites)
Colter Campground (2 mi east of Cooke City, 18 sites)
Chief Joseph Campground (4 mi east of Cooke City, 6 sites)
Shoshone NF Campgrounds in Wyoming
Fox Creek Campground (7 mi east of Cooke City, 33 sites, CLOSED in 2010)
Crazy Creek Campground (11 mi east of Cooke City, 16 sites)
Beartooth Lake Campground (31 mi south of Red Lodge, 20 sites)
Island Lake Campground (29 mi south of Red Lodge, 20 sites, CLOSED in 2010)
Custer NF Campgrounds in Montana
(Reservations at www.recreation.gov and some sites first come-first served)
M-K Campground (12 mi south of Red Lodge, 10 sites)
Greenough Lake Campground (12 mi south of Red Lodge, 18 sites)
Limber Pine Campground (12 mi south of Red Lodge, 13 sites)
Parkside Campground (12 mi south of Red Lodge, 28 sites)
Rattin Campground (8 mi south of Red Lodge, 6 sites)
Sheridan Campground (6 mi south of Red Lodge, 8 sites)
Many visitors to the Beartooth Highway region prefer to leave the driving to someone else so they can devote their full attention to the sights, sounds, and photo opportunities presented along the Beartooth Highway. Others come looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure that an experienced guide, outfitter, or tour operator can provide. If that’s the type of Beartooth Highway experience you’re looking for head to the chambers of commerce websites in Cody, Wyoming and Cooke City and Red Lodge Montana to find what you’re looking for. Each gateway community has individual and unique touring opportunities – from bicycling down the Beartooth Highway switchbacks, to week long back country horse packing and fishing trip.
Wow- at 10,000 feet Flatlanders might find it difficult to breathe when hiking the high elevation trails along the Beartooth All-American Road. Most hiking along the BAAR and the Beartooth Plateau occurs between June and September. The beautiful and fragile high alpine tundra and the uplifted granite that makes up the Beartooths and dates back more than three billion years containing some of the oldest rocks on Earth is the setting for some fabulous hikes.
There are many trail heads along the BAAR that lead to day hikes, overnights or multi-day hikes. Some of the hikes take the visitor deep into the Beartooth portion of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Weather is unpredictable even in the summer. Snowstorms are not at all unusual. Be sure to carry warm clothes and rain gear.
Hiking books that contain detailed descriptions of the trails in the area include:
Day Hikes In The Beartooth Mountains by Robert Stone
Best easy day hikes Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness by Bill Schneider
Hiking the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness by Bill Schneider
Backcountry Wilderness Trekking
There is a way to get where most folks have never been. Whether you seek the majestic elk, the wily cutthroat trout, or just the adventure of a backcountry trip back country outfitters can take your there. Guides will escort you every step of the way on your adventure. The best way to find a reputable outfitter is to visit with the chamber of commerce in each of the three Beartooth Highway gateway communities: