Beartooth Highway Trip Planning

The Beartooth Highway is a 68 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. The Highway begins and ends in Montana, with a large portion also located 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 Resort & Store – located close to Island Lake Campground. Three communities, the Highway’s “gateway communities”, provide driving access as well as full visitor services. Travelers to the area use these communities as “home base” as they explore the Beartooth Highway and surrounding Yellowstone Country.

Use the Beartooth Highway on-line map to orient yourself to our area!

Gateway Community Spotlight

Cody, Wyoming –  Located within an hours drive of the Beartooth Highway Cody, Wyoming is the largest of the highway’s gateway communities. Cody lies south of the Beartooth Highway and provides access via the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, one of Wyoming’s premier scenic byways. Cody offers visitors a full array of services and hosts an abundance of events that can be incorporated during a stay there. Use these websites to assist in planning your trip to the Beartooth Highway:

Cody Country Chamber of Commerce   |  Cody Events Calendar   |  Yellowstone Country, Wyoming

Cooke City, Montana – Located at the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park at the western end of the Beartooth Highway the communities of Cooke City/Silver Gate/Colter Pass, Montana offer visitor services closest to Yellowstone National Park. A stay in the area allows an opportunity to enjoy the Beartooth Highway and also make easy day trips into Yellowstone Park for wildlife watching in the spectacular Lamar Valley. Area lodging includes motel accommodations, mountain cabins, and vacation rental properties. Outdoor recreation lovers will find unlimited opportunities to enjoy wildlife watching, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, and camping when using the Cooke City/Silver Gate/Colter Pass area as a “home base”. Use these websites to assist in planning a stay in the area:

Cooke City/Silver Gate/Colter Pass Chamber of Commerce   |   Cooke City Area Events Calendar   |    Yellowstone Country, Montana

Red Lodge, Montana – Red Lodge, Montana provides direct access to the Beartooth Highway at its eastern most end. The Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce offers these great ideas for enjoying their community:

  • Stay at the historic downtown Pollard Hotel where famous figures such as Ernest Hemingway, Calamity Jane, the Sundance Kid and many others have frequented
  • Sit on the fenced patio of Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company, sipping on sustainably brewed local Ales with the option of partaking in a Brewery Tour
  • Visit the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary where animals from the greater Yellowstone region can be seen within a few feet from visitors
  • Visit the Carbon County Historical Society and Museum to discover the history of Red Lodge, including the Greenough and Linderman families as well as Liver Eatin’ Johnson and the Smith Mine Disaster
  • Enjoy strolling down one of the Top 10 Great Streets in America (American Planning Association), Broadway Avenue, in historic downtown Red Lodge
  • See the “ghost town” remnants of the actual historical Smith Mine Disaster along highway 308 less than 6 miles outside of Red Lodge
  • Experience the famous Pig Races at the Bearcreek Saloon and Steakhouse while dining on local steaks and all other fixin’s
  • Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty along the Lake Fork Trail suitable for all ages and abilities
  • Drive one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in America, the Beartooth All-American Road, 21 miles to Rock Creek Vista Point to enjoy a clear, unobstructed view of breathtaking scenery and noted geological wonders
  • Slow down, enjoy the town via a wagon ride driven by the famous Don Coutts, 90+ year old Red Lodge legend, owner of Beartooth Wagon and Sleigh rides, Grand Marshall of the 2014 Fourth of July Parades

For additional Red Lodge and area information visit these websites:

Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce   |   Red Lodge Montana Events Calendar   |    Yellowstone Country, Montana

 

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Did You Know?

Fishing Beartooth Highway

The cutthroat is the only true western native trout. Originally wide spread throughout the state, it is now relegated to the higher, cooler, more inaccessible back country lakes and streams. Cutthroats are easily identified by the bright red “cut” on the lower jaw.

Clay Butte Lookout - Beartooth Highway

The Clay Butte Lookout was built in 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was used as a fire lookout. It was staffed until the 1960s, when aircraft proved a better tool for fire detection. Today, because of its popular scenic vantage point and proximity to the Beartooth Highway, Clay Butte is used as a visitor information site. It was remodeled in 1962 and has been staffed since 1975 by volunteers. The focus of Clay Butte today is to give visitors a glimpse of how fire lookouts functioned 60 years ago. Sightseers driving the scenic byway stop to obtain information or take in the view, which includes wildlife, botanical areas, the effects of the Clover-Mist wildfire of 1988, and the geology of ancient seas that once covered the Beartooth Plateau.