687_print_3-2

Photo Merv Coleman

Known as one of the most scenic drives in the U.S., the Beartooth Highway holds one of the prestigious designations of All-American Road. This National Scenic Byway sits on a million plus acres of wilderness area nestled between the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountain ranges. The 68 mile corridor isn’t just for autos, it’s also a favorite for motorcyclists, RV’s and even road bikers, and while the views from the highway itself are unbelievable, getting off the beaten path is where the real adventure begins. We’ll get you started, but fair warning— you may need to take the summer off to get it all in. Mountain Goats can usually be seen along the Beartooth Scenic Highway during the summer months particulary in August near the summit of Beartooth Pass

Photo Merv Coleman

Flora and Fauna As part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the area is home to wildlife such as grizzly bears, gray wolves, mountain goats and at least 115 species of birds. The best time to be on the lookout is early morning or late evening when the animals are most active. Keep in mind, wildlife are just that, wild. Be safe and respectful and stay a good distance away. Lupine fills a slope along the Beartooth Scenic Highway between the West Summit and Long Lake area. They are located in a transition zone from alpine to near timberlline.

Photo Merv Coleman

Often times overlooked by plant enthusiasts, the area comes alive with a variety of flowers that bloom in both high elevations and rolling meadows. You’ll find buttercups, primroses, columbine, forget-me-nots, mountain clematis, delphinium, lupine, poppies, pasqueflower, orchids, indian paintbrush…you get the picture. Wildflower Viewing Underwater brown_Pat Clayton

Photo Pat Clayton

Fishing  Over 10,000 high mountain lakes riddle the area around the pass. You’ll find clear rivers and streams as well as the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River. Much of the fishing is accessible on lakes close to the road, but if you venture out a bit, you’ll be casting in the midst of such unparalleled beauty you may get a bit distracted. Lakes and Rivers Beartooth_HWY_002

Photo Dolan Personke

Hiking While experienced backpackers will find the Beartooth mountains a backcountry mecca, there are day hikes for all levels. Pack a lunch, plenty of water, a camera and hit the trails. (Don’t forget the bear spray.) Hiking Trails Camping There are over 200 campsites along the highway, some nestled around beautiful lakes. Some campgrounds accept reservations, but the majority are first come, first served, so get there early and be ready to nab a spot. Don’t worry about the location, there’s not a bad seat in the house. Camping along the Beartooth Highway Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.41.09 AM

Photo Dolan Personke

Biking While some people love the challenge of road biking over the pass, just beyond the road you’ll find hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails. Biking Trails Climbing One of the highest and most rugged areas in lower 48 states, there are 20 peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation. Here are a couple of the most notable… Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.49.57 AM

Photo Donnie Sexton

Guided Horseback Riding For a truly western experience,view the backcountry on horseback. You can opt for day rides, but for a real adventure, take a guided pack trip where you’ll see areas not easily accessible. The views will be spectacular, the rides relaxing and the cowboy coffee strong. Horseback Riding and Pack Trips Skiing On good snow years, expert skiers can ski the Twin Lakes Headwall, a lift-served area which hosts an International Ski and Snowboard camp. Red Lodge International Summer Racing Camp. For those in the know, you can also take turns right off the road. Boating For the boaters out there, pack up the kayak, canoe or drift boat and head to the lakes. Accessing the other side of many of these areas brings a whole new meaning to the word, “solitude.” You can fish, hike, camp or simply cruise around the water. Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.35.37 AM Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.37.23 AM Good food, good people and great conversation.  At either end of the Beartooth Highway, you’ll find the quaint mountain towns of Red Lodge and Cooke City. We highly recommend you stay in either or both and really nestle in to the culture. At the end of every adventure, you’ll find great restaurants, unique shops and entertaining events. Red Lodge, MTCooke City, MT We recommend the long way home… Beartooth Highway Wayfinding Map Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 4.28.33 PM

Photo Donnie Sexton