Montana’s Yellowstone Country: Most Beautiful Drives

Beartooth Highway Beartooth Highway

-Story and photos by Melynda Harrison

Montana's Yellowstone Country is a land of rugged beauty and tranquil landscapes, where the majesty of the mountains meets the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park.

One of the best ways to experience this natural wonderland is by taking a road trip on its scenic highways and byways.

From winding mountain roads to serene stretches of highway, here are some of the most beautiful drives in Montana's Yellowstone Country, complete with key places to stop along the way.


Beartooth Scenic Byway

Distance: Approximately 68 miles

Start: Red Lodge, Montana

End: Cooke City, Montana


The Beartooth Scenic Byway is often hailed as one of the most stunning drives in the United States, and it's not hard to see why. This road winds its way through the towering Beartooth Mountains, offering breathtaking views at every turn.

We try to get into the Beartooths a few times each summer, and the “most beautiful drive in America” is a great way to get up high where sparkling lakes and alpine meadows dot the landscape.

The Beartooth Highway is typically open from late May to mid-October, depending on weather conditions. It’s best to check the Beartooth Highway status and road conditions before planning your trip.


Key Places to Stop on the Beartooth Highway

There are so many places to stop along the way and enjoy the scenery, take a hike or angle for trout. Pull over as inspired—there are many pullouts and parking areas along the way.

A few of the many highlights include:

Restaurants en Route:


Nye Road (Absarokee - Woodbine Campground)

Distance: Approximately 31 miles

Start: Absarokee, Montana

End: Woodbine Campground, Montana


Nye Road is a short but incredibly scenic drive that takes you along the banks of the picturesque Stillwater River. The road is flanked by lush forests and rolling hills, making it a peaceful and refreshing journey.


Key Places to Stop:

Restaurants en Route:


Boulder Road (Big Timber - Natural Bridge Falls Picnic Area)


Distance: Approximately 25 miles

Start: Big Timber, Montana

End: Natural Bridge Falls Picnic Area

The Boulder Road takes you through Montana's rolling foothills and provides a glimpse into the state's rich agricultural heritage. This drive offers a more relaxed pace compared to some of the more rugged mountain routes.


Key Places to Stop:

Restaurants en Route

Hwy 191 (Bozeman - West Yellowstone)

Distance: Approximately 90 miles

Start: Bozeman, Montana

End: West Yellowstone, Montana

Hwy 191 through Gallatin Canyon and Yellowstone National Park is a spectacle of nature. You'll traverse through a dramatic canyon, skirt along the picturesque Gallatin River and drive through a section of Yellowstone National Park.


Key Places to Stop:

Restaurants en Route:

All four of these scenic drives offer captivating views and diverse landscapes, which are sure to leave you in awe of the natural beauty that this region has to offer.

Prepare to be enchanted by the wonders down the road.

There are a few principles of Montana’s Recreate Responsibly guidelines that especially apply to driving Yellowstone Country’s backroads.

Know before you go.

Some roads are only open in summer or depending on weather conditions. Check the Montana Department of Transportation website for road conditions before you go.

Cell service is spotty or nonexistent on these byways. Download an offline map before you go and be prepared for any emergencies that may arise, as you might not be able to call for help.

Plan where you are going to eat, or pack a picnic, since a restaurant may not be readily available when you get hungry. Carry water or other hydrating beverages with you.


Wildlife safety.

It is likely you will see wildlife on these drives; I hope you do! Just be sure to stay alert while driving, both for the safety of animals on the road and other drivers who have stopped to watch wildlife.