Travel Guide to the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming and Montana

Entrance to the Beartooth Scenic Byway in the Custer National ForestEntrance to the Beartooth Scenic Byway in the Custer National Forest

Completed in 1936, U.S. Highway 212 is considered one of the most scenic drives in the United States. It includes views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, and open high alpine plateaus.

We first drove the Beartooth Highway in 2000, eastbound out of Yellowstone National Park. In September 2010, after visiting Cody and Red Lodge, we made the trek up the Beartooth westbound into the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

The road features glacial lakes, forests, valleys, waterfalls and a variety of wildlife. The highway is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming and Montana, and is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies.

It traverses a series of steep zigzags and switchbacks along the Montana -Wyoming border to the 10,947 ft high Beartooth Pass.

The road was called "the most beautiful drive in America," by the late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt. The Beartooth closes each winter because of heavy snow and adverse winter conditions; it usually reopens in May of each year.

We found the drive to be scenic, and invigorating, but not intimidating. We look forward to our next trip on the Beartooth!

The Beartooth Scenic Highway, plowed in the spring after the heavy snowfalls through winter
The Beartooth Scenic Highway, plowed in the spring after the heavy snowfalls through winter

 

Lodging Options near the Beartooth Highway

 

Lodging in Cody, Wyoming

Lodging in Red Lodge, Montana

Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone NP

Lake Yellowstone Hotels & Cabins in the Park

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins in Yellowstone NP

Old Faithful Snow Lodge in Yellowstone NP

Dunraven Lodge in Yellowstone NP

Grant Village Lodge in Yellowstone NP

Cascade Lodge in Yellowstone NP

TripAdvisor

 

Montana's Beartooth Highway, overlooking a scenic valley
Montana's Beartooth Highway, overlooking a scenic valley

Leaving Montana on the Beartooth Highway
Leaving Montana on the Beartooth Highway



Rock Creek Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway
Rock Creek Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway

Rock Creek Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway, elevation 9,190 feet
Rock Creek Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway, elevation 9,190 feet

Beartooth Pass Summit, Elevation 10,947 feet
Beartooth Pass Summit, Elevation 10,947 feet
Gentle curves along the Beartooth Scenic Highway
Gentle curves along the Beartooth Scenic HighwayBeartooth Highway, overlooking distant lakes and mountains
Beartooth Highway with switchbacks below
Beartooth Highway with switchbacks below

Beartooth Highway



Welcome to Montana, on the Beartooth Highway
Welcome to Montana, on the Beartooth Highway

Thanks for the guardrails on the Beartooth Highway!
Welcome to Montana, on the Beartooth Highway

Switchbacks on the Beartooth Highway
Switchbacks on the Beartooth HighwaySwitchbacks on the Beartooth Scenic Highway
Switchbacks on the Beartooth Scenic Highway
Map of the switchbacks on the Beartooth Scenic Highway (Courtesy of Montana DOT)
Map of the switchbacks on the Beartooth Scenic Highway


YouTube Video ... Beartooth Highway Clearing ... May 18, 2018

Interactive Map of the Beartooth Highway Area

 

More Information about the Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway Status and Opening Reports from Montana.gov