Places to Visit: Beartooth Mountains

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Beartooth Mountains

When visiting West Yellowstone, a side trip to the Beartooth Mountains is in order, so you can witness for yourself this awesome range with peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation.

  • Travel the Beartooth Highway to see the magnificent sights of the Beartooth Mountains
  • Only a short drive through Yellowstone National Park to reach West Yellowstone
  • Drive to 10,974 feet at Beartooth Pass
  • Hiking, fishing, horseback riding and more available in these mountains

Overview

The Beartooth Mountains boast some really high elevations, with mountains reaching over 12,000 feet and glaciers in abundance. There are hundreds of lakes and forests, with wildlife roaming the forests and tundra. These mountains in south-central Montana sit on Beartooth Plateau, the largest plateau in the United States.

Seasons

The best time to visit the Beartooth Mountains is the late spring, summer and early fall. Snowfall creates a very short season for activities such as hiking and fishing at the higher elevations. An extensive network of trails is often under snow until early July. The Beartooth Highway is usually closed due to snow from October through April.

Fees

There are no fees for entering the Beartooth Mountains or Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.

Highlights

There’s no question that the Beartooth Mountains are breathtaking in their beauty. The best way to experience this wilderness is to drive the scenic Beartooth Highway or US 212. This two to three-hour drive provides incredible views, climbing from canyon floor to 10,974 feet at Beartooth Pass.

The Beartooth Mountains are part of Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, within Custer and Gallatin National Forests. Here you will find Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana at 12,799 feet. It is also part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and is the home to a wide array of wildlife, like grizzly bears, bison and elk.

Outdoor activities are plentiful, with cross-country skiing even available in June and July. Fly-fishing, hiking, horseback riding and many other recreational fun is available.

Getting Here

To get to West Yellowstone from the Beartooth Mountains, you start from Cooke City, Montana and follow the road into Yellowstone National Park to the west entrance, which is the town of West Yellowstone. Enjoy the park as you travel through, with it steaming geysers and hot springs.

Other Beartooth Mountains Resources

Beartooth Pass Highway Information

Information about the Beartooth Pass Highway on our ALL Red Lodge Montana site!