• Red Lodge, Montana to Yellowstone via the Beartooth Highway

      98 miles -- allow 2-3 hours for Beartooth Highway and at least 45 minutes for Lamar Valley

      Few would argue that this northeast route is anything other than the most spectacular drive into Yellowstone National Park. Beartooth Highway is one of America's great routes, following long winding climbs up to high passes offering staggering views over snow capped mountains. The second stage makes its way through beautiful Lamar Valley towards Yellowstone's Great Loop.

      Some highlights of your journey:

      Red Lodge (starting point)
      Red Lodge is a lively and welcoming town, a center for just about every outdoor activity you can think of, from fishing and rafting to hunting and snowmobiling. As you’d expect there are plenty of motels, bars and good standard restaurants to choose from.

      Find Hotels and Motels Near Red Lodge

      Beartooth Highway
      Red Lodge is also the northern terminus of the Beartooth Highway (U.S. Highway 212) – a quite breathtaking drive across high alpine plateau, past lakes, glaciers and craggy peaks. Note: the road is generally only open from late May until mid-October.

      Rock Creek Vista Point (mile 21)
      Rock Creek Vista Point is just one of a number of unforgettable overlooks along Beartooth Highway. There’s a short trail along a ridge which provides even better views – so don’t leave the camera in the car – plus rest facilities and interpretative displays.

      Beartooth Pass (mile 30)
      At an elevation of 10,948 feet, Beartooth Pass is the highest point on the highway and offers incredible views of the Beartooth Mountains.

      Pilot Peak
      Its height – 11,708 ft – is impressive enough but it’s its perfect triangular ‘mountain’ shape that makes Pilot Peak so distinctive (and photogenic). Look out for it to your left as you approach Cooke City.

      Cooke City (mile 65)
      Cooke City is a charming town with an authentically old and western feel to it. Everything’s probably about 20% more expensive than it should be but it’s hard to blame them for trying to maximize their profit when this route into Yellowstone is only open to cars for about four and a half months a year.

      Yellowstone National Park (mile 69 - 98)
      The 29-mile drive from Yellowstone’s northeast entrance to Tower-Roosevelt makes its way through the scenic landscape of Lamar Valley. Make the journey at dawn or dusk and it’s one of the best places in the park to spot wolves, bears and other predators; bison and elk can usually be seen at any time.

      Find Hotels and Motels Near Northeast Yellowstone National Park

      The unforgettable view of the
      Beartooth Mountains from Beartooth Pass (10,948-ft)

      Comments 6 Comments
      1. Mark Sedenquist's Avatar
        Mark Sedenquist -
        This is one of the most amazing car trips routes in the west. Remarkable drop-offs on both sides of the road. It's one of those "must-drive-in-the-USA" routes!

      1. dragonfly32's Avatar
        dragonfly32 -
        After reading this, we are definitely incorporating this route into our 10-day road trip. Thank you. If you have any other suggestions for a 10-day trip beginning somewhere in MT and making our way into Wyoming - I'd greatly appreciate the input. Our trip begins July 8. thx!
      1. CAVarley's Avatar
        CAVarley -
        We are traveling from Denver to Bozeman, to visit family. Then plan to travel around MT and through the park. It sounds like this is thr route to take into the park. Any other stops that you know we should incorporate? And, the best places to see in the park? Of course, Old Faithful and hot springs??? Thank you!
      1. Lifemagician's Avatar
        Lifemagician -
        Don't underestimate the time this route takes. It is among the most magnificent I have driven, but don't rush it. It is only about 120 miles from Red Lodge to Mammoth, but make sure you allow a good half day (if not more) to it. A stop at 'The Top of the World Store' is definitely worth it, even if only for their 'make it yourself' cup of coffee/chocolate/tea.

      1. RedRose1's Avatar
        RedRose1 -
        In September I will have 2 days to go from Many Glacier Hotel in GNP to Canyon Lodge in YNP. I am thinking about using the Beartooth Highway. My thought is to go to Livingtson MT the first day and then on to Red Lodge and the Beartooth to Canyon Lodge. I've looked it over on maps but having never been in the area want some feedback on whether it is realistic. Any thoughts on that route or other experiences in the area would be most welcomed. Thanks.
      1. Lifemagician's Avatar
        Lifemagician -
        That is easily done in two days, with ample time to enjoy the beauty along the way. I would highly recommend that you consider taking US-89 from Glacier to Livingston. It is a scenic road the whole way, with fairly high speed limits. You'll enjoy the drive. The next day you will easily get to your lodge before dinner, even if you stop along the way at all of the magnificent sights. Only a few days ago I came across the book on the Beartooth, which I bought in the Top of the World store. It brought back so many memories.