Beartooth Highway Adventure

Beartooth Highway

Are you looking for the perfect summer ride? The Beartooth Highway, one of the few “All-American Roads” in the U.S., is among the most scenic drives in the country. The route is 68 miles of breathtaking mountain and high plateau landscape, and its high elevation means you can see snow and ice even in the summer months. 

A Beartooth Highway motorcycle ride is a must if you enjoy jaw-dropping rides on wide-open country roads as well as mind-numbing hairpin curves up or down a steep cliffside, depending upon which end is your starting point. In this article, our team at The Law Tigers gives you the rundown on this epic ride.

The Beartooth Highway

The Beartooth Highway spans from Red Lodge in Montana to Cooke City near the northeastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Snowstorms keep the road closed from October to May, but it’s usually open by Memorial Day weekend, making it the perfect summer kickstarter. 

The highway cuts through the Beartooth Mountains, a range with over 20 peaks across the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness. You’ll pass pristine alpine lakes, rolling tundra, and glacial waters on the drive. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to stop for hiking and camping but few amenities like stores or gas, so stock up. 

The Beartooth Lake campground is near the pass, and it’s the perfect place to spend a night. You’ll sleep on the banks of a freezing crystal lake and wake up to sounds of elk calling to their herd. 

Come prepared for harsh weather, including snow and rain, and bring your camera to capture the unforgettable views of this ever-changing landscape!

Beartooth Pass

The Beartooth Pass is where you’ll reach the highest elevation on the ride, a summit 10,947 feet above sea level. It’s also the coldest part of the drive, so remember to pack cold-weather gear! At the peak, you’ll see snow-capped mountains to your side any way you turn, making you feel like you’ve climbed to the top of the world. 

The nearby Gardner Lake and surrounding natural campsites provide plenty of places to hike, camp, or take pictures. Even in the summer, there can be six feet or more of snow on the ground, and you’ll be able to spot magnificent mountaintop glaciers. 

The region is also home to many species of wildlife: elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. This far from civilization, it’s likely you’ll spot a few of these animals on your trip. Watch out for the predators that roam the Beartooth mountains, including grizzlies, black bears, and mountain lions.

Riding the Beartooth

Riding the Beartooth Highway is a thrilling experience on the back of a motorcycle. The route treats you to endless zig-zags, hair-raising switchbacks, and twisting turns, but parts of the road are flat straightaways that let you soak in the incredible views. 

The elevation changes over 5,000 feet as you traverse the highway, so you’ll get lots of ups and downs. The pavement is in excellent condition, with little traffic to spoil the ride. Hazards include steep drop-offs guarded by skinny rails, hairpin turns, and ice or snow. 

The drive takes around three hours with minimal stops, but you’ll need to plan for longer if you want to check out the scenic overlooks, lakes, and hiking trails. Most of the route has little to no cell phone signal, so prepare for the possibility of getting stuck in severe weather conditions. 

If you choose to ride from Red Lodge, you’ll be climbing 4000 feet up a Precambrian rock face to the plateau along the switchbacks. Coming the other way, this descent feels more like a plunge. 

If you start in Red Lodge and cross the Beartooth, you can continue straight on into Yellowstone National Park through the northeastern entrance or keep going south toward the Tetons. There are countless detours to see more of the gorgeous mountain country in Montana and Wyoming on this motorcycle ride. 

Click here for an in-depth article on the engineering and maintenance history of this historic highway.

At Law Tigers, We Represent Bikers Across America

Beartooth Highway motorcycle rides are unforgettable for bikers who want to get closer to nature, but the road can be dangerous, so come prepared! If you need a motorcycle lawyer anywhere in the U.S., be sure to contact our nationwide attorneys at 1-888-863-7216 for a free case evaluation.