We love crazy roads. In our 16 years of travel together, we’ve seen a few.
The Million Dollar Highway in southwestern Colorado from Silverton to Ouray. Glacier Parkway between Banff and Jasper in Alberta Canada. Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. All are crazy roads. We love them.
Take Beartooth Highway to Beartooth Pass
If you love a crazy road, you need head out the northeast entrance of Yellowstone on Highway 212, known first as Northeast Entrance Rd, and then as Beartooth Highway. Head up Beartooth Highway to Beartooth Pass. If you keep going, you’ll soon be in Red Lodge, Montana.
Beartooth Highway May Be One of the Craziest Roads
Bear tooth Pass is crazy. Not crazy dangerous, like Million Dollar Highway (though it surely could be if you’re not paying attention). But crazy scenic.
Climbing ever higher, we peer down over roads we were just on, until we’re too far up to see them anymore. What we see from the upper echelons, atop the pass itself, staggers the mind. What view is this laid out for miles before us? How can it have even come to be?
Ahh, geologic forces. Beartooth Pass is like that.
Use Beartooth Highway to Exit Yellowstone Eastward…
If you’re leaving Yellowstone’s east side, you can exit via the Beartooth Highway. You won’t lose much time at all if you’re heading to Billings Montana, Bighorn National Monument, or Sheridan Wyoming. It even works for Devil’s Tower, the Black Hills, and a bunch more places. You get the drift.
…or, use Bearthooth Pass as a Day Trip, and Return to Yellowstone
If you’re not yet ready to leave Yellowstone, turn Beartooth Pass into a day trip and loop back via Dead Indian Hill Rd.
From the top of Beartooth Pass, continue along Beartooth Hwy (Hwy 212) to Red Lodge, Montana. Then east down the valley on 308, toward Belfry. From Belfry, take Hwy 72 south for 11 miles where it becomes Hwy 120 as you pass into Wyoming.
After another 18 miles (30 total from Belfry), Hwy 120 intersects with Dead Indian Hill Rd (Hwy 296).
Take Dead Indian Hill Rd. / Hwy 296 back to Beartooth Hwy and head back west back into the Park via the northeast entrance.
In the process, you’ll pass over Dead Indian Summit Overlook, and Sugarloaf Mountain. Some very impressive scenery.
The long-view mountain passes, traced by windy-twisty roads, are breathtaking.
Beartooth Highway > Dead Indian Hill Rd. (#opinion)
To be clear, both Beartooth Hwy and Dead Indian Hill Rd are scenic routes. However, if you can only do one, we recommend Beartooth Pass. If you do happen to have the time to spend, then most definitely do the loop.
When our time was up in Yellowstone, we hadn’t yet made it around the loop, like we did in 2010. So, we had to make a decision. We remembered Dead Indian Hill being amazing, but we knew we’d head up Beartooth Pass. Our previous experience told us it was just too amazing to bypass. We weren’t disappointed.
Beartooth Pass Weather Can Make You or Break You
The weather wasn’t great when we left, and it continued to degrade as we headed up the pass. We were dismayed.
However, by the time we got to the top of the pass, the bad stuff broke long enough to get a few choice pics (which is all we need).
If you’re planning to make a day of the full loop, be sure to watch the weather. You don’t want to go when its raining or overcast. The pass is so high that inclement weather can obscure any view at all of the incredible landscape below.
Red Lodge Montana
Once you’re up and over Beartooth Pass, you can stop off in Red Lodge, Montana for any number of recreational or sightseeing activities.
Or, if you just need to keep moving, about a third of the way down the valley toward Belfry, you’ll find Beavercreek and the Hungry Bear Bakery. Their homemade pie is legendary. A nice little spot to stop for pie, and to say hello to the locals. They’ll send your pie with you if you’re in a hurry.
But, really, why be in a hurry?