Bear Tooth Pass, Montana is a fantastic place. stop at the rest area at the top of the pass, and listen to the wind.
We agree that Beartooth Pass and Highway is fantastic. We explored the entire 68 mile length while staying the area. The Highway starts in Montana and ends in Montana but along the way it goes through a northern corner of Wyoming.
If want to ride the Beartooth Highway, plan on getting there after Memorial Day but before Labor Day. However you should still check weather and road conditions, as you may have to wait for the right weather conditions before you venture out.
The highway starts at around 5,000 feet and gains in elevation up to its maximum height of 10,977 feet. So storms and adverse weather are always possible – even in the summer months. Plan in advance and check the local weather conditions. Here is a link to a website that provides good information on Beartooth Pass. The Montana DOT is another good place to get up-to-date info on road conditions. As an example, the 2013 opening dates for the entire length of the Highway are into the middle of June.
When we made the ride, we were staying in Cody Wyoming and using it as a base for exploring Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area. We had to wait several days before we could safely ride our motorcycle over the pass. When we were there the pass was closed due to bad weather even in late June. However, the ride was well worth the wait.
The best way to enjoy the ride is to ride from Red Lodge to Cooke City in the morning (no glare from the sun), go into Yellowstone and do the grand loop. This will afford you an opportunity to see the wild life in Yellowstone and is a fabulous ride to boot. Return through the eastern gate and spend some time in Cody Wyoming – a great town in the area.
Make it a point to stop at the Rock Creek vista point near Red Lodge about 21 miles into your ride. You will get magnificent views of the area so bring binoculars. Another point of interest is the Top-of-The-World store at the top of Beartooth Pass. It is a good place to take a break and watch the motorcycles go by.
Another nice ride is Chief Joseph Highway that connects with Beartooth Highway near the North east entrance to Yellowstone. In the early season, beware of the wild life (mostly elk) which can be seen all along the roadside. Later in the season the wild life disappears. We’ve seen elk, big horn sheep, mule deer and moose on both Chief Joseph and Beartooth Highway.
From Cody Wyoming:
Go north out of town on Route 120, go 17 miles and make a left on route 296 (Dead Indian Hill Rd/N Crandall Rd ) the road turns into Chief Joseph Highway. Now sit back and enjoy the scenery. At the end of Chief Joseph make a right onto Route 212 going east (Beartooth Highway) enjoy the many switchbacks and have lunch in Red Lodge Montana. Nice town to browse and very motorcycle friendly.
From Red Lodge:
Take 212 west out of town and follow the Beartooth Highway to the top. Keep going and you will reach Cooke City another quaint town near the North Eastern entrance to Yellowstone.
Bear in mind that whichever direction you choose to go, you could easily plan to spend a night or so in Cody or Red Lodge, to enjoy these western towns and to give you plenty of time to make the ride at a relaxed pace.