GoPetFriendly.com

Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Exploring The Beartooth Highway With Pets

For 68 miles, between Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana, the Beartooth Highway winds through some of the most inspiring terrain in the United States. This road, one of the highest in the lower 48 states, passes 20 peaks that rise over 12,000 feet. Travelers experience pristine mountain landscapes, lush forests, and alpine tundra – all within a few miles. But is it a good idea to explore the Beartooth Highway with pets? Fasten your seat belt and we’ll show you how much this area has to offer pet travelers!

Shar-pei and German Shepherd Dog sitting on a pet friendly trail along the Beartooth Highway in Montana

 

Exploring The Beartooth Highway With Pets

Weather is the biggest consideration when planning a trip on the Beartooth Highway. Given its high elevation and rugged location, the area can experience severe weather almost every month of the year and winter arrives on a moment’s notice. Typically, the entire route is open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to mid-October. But the dates really depend on Mother Nature. When we arrived in early October, winter was right on our heels.

READ MORE ⇒  The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

We were hoping it would look like this:

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

Photo credit: htrnr

Instead, we got this:

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

Without question, it was beautiful and peaceful. But the fresh snow made it impossible to reach the highest parts of the highway where glacial lakes dot the plateaus and waterfalls dance over the rocks.

 

Plan Your Visit

Fall days in Montana are crisp and clear, making it an excellent time to visit. But, avoiding the summer traffic comes with it’s trade-offs. It was a spectacular, sunshiny day when we started out toward Cooke City. But something was clearly brewing on the horizon. Climbing to the higher elevations, we got an inkling of what awaited us.

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

It’s important to note that there is little cell phone coverage in this area, so visitors need to be prepared for an emergency. Though daytime temperatures can reach 70 degrees, when the sun goes down the mercury can quickly fall below freezing. Warm clothes, proper footwear, plenty of gas in the car, water, and a healthy dose of common sense are recommended.

By the time we reached the Beartooth Highway, the snow had already started to stick on the road. After a few more miles, we were driving in a winter wonderland! From the western end near Cooke City, 17 miles of the Beartooth was open to vehicle traffic, but the driving conditions were deteriorating quickly. Having no desire to put ourselves or the boys in harm’s way, we turned around well before reaching the gate.

READ MORE ⇒  Making A DIY Pet First Aid Kit For Your Car

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

 

Hitting the Trails Along the Beartooth Highway

Back at lower elevations, the sun was still shining and the boys were happy to explore. Rorest roads, trailheads, picnic areas, and turnouts appear at regular intervals, so finding a place to stretch your legs isn’t a problem.

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

The Beartooth Highway runs through the Custer, Gallatin, and Shoshone National Forests, and parallels the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The route provides travelers with access to more than a million acres of wilderness!

Leashed pets are welcome at all the turnouts, picnic areas, and trails as long as they are cleaned up after. Keep in mind that Grizzlies and wolves inhabit this area, and the land is also used for cattle grazing. So, for your pet’s safety, it’s important to abide by the leash law.

Pet Rules along the Beartooth Highway

  • Pets must be leashed
  • Pet waste must be picked up and disposed of properly

 

Up the Road to Red Lodge

Since the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge was closed, we took an alternate route to this lovely mountain village. It was obvious there was a storm raging to the west, but it was a perfect day for a drive. And the weather made for some dramatic pictures!Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

From the eastern end near Red Lodge, the Beartooth Highway was open for twelve miles. The roads here were in much better shape. We drove along the icy creek, past the pine trees tipped with snow, all the way to the barricades.

Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com Montana's Top Pet Friendly Attraction: Beartooth Highway | GoPetFriendly.com

 

Pet Friendly Places To Stay

There are several pet friendly hotels, campgrounds, and eateries in Cody, which gives you excellent access to the Beartooth Highway. You’ll also find a smaller selection of accommodations in Cooke City and Red Lodge. Primitive camping in the national forests is another pet friendly option.

In The Area

From the Beartooth Highway, you’re just a hop, skip, and a jump to Yellowstone National Park. Though it’s pet policy is pretty restrictive, with a bit of planning you and your pet can enjoy it together!

READ MORE ⇒  Finding Balance with Pets in Yellowstone

 

Even though we weren’t able to experience the entire Beartooth Highway on this visit, we still had a fantastic time! Adapting to the weather is part of the deal when you travel with pets. And now we have more to look forward to when we visit next time. Have you spent time on the Beartooth Highway? Share your tips in the comments below!

 

DO MORE TOGETHER

Lodgings | Destinations | Trip Planner

  • I completely agree, Mary – Montana is spectacular. Luckily for you, it sounds like you have a great excuse to visit regularly! =)

  • Montana is my fav place! Not that it has anything to do with our only grandchild living there… The breathtaking wonderment of it all never gets old!

  • >
    shares
    >