The Beartooth Mountains, part of the Rocky Mountains, are the result of about seventy million years of geological formations, leaving a spectacular mountain range that is full of geological wonders and leaves the sightseer awe-struck. In 1931, local Red Lodge physician J.C.F Siegfriedt had a vision of a high road to connect Red Lodge to Cooke City and draw tourists to this beautiful spot. After the local mines had closed, the area needed prosperity, and the Beartooth Highway was the key. With the help of O.H.P. Shelley, the owner of the Carbon County News, Siegfriedt convinced congress of the need to approach highways that lead tourists to National Parks. The building started in 1931, and after spending $2.5 million, the road opened in June of 1936.
Visitors can drive the Scenic 65-mile Beartooth Highway that connects Red Lodge to Cooke City and Yellowstone National Park. The highway consists of major switchbacks, as you climb to the elevation of 10,942 ft. At the top, on a clear day, you will experience amazing views of up to 75 miles in distance, with mountain lakes, glaciers, mountain ranges, and ﬁeld of wildﬂowers in the summer. Because of the elevation, snow often covers some ﬁelds through most of July, and you may even spot skiers throughout the summer months. The Beartooths are home to Granite Peak, the highest peak in Montana at 12,799 ft. In 1989, the Beartooth Highway received recognition as one of the most beautiful drives in America and was made one of 52 other National Scenic Byways. The driving is slow going, due to the many switchbacks, and many necessary stops to soak in the awesome views.