Last fall we introduced you to the Beartooth All American Road, declaring it “America’s Best Drive,” and lauding it for its breathtaking beauty. The road, which passes through the heart of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, begins in Red Lodge, Montana, and passes briefly into Wyoming, before wandering back into Big Sky Country, passing through the sleepy little town of Cooke City, before eventually ending at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Closed from mid-October to mid-May, the Beartooth re-opened for the travel season last weekend – a travel season that will celebrate the 75th year of this iconic highway.
Construction on the road began in 1931, but due to bad weather, it was often suspended for several months each year. Even with those challenges, the 69-mile route was completed in 1934, officially opening on June 14th of that year. At the time, the road was a monument to modern engineering and construction techniques, and it remains an impressive feat to this day.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Beartooth, both Red Lodge and Cooke City have a number of activities on tap. Red Lodge will begin the festivities with a three-day celebration that gets underway on June 10th and runs throughout that entire weekend. The town will play host to a number of historical presentations and walking tours, a free BBQ, driving tours of the highway, and a parade. For a full schedule of events in Red Lodge, click here.
Similarly, Cooke City will also be hosting events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the scenic highway and its historical roots in mining operations throughout the area. While the town hasn’t completely formalized its plans yet, you can see what they have on tap by clicking here.
If you aren’t able to make any of these celebrations, the Beartooth is always worth the drive any other time this summer as well. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular drives you’ll ever take and you’ll find yourself stopping frequently along the way to snap photos of the amazing scenery. My advice for the best way to experience the road however, is on the back of a bike with Beartooth Bike Tours. If you have the time, there is simply no better way to take in the sights.