Beartooth Pass

Beartooth Highway is a 68-mile section of US Highway 212, running from Red Lodge, Montana, into northwest Wyoming. The road is a series of steep zigzags and switchbacks along the Montana-Wyoming border, topping out at Beartooth Pass (10,947′). A spectacular excursion which has been dubbed “the most beautiful drive in America.”

Along the highway through Beartooth Pass, numerous road signs advise: "Please stay on roadway."

Along the highway through Beartooth Pass, numerous road signs advise: “Please stay on roadway.”

Did we mention switchbacks? Beartooth Pass has tons of switchbacks.

Did we mention switchbacks? Beartooth Pass has tons of switchbacks.

The pass is only open during summer months, but can be closed anytime due to snow. Thunderstorms and strong winds are also common.

The pass is only open during summer months, but can be closed anytime due to snow. Thunderstorms and strong winds are also common in the summer.

Near the top of the pass, looking down on Twin Lakes.

Near the top of the pass, looking down on Twin Lakes.

Red Lodge International Summer Ski and Snowboard Camp

The ski area near the top of the pass doesn’t have a name, but it’s owned and operated by the Red Lodge International Summer Ski and Snowboard Camp. The rather obscure ski destination, located at an elevation of 10,900 feet, has been operating since the 1960s, mostly offering ski racing teams a place to train during the summer months. It’s located on national forest land just inside the Wyoming border. In 2003, the ski area opened its doors to the public.

Longhorn Mountain Sheep grazing.

Longhorn Mountain Sheep grazing.

Spring arrives at 11,000' in July.

Spring arrives at 11,000′ in July.

Watermelon snow

At the top of Beartooth, we saw Watermelon snow, common during the summer in alpine and coastal polar regions worldwide. At altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, the temperature is cold throughout the year, and so the snow has lingered from winter storms. Compressing the snow by stepping on it or making snowballs leaves it looking red.

One of countless, unnamed lakes along the highway.

One of countless, unnamed lakes along the highway.

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Snow removal equipment at the ready, at the top of Beartooth. What this baby looks like in action.

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Traveling through the Shoshone National Forest.

Traveling through the Shoshone National Forest.

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