Pine Creek rushes out of the Absaroka mountains just south of Livingston, MT in Paradise Valley. Pine Creek Campground is at the end of a 3-mile paved road leading into the national forest. The campground has 27 sites set in the forest near the creek. The Pine Creek trailhead is adjacent to the campground and leads to Pine Creek Falls and Pine Creek Lake.
Category: Yellowstone Area Hikes and Attractions
The natural wonders of Yellowstone Park don’t stop at the park’s boundary and we want to help you enjoy the Yellowstone area beyond the park. These articles feature opportunities for hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing and whitewater. For a quieter trip, there are suggestions for driving explorations.
There are great attractions on every side of Yellowstone Park but we are focused on the area to the north. Mostly in Montana, this includes the Bozeman, Livingston and Big Timber areas. It includes the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness as well as hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest.
Mill Creek is the largest tributary to the Yellowstone River between Livingston, MT and Yellowstone Park. It’s one of the few places where roads penetrate into the national forest and there are lots of trails to enjoy. The East Fork of Mill Creek trailhead provides access to a major trail system in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness.
The northern section of the Porcupine Ibex trail was opened for public use in late 2019. This 2.9-mile trail departs from the Porcupine Cabin and crosses the forested west slopes of the Crazy Mountains. The trail leads to a junction with the North Fork Elk Creek Trail #195 which heads to Campfire Lake and deep into the Crazies. The trailhead and parking area are right at the Porcupine Cabin which is a USFS rental unit.
The Beartooth Highway (US Hwy 212), also known as the Beartooth All American Highway is one of the most spectacular routes in the continental United States. The highway travels through high-altitude wilderness terrain for 63 miles between Red Lodge, MT and the North East Entrance to Yellowstone Park at Silver Gate, MT. This guide travels the road beginning in Red Lodge and ending in Yellowstone Park but it can easily be driven in reverse
Rock Creek runs through Red Lodge, MT and the Beartooth Highway (US 212) follows the creek as it heads toward the switchbacks that climb steeply to the Beartooth Pass. Rock Creek is popular with campers who enjoy the area’s many recreation opportunities and also by travelers on the Beartooth Highway.
Beartooth Lake is a spectacular high-mountain lake located along the famous Beartooth Highway (U.S. Hwy 212). The lake is a popular destination that offers fishing, boating, camping, hiking, and backpacking in a pristine alpine setting. Beartooth Lake is immediately adjacent to Hwy 212 which is both good and bad because it makes access very easy but it also promotes heavy use.
2022 Flooding and Road Closures
In mid-June, 2022 massive flooding hit the Rock Creek drainage resulting in significant damage to roads and bridges. As of mid-July, the West Fork Rock Creek Road is closed from the Basin Campground (mile 7.2) to the end of the road. For current information contact the Beartooth Ranger District at 406-446-2103.
Rock Creek drains the Beartooth Mountains south and west of Red Lodge MT. and the West Fork Rock Creek is its longest and largest tributary. The two branches join just outside of Red Lodge. The West Fork offers opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, and enjoying a wilderness setting.
Island Lake is a beautiful high-mountain lake on the Beartooth Plateau in Wyoming. It’s easily accessed from the Beartooth Highway (US 212) and is just a few miles west of the Beartooth Pass. Sitting at 9,518′ elevation, Island Lake covers 146 acres to a maximum depth of about 100ft. Island Lake is a very popular recreation area with a US Forest Service campground, a boat ramp and beach area, and a trailhead that is popular with hikers and backpackers.
Cascade Creek Campground is located on the West Fork Rock Creek about 11 miles west of Red Lodge, MT. Nestled in the Beartooth Mountains at 7,600 ft, Cascade Creek Campground features great hiking, fishing, and mountain biking opportunities.
The Basin Campground is on the West Fork Rock Creek at 6,800 ft elevation. The 30 campsites are enjoyed by hikers, anglers, and mountain bikers. The campground is in the Custer Gallatin National Forest and is close to the Beartooth Highway and Red Lodge, MT making it a popular destination.