Beartooth Pass Camping & Campgrounds Red Lodge

Guide To Beartooth Highway Camping and Campgrounds [2023]

There are many public campgrounds along the Beartooth Highway. Which one is best for you will depend on a number of factors. To help you choose we’ve prepared this guide to the public campgrounds along the route. There is a page of additional information about each of these campgrounds – just click on the campground name to learn more

2022 Flood Impacts

In mid-June, 2022 historic floods hit Montana in the Yellowstone Park region. Washed-out roads and bridges left many campgrounds and trails closed and there has been a lot of work done to reopen them. Most campgrounds will be open this summer with just a few exceptions. However, be aware that the access roads may be rough and may have construction at times in 2023. The table below is accurate as of February 2023 but you should always check to make sure your intended campground is open! Call the Beartooth Ranger District at 406-446-2103

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NameDistance From Red LodgeDistance From YellowstoneNotes
Soda Butte Campground63.5 mi4.5 miHard-sided campers only – No Tents
Colter Campground61.9 mi6.1 miHard-sided campers only – no tents
Fox Creek Campground56.9 mi11.1 miClosed in 2023
Pilot Creek Dispersed Camping Area55.3 mi12.7 miDispersed camping sites on both sides of the highway
Crazy Creek Campground53.1 mi14.9 miEasy access to Crazy Creek Falls
Lake Creek Campground50.5 mi17.5 miLocated on Chief Joseph Highway .8 mi from Beartooth Highway
Lily Lake Campground49.mi18.5 miPartially Developed camping
Beartooth Lake Campground41.3 mi26.7 miCampground entrance on highway
Island Lake Campground38 mi30 miCampground entrance on highway
Rock Creek Road Campgrounds12 mi56 mi4 campgrounds are located on this road
Parkside Campground .4 mi from Beartooth Highway on Rock Ck Road
Greenough Lake Campground.8 mi from Beartooth Highway on Rock Ck Road
Limber Pine Campground.9mi from Beartooth Highway on Rock Ck Road
M-K CampgroundRoad badly damaged by 2022 Flood
2.9 mi from Beartooth Highway
East Side Access Road Campgrounds8 mi60 miBridge Out from 2022 Flood at the south end of the road. A temporary bridge provides access from the north end – refer to a current map
Rattin Campground.3 mi from Beartooth Highway
Sheridan Campground1.8 mi from Beartooth Highway
West Fork Rock Creek Road1 mi67 mi3 campgrounds are located on this road
Palisades Campground Access Road1 mi from Beartooth Highway
Basin Campground7 mi from Beartooth Highway
Cascade Campground10.3 mi from Beartooth Highway On West Fork Road – This road is badly damaged and may be closed for repairs at times call for info.

General Beartooth Highway Camping Information

Campgrounds are located along the entire 68 miles of the Beartooth Highway but only a couple are located in the highest country along the middle of the route. Most are closer to Yellowstone Park and Red Lodge, MT. The highway is in Montana on both ends but much of the middle is in Wyoming. Campgrounds are located in both states which won’t matter to most campers but it is important if you are fishing.

Beartooth Campground Fees and Reservations

Some of the campgrounds on the Beartooth Highway have no reservations and are open to whoever secures a spot first while others have online reservations. The individual campground page will have full information about reservations.

Many campgrounds fill during the summer months so, unless you have a reservation, try to plan to occupy a site early in the day. It’s no fun to be searching for a campsite in the evening only to discover that every campground is full.

Except for the dispersed camping areas, all of these campgrounds charge a nightly camping fee. Unless you have an online reservation, fees are paid on-site so be sure to have a checkbook or cash to make your payment. Credit and Debit cards are not accepted!

Beartooth Highway Campground Weather

Campgrounds along the Beartooth Highway are located at elevations ranging from 7,000 ft to 9.500 ft so be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Cold and windy conditions are common and nighttime temperatures in the 30s or colder are not uncommon. Also, rain (or even snow) storms can appear suddenly so make sure you have appropriate clothing and camping gear.

Enjoy the Night Skies on the Beartooth Plateau

Camping along the Beartooth Highway offers some of the best stargazing in the lower 48 states. These are remote campgrounds with no man-made lights interfering with the night sky. You are surrounded by vast wilderness and the air is pure and clean with no pollution to block out the stars. Finally, the higher altitude provides a thinner atmosphere and enhances the viewing.

Full moon nights are almost bright enough to read by. During the dark times of the month, the sky is ablaze with the milky way. It’s a real treat to see the amazing display overhead when you are camping here.

The Beartooth Highway is Bear Country

While it is unlikely that you will encounter a bear, always be aware that grizzly and black bears call this their home. It’s vitally important that you take care to keep your campsite clean. Avoid dropping any food scraps to the ground. Keep your food stored properly unless you are cooking or eating. Most of the campgrounds have steel bear-proof food lockers at each campsite and you should always use them. When there is no food locker be sure to keep your food inside of a vehicle.

Always carry bear spray when you are in bear country and be sure you understand exactly how to use it. It’s too late to figure it out when you need it! Here’s more information about being bear-aware.

Fishing & Boating at Beartooth Highway Campgrounds

A variety of fishing opportunities are available to campers. Three of the campgrounds are located on lakes while several others offer easy access to stream fishing. You always need a fishing license so make sure you have the proper license before fishing. Even though this is remote country, I’ve visited with game wardens checking boats and anglers. Make sure you are legal before you fish.

If you are boating on one of the Wyoming lakes (fishing or just boating) you must first have a Wyoming Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection and a WY AIS Decal. This applies to any type of boat or watercraft you use on the water. The Top of the World Store sells the AIS decals but they don’t conduct watercraft inspections.

Enjoy the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness

Along most of the Beartooth Highway, the 943,648-acre Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness boundary is just south of the highway. Many of the campgrounds offer easy access to the wilderness which is a prime destination for hikers and backpackers.

To get the most out of your visit I recommend you have both maps and a guidebook. I especially recommend:
Day Hikes in the Beartooth Mountains
Hiking the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
Fishing the Beartooths – An Angler’s Guide
National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness East [Cooke City, Red Lodge]

The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness and the surrounding forests are special places that need our support. You can help advocate for these lands by supporting the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness Association. They are a positive force in support of the wilderness and we all need to give them our support!