The Beartooth Highway, Yellowstone’s prettiest gateway road, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
60 miles (out of the 68 that make up the Beartooth Highway, or US-212) have been designated the Red Lodge—Cooke City Approach Road Historic District. The district is named for the two towns the road connects, each serving as gateway communities for the Highway.
Listed on May 8, 2014, the Highway has been conveying visitors to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park since 1937, after President Herbert Hoover placed it under protection in 1932. The road was built using funds from the 1931 National Park Approaches Act.
The listing came after Yellowstone staff nominated it for registration, through a Memorandum of Agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, United States Forest Service and both the Montana and Wyoming State Historic Preservation Offices.
Named for the mountain range it traverses, which was named for a tooth shaped peak, the Highway offers visitors epic montane panoramas and opportunities for wilderness exploration. It is a great reward to thread these mountains with great care and diligence, in the shadow of the awesome granite peaks. The plateaus and spaces found in the Beartooth Corridor offer opportunities for wildlife watching and alpine fishing, all of which should be done with great care and discretion, so as not to spoil the area’s beauty.
Besides its historic association with Yellowstone National Park and natural splendor, the Beartooth Highway has the distinction of being the highest elevation highway in both Wyoming and Montana.
The Beartooth Highway also joins up with the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, which trails down to Cody, WY and Yellowstone’s East Entrance.