The Beaten Path
ElevationAscent: 3,806' 1,160 m
Descent: -2,066' -630 m
High: 9,927' 3,026 m
Low: 6,242' 1,903 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)
Popular runs nearby
6.7 mi 10.7 km • Out and Back • 569 ft Ascent 173.35 m Ascent
Island Lake to Beartooth Lake
5.7 mi 9.2 km • Point to Point • 221 ft Ascent 67.42 m Ascent
Island and Night Lakes
3.3 mi 5.3 km • Out and Back • 71 ft Ascent 21.5 m Ascent
19.9 mi 32.0 km • Point to Point • 2,939 ft Ascent 895.87 m Ascent
17.7 mi 28.5 km • Point to Point • 3,681 ft Ascent 1121.97 m Ascent
West Fork Boulder River
26.2 mi 42.2 km • Loop • 2,583 ft Ascent 787.3 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“An epic traverse of the Beartooth Range from East Rosebud to Cooke City.”— samh Haraldson
Arrive at East Rosebud Lake and "car camp" the first night after having taken care of any car shuttling needs. Wake early and set off into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Almost immediately, you'll find yourself swallowed up by absolutely massive vertical walls of rock with gashed couloirs that hold snow year round. Down on the ground it's sunny and perhaps there's a light breeze blowing down valley. Playful water flows downhill as you pick your way across boulders and through wildflowers.
You'll gain elevation until the halfway point of the trip when you top out in alpine plateau country consisting of bare rock and shallow, gravelly lakes. If you've brought a rod, cast a fly into any of the water along this path for a chance at some beautiful rocky mountain trout.
A myriad of camping options abound along the route and choosing the most beautiful spot can be difficult given the sheer number of choices. This run can be done in as few as one day (if you're a marathoner) or as many as five or six if you want to dawdle and fish.
The trail exits just East of Cooke City, MT where a burger, some pizza, or a cool (age appropriate) beverage awaits those exiting the Wilderness.
Alternately start at the other end of the trail. This will be a much easier hike, causing you to lose more elevation than you gain. Starting at East Rosebud Lake will lead you on about a 20 mile uphill journey in which you'll only be going down for the last 6 miles. It is no where near half the trip like the above paragraph states. By starting at the Cooke city end, you go up about 6 miles, then down for about 20.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Custer National Forest Office