The open road is calling you to the magnificent views, untamed wilderness and cultural attractions of Billings, Montana. As Montana’s Trailhead, Billings’ central location at the intersection of I-90 and I-94 makes it one of the premiere Great American Road Trip getaways in the country. Forge your own path to excitement as you meander along the secluded back roads and monumental highways of Southeast Montana.
Experience Montana your way. Along the road to these beautiful sites, rich in Montana heritage, savor Montana cuisine and explore our local museums and cultural centers. These loops promise breathtaking experiences by day and relaxing hospitality by night.
Little Bighorn Battlefield Loop is perfect for the Western History Buff. Stop along the drive at Pompeys Pillar National Monument and Hysham’s Yucca Theater. Roadtrippers should plan a half-day to complete the total 260-mile loop.
If you are craving stunning scenic landscapes, Bighorn Mountain Vista Loop is calling your name. Leave from Billings in the morning to reach Hardin just in time for lunch. While you’re there, stop by the Bighorn County Historical Museum to take a glimpse at a bygone era. The 150-mile loop offers breathtaking views and picturesque stops along the winding Bighorn River.
For Lewis and Clark enthusiasts, Pompeys Pillar Loop is a must. Spend time exploring Pompeys Pillar National Monument, and then discover Montana’s diverse populations of bird species along Southeast Montana’s Birding Trail. Set aside 5 hours to complete the 195-mile scenic loop.
Experience the Best of the West through charming small towns with Western flair. We recommend Roadtrippers stop along the Roundup River Walk Heritage Trail. Pro tip: the Jersey Lilly Saloon is a hot spot to grab lunch. The loop totals 255 miles, a 5-hour trip.
Take in panoramic views along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. Chief Joseph led the Nez Perce Indians out of Yellowstone National Park and into Montana along this same route in 1877. Spend a full day or more taking it all in.
Another one for those History Buffs is Custer’s Last Loop. Stop at Fort Custer, Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations, and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, to name a few. With so much to see, we highly recommend two days to complete the 400-mile loop.
Visitors to Gardiner (MT), the north entrance to the park, can access Yellowstone National Park with guides and outfitters only. The north entrance at Gardiner remains closed unless you have contracted an approved guide or outfitter from Gardiner. More information on approved guides and outfitters can be found here and here.
Although the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park is closed, with the exception of contracting an approved guide or outfitter, the quaint communities nearest the northern entrance – Red Lodge, Gardiner and Cooke City – remain open for business and are the perfect excuse to extend your trip a bit longer and see even more of Montana.
To stay up to date on the Beartooth Highway and access to Yellowstone National Park, please continue to consult the National Park Service website.
Billings isn’t just Montana’s Trailhead, it is the gateway to Yellowstone’s Most Scenic Route via the Beartooth Highway.
Less than an hour from Billings, the Beartooth Highway provides breathtaking vistas from start to finish, guiding Roadtrippers through the most beautiful entrance into Yellowstone – the nation's first national park.
The highway is a place filled with forever views and forever memories, and Forbes even calls it one of the country’s most dazzling drives. Reaching a peak of 10,977 feet through Beartooth Pass, Roadtrippers will immerse themselves in unmatched scenic views. The Beartooth Highway, or Yellowstone’s Most Scenic Route, curves along some of the most extreme country in the world. Did we mention there are over 20 mountain peaks reaching more than 12,000 feet? There is no question why the highway has been designated a National Scenic Byways “All-American Road.”
The highway opened for the first time in June 1936 and has remained the highest elevation paved highway in the Northern Rocky Mountains. With these intense conditions, weather always brings a level of uncertainty for travelers. Sunny days can turn into snowstorms at the drop of a hat, and we recommend all visitors keep these conditions in mind when packing and planning your trip. Don’t worry though, Billings offers everything you need to gear up for your trip!
Yellowstone’s Most Scenic Route is easily accessible from Billings. Take Highway 212 toward Red Lodge to the start of the Beartooth Highway. Continue along the scenic route for 68.7-miles to reach the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The road is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting.
The drive itself will take a few hours, depending on how quickly you let the stunning views pass you by. Plan to enjoy this drive as part of your national park experience. Due to high demands, be sure to have your car rental reservation before you come.