One thing that I always try to make time to do every year is driving the Beartooth Highway. It is arguably one of the most scenic drives in the entire state.

From Bozeman, I drive to Cooke City through the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. While on that stretch of the trip, you're likely to see a lot of wildlife like bears, bison, and wolves.

Cooke City is a great place to stop for lunch before starting your trek on the Beartooth Highway. It's a 68-mile byway that winds its way through southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming. The Beartooth Highway passes through what is known today as the Beartooth Corridor. Surrounded by the Custer, Gallatin, and Shoshone National Forests, traveling parallel to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, and abutting Yellowstone National Park, the Highway sits in a million-plus acre wilderness. Visitors have the rare opportunity to experience and explore pristine, untouched alpine and montane landscapes, lush forests, and alpine tundra in the space of a few miles.

It is one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet in elevation. In the surrounding mountains, glaciers are found on the north flank of nearly every mountain peak over 11,500 feet high. The road itself is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet) and is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies.

The road, which closes each winter because of excessive snow and adverse winter conditions, typically opens by the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

Snow levels vary and drifts can be as high as 26 feet in the higher elevations.

Opening the Beartooth Highway is a huge undertaking, and crews began clearing the road for the upcoming season on Thursday, April 22. Check out the video below. For more information about the Beartooth Highway, click here.

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