Placeholder Routes & Places


Backpack - The Beaten Path/Beartooth Mountains

Stunning week-long journey through the Beartooth Mountains near Cooke City, Montana. "It is like the upper Enchantment Lakes Basin but 100 times the size and with 100 times fewer people." We will cover the best parts of "The Beaten Path" trail and the "Beartooth Plateau High Route." Expect exceptional alpine scenery of seemingly endless granite enrobed lakes on a 10,000' high plateau. About 1/3 of the route in on trail, 1/3 on boot path and 1/3 is off-trail travel. A great adventure awaits. This is a Leader Permission Only Trip.

  • Strenuous/Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 87.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 20,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 12,200 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0

Early morning start on the first day of backpacking.  This trip utilizes two trailheads about 25 miles apart.  It will require a easy car shuttle both before and after the trip.    The travel time to the trailheads from Seattle is 1 1/2 to 2 days of driving each way.  More details will be forthcoming

An entire week of high country wandering in expansive alpine parklands.  We start high and stay high.  The TH starts at 9,500'. There will be open and expansive views almost the entire trip of both the hundred plus lakes as well as the 12,000'+ peaks all around.  We will visit both the southern 3/4 of the famous "The Beaten Path" trail and explore all the best parts of the Beartooth Plateau High Route.  The Beaten Path is a popular hiking trail while the "High Route" is boot path and cross-country travel.  Please visit these two websites to get a representative picture of this amazing place:,vid:F8zMv2ZsR94,st:0

Here is the proposed route:

I designed this trip itinerary using what I call a "Trunk and Options"  plan.  Each day the travel with a full backpack is limit to between 4.5 to 9.5 miles between campsites.  Once at the camp, or on some days, along the way there, are optional excursions to additional interesting sights (peaks, views, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, etc.).  This route plan will allow us flexibility to accommodate the unexpected travel demands of off-trail and high elevation travel, potential afternoon thunderstorms and the different levels of participant interest and energy.  The total "Trunk" distance between camps is 53 miles.  The bonus, exploratory options are about 35 miles more.

This is a Leaders' Permission Only Trip.  This trip is being offered in conjunction with the juxtaposed 8-day, Lamar Valley Backpack Trip in adjacent Yellowstone National Park--See post in Mountaineers Backpacking.  Participants may join one or both trips.  The Lamar Valley trip will be roughly July 21-28.  The exact dates for this trip--Beartooth Mountains  will be dependent on the permit dates that we are able to procure for the earlier Lamar Valley Trip.  There will one or two days of rest between trips in or near Yellowstone NP.  There are no permits needed for the Beartooth Mountains.  Preference for this trip will be given to those also joining the Lamar Valley trip that precedes it.  The trip's exact dates should be set by May 1st.

In requesting Permission for this trip please answer all of the questions/concerns listed below:

1) This is a high elevation trip. Please tell me about your experience hiking about 10,000'.  Have you experience altitude sickness in the past?  Are you willing to acclimatize for this trip, with a first night camping at  or above 5000' and your second night camping above 8000' prior to the start of the trip? These two nights can be easily accommodated on the drive from the Seattle area to the trailhead.  There are multiple campgrounds  in Yellowstone NP and near the TH above 8000'.

2)  This is a strenuous, challenging trip due to length, number of days (7) and high elevation (mostly above 10,000').  Please tell me about you experiences backpacking that would give me reassurance that you can do this sort of trip?  Please list relevant backpack trip, dates, distances and elevation gains.  Participants need to have done at least a four  or five night trip in the past.

3) This trip is seven days.  Do you have capacity in your pack and strength/conditioning to carry seven days of food and all supplies needed for the trip--including required Ursack or Bear-canister, microspikes, trekking poles and water-fording shoes?  Please explain your experience with this load.

4) This trip will include extensive off-trail travel, a lot of creek-fording/water crossings and likely snow-travel.  What is your experience with these types of travel with a backpack?  Are you comfortable with these sort of travel challenges?  Please explain.

5)  It is important for the success of the group that folks are of similar goals, style and compatibility. Preference for this trip will be given to those that I have backpacked with before.  If I have not backpacked with you before, please provide the name of  Mountaineers leader that you have backpacked with as a reference.  List the trips with them.

Please apply for this trip using the "Request Permission" tab on the right sidebar of this post.  Apply ASAP.  I will review all those applying  and notify first those participants that are committed to going on both trips (Lamar Valley and Beartooth Mountains) and meet the requirements for both trips (no later than March 4th).  If there are additional open spots and all waitlist spots,  I will notify/grant permission to those additional folks on or before March 10th.  Please don't register until I give you the go ahead.  Hope you can join me for a very special week.  This is going to be a great summer.  Rob


The Beaten Path/Beartooth Mountains

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or Ursack
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Microspikes
  • Trekking poles
  • Fording shoes
  • Full rain gear
  • Pack cover
Trip Reports