The Beaten Path Trail is a 28.6 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Cooke City, Montana that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length28.6 miElevation gain3,431 ftRoute typePoint to point
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingFishingHikingHorseback ridingNature tripsForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeBugsMuddySnow
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Twenty-five miles of spectacular backpacking in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness of Montana, USA. "The Beaten Path" is a 25 mile trail traversing some of the most spectacular country within the 944,000 acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Lakes and streams appear around just about every corner enticing both those appreciative of a spectacular Wilderness view or one with a penchant for hooking a trout upon the end of their fly-line. The trail itself is aptly-titled "The Beaten Path" for it is literally a well-worn treadway stretching from Cooke City in the South to East Rosebud in the North. Signage is ample and the route is easy-to-follow during the summer season (July - early September). For the more adventurous, ample opportunities to leave the trail and find true Wilderness lie up every draw you see. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and spans 944,000 acres of Montana and Wyoming. The two access points to "The Beaten Path" are at East Rosebud Trailhead (about 15 miles from Roscoe, Montana) and the Clark Fork Trailhead (a couple miles East of Cooke City, Montana). You'll find primitive car camping options at both ends of the trail so arriving in the evening and car camping before an early departure into the backcountry is an option. The trail rises in elevation to a high point and then descends so hiking North from Cooke City or South from Ease Rosebud are both options. Viewing the elevation profile will provide you a better understanding and will help you decide which direction is best for you. The trail is approximately 25 miles long and passes through a number of ecosystems. Although it has been hiked in a single day many times the beauty of the scenery and possibility for off-trail exploration may cause you to opt to spend a few days along the path. Consider shorter days and spend the extra time fishing or bagging a peak.

Considerations should be made when planning your hike regarding a few points. The trail passes through high elevation alpine terrain which holds snow into the month of July which can make the terrain difficult to pass for some hikers. The elevation will also cause people from lower elevations to be out of breath. If either of these considerations concern you be certain to plan your itinerary accordingly. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is located in grizzly bear country and special planning must be undertaken to avoid conflicts with bears and well as to provide safety to yourself and the wildlife.

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Reviews (246)
Photos (732)
Recordings (44)
Completed (357)
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Henry Hastig
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021

Started on Cooke City side on a Wednesday in mid-July 2020. Spent nights at Russell, Dewey, and Rainbow lakes. Fishing was great on every lake, a mosquito or elk hair Caddis on a Tenkara rod worked very well for me. Very crowded at Rainbow lake on a Friday night. Great hike.

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Larry Poush
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 1, 2020
Backpacking

love the hike most beautiful lake views in the area did it the hard way uphill to Cook City would really like to try it other direction Labor day weekend didn't get started til 4 pm but finished 8am Monday

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Susie Dueck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Hiked this Labor Day weekend, Sunday Monday. Amazing trail, beautiful at every turn!

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William VanMeter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2020
Hiking
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Isabelle Holmstrom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2020
Hiking

Looking for a key swap 9/18-9/21. Starting at East rosebud. Or looking for people who would like to share the Red Lodge shuttle from Cooke city to East rosebud on 9/21 Text Isabelle at 262-344-6281

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Hardy Kleinsasser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

looking for key sway 9/11 - 9/15, starting from the east rosebud side. 4067700680

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Katie Seacat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Looking for a ride to the trail head in Cooke city tomorrow morning.. sept 6th. Text me if you are running and have room in your car! 307-690-0483

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James Kennedy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Trail was beautiful throughout, took 3 days though could have spent 1 more just enjoying the scenery. Second night at ouzel lake was stunning.

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Pete Votruba
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Looking for a key swap! Starting 9/18 and ending 9/20. Hoping to start from East Rosebud but we are flexible. Thanks! 4402895727

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Gioia Bartalo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2020
Backpacking

Key Swap?! Sept 11-Sept 13. Starting in Cooke City. 813-777-1968

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Hannah Bessette
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2020

Looking for a key swap! Sep 16-18. Text 5038917837, Hannah

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Kendra Clarkson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Hiked this last week and found the trail in great condition and busy, as expected. Lots of friendly day hikers, through hikers, and trail runners meant very little wildlife, but it was packed with beautiful scenery.

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Kaylee Vandjelovic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

We took three days but could have easily spent an entire week exploring the area and all the side lakes! Beautiful views the entire time, and while the trail is busy it is also spread out enough that we were able to find quiet camping spots by ourselves each night. Can definitely see why this route is so popular!!

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Brooke Inman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
Hiking

Looking for a key swap. Fri, Sep 11-Mon, Sept 14. Will be with my old dad and a 15mo old, so we are hoping to leave from the Cooke City side. Send me a text 619.955.2586

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Stefani Bendición
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2020

key swap 8/28/2020 to 8/30/2020. Willing to start at either end. text Stefani at 630-743-9592, Chicago number.....

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Gary Tabor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2020

Looking for key swap weekend Aug 28 31. Gary at largelandscapes dot org

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L J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
HikingGreat!

Absolutely beautiful hike with stunning views through out. The bugs were out so don't forget spray. We did a shuttle through Mike. It worked out great

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Kathy Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
Hiking

Looking for a key swap Labor Day weekend 9/4-9/6. Email me at amandachmt@gmail.com Thanks! :))

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Johnny McConville
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
Hiking

who likes key swaps I LIKE KEY SWAPS looking for a key swap 8/28-8/31

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catherine Luther
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2020
Hiking

Looking to do a keyswap 9/3-9/6. text or email catrluther@gmail.com 8036464467

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Bradley Post
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 18, 2020
Hiking

Looking for a key swap for this Friday 8/21-8/23 or 8/24. I know it's a little last minute but I had one that fell through. Hoping to start on the East Rosebud side. Text, call or email. Bradley 2692675664 Contact@braeleypost.com

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Mike Steber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2020
HikingGreat!

Willing to do shuttles for The Beaten Path or surrounding area.Mike (619) 869 -5920

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Rushad R. Nanavatty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

Looking for key swap Aug 23-28/29. We're starting at East Rosebud. Coming from and returning to Bozeman. Please text 202 492 2387 or email nanavatty@gmail.com

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Mark Thomas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking

Loved it!!!

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Cole Deweese
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Backpacking

Looking for a key swap. 8/22-8/25 or 8/26 Toyota Highlander - Willing to hike either direction! Contact me if interested! :) 6513385973. Cole.deweese18@gmail.com

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Esther Letsche
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Hiking
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Shannon Steele
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Hiking

Looking for a key swap for hiking dates: 08/14 - 08/16. Willing to start either direction. email: shannsteele@gmail.com or text (605)490-1856

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Maria Bosch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020

Looking for a key swap! We are hoping to hike from rosebud to cooke city 8/16- 8/18. Text/call Maria at 616-822-1194 if interested--we will be in the back country until the 13th so may not answer right away.

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Danalita Brokaw
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
Hiking

Looking for a key swap. Hiking 8/21-8/24 from Cooke City. Live in BZN, 716-208-5233

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melissa salmon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020

Looking for a key swap. We will be starting at Clark's Fork Trailhead Friday August 14th,finishing up at East Rosebud Sunday Augst 16th. Let me know if you are interested in swapping! Melissaksalmon@gmail.com Thanks!

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