The Beaten Path Trail

HARD 154 reviews
#3 of 50 trails in

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.

Distance: 28.6 miles Elevation Gain: 3,431 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

snow

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.

hiking
1 day ago

I could do this every year and never get tired of it. Calendar Picture Perfect

hiking
4 days ago

Hi, looking to arrange a key swap. We will be heading Cooke to E Rosebud the week of Sept 15 and can adjust dates somewhat to match up. Email scatir@gmail.com. Thanks

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

Loved this trail, so many different views and sites. Every lake had different scenery as well as unique rock formations, mountains and meadows. Did not fish but there was plenty of activity and a ton of places to top off your water bottle. If you are backpacking and use the Sawyer squeeze i highly suggest bringing one of the squeeze bags (have mine setup as a drip system) for on the go drinking and using the drip in camp. Otherwise have fun and happy trails fellow hikers!

backpacking
11 days ago

Key Swap: Looking for a key swap on Friday the 27th. We are planning on doing a 2 or 3 day trip and are willing to go either direction. Please email me if you are interested in arranging something. Thanks! sophiawebb77@yahoo.com

running
13 days ago

Key Swap: Looking for a key swap on October 5th or 6th. We are planning to take one day and are willing to go either way. Email me if interested! annadeleray@gmail.com

backpacking
15 days ago

We spent 5 days and 4 nights going from the Clarks Fork Trailhead to East Rosebud with our 3 children (ages 14,12 and 10). It was absolutely perfect. We did 6 miles the first day, then 4 miles a day for 3 days, then 8 miles the last day. Each section was more beautiful than the one before. Every turn in the trail had a spectacular view. Our kids LOVED it and kept commenting on how cool it was. We saw a handful of people. We felt plenty of space and solitude. The no fire zone from Fossil to Twin was probably our favorite. I fly fished every lake I could and caught fish on every lake I fished. It was amazing! I want to do it again!

hiking
18 days ago

Hello hikers! Looking to do a key swap this Labor Day weekend 8/30-9/2 (Friday-Monday) for the Beaten path. We are doing the east rosebud to cook city route. We have two dogs, five people, and two rigs. Based out of bozeman. (435) 754-9986

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

Hiked the Beaten Path from Cooke City to East Rosebud lake in 3 days. Stayed at Russel lake on night one, and Rainbow lake on night two, both Russell and Rainbow had plenty of campsites that were mostly empty but I hiked it in the middle of the week. Bugs were not bad at all but we talked to people hiking out our first day who said they were unbearable. Not many campsites from Dewey lake to Rainbow lake so be aware if it's getting late in the day. Every part of this hike had amazing views, and a large change of scenery everyday. Bea aware that hiking North to South will present some pretty brutal climbs at Rainbow lake and between Rimrock Lake and Elk Lake.

backpacking
20 days ago

Lost ring of keys with small swiss army knife attached in vicinity of Rainbow Lake. 612 202 8588.

hiking
20 days ago

I'm willing to drive or shuttle The Beaten Path or other areas call Mike 619 869 5920

hiking
20 days ago

Looking to do a kew swap this Wednesday August 28th, planning on doing the hike in one day. We do have 3 dogs so would need a dog friendly vehicle. Willing to go either direction, if interested text or call 712-212-7418.

hiking
21 days ago

Hiked this in one day yesterday- not for the feint at heart! We were pretty shredded by the end. Beautiful views, too many lakes to count! Wildflowers aplenty. Took 14 hours from Cooke City to Rosebud. Mosquitoes weren’t too bad. Would do it again... in 2-3 days... one day meant not as much time taking in the amazing lakes and waterfalls.

hiking
25 days ago

KEY SWAP: Labor Day weekend (Saturday 8/31- Monday 9/2). Coming from Bozeman, automatic transmission, willing to hike either direction. Call or text Gabe at 240-247-7287. Thanks!

hiking
28 days ago

One of the hardest, yet most rewarding things I have done. The most beautiful views in the country are on this trial. There is a new surprise around every corner. The trail is definitely not easy, lots of uneven rocky surfaces. Bugs were not too bad during our hike (aug 10-12). Camping spots were plentiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked from Cooke to East Rosebud 8/7-8/9. Bugs were fine with a few exceptions. A ton of people on the trail through Fossil. Several large groups, opened up after Fossil though. Had some serious storms come through on night 2. Amazing trail and beautiful country.

hiking
1 month ago

Looking for a key swap for Sunday, August 18th. We are running from Cooke City to East Rosebud so hoping to find another headed the other way. E-mail if interested! eflowers89@gmail.com

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

we made it to Fox Lake only took US a couple hours. Did some fishing I got one bite and rocky caught a few. I had to walk out about 24 so just like could get my line deep enough. Great spot with fire ring.

hiking
1 month ago

Looking for a key swap. Hiking 8/30-9/3. Contact stannard.robert@gmail.com if interested.

hiking
bugs
muddy
1 month ago

Picaridin, not 97% DEET will help against moquitoes.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Our group did this trail last week & it was beautiful! The mosquitos were thick from Cooke till we were above the tree line. I highly suggest this trail & plan to do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

Key Swap Hi, looking to do a key swap. Leaving from East Rosebud side and plan to take four days. Can slide the sched bw 18th and 23rd to match up. Please txt Steve at 2077764207. Thx

hiking
1 month ago

Potentially looking for a key swap on August 20th/21st. We plan to hike the trail 20th/21st-24th. Willing to work with you on the time and place of the swap. At the moment, we only have a car with manual transmission, so knowing how to drive manual is a must. If interested please contact stevenrussell192@gmail.com Any help is appreciated!

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite Montana trails which, unfortunately, should be re-named the "Beaten to Death Path." While I'm glad to see so many people getting outside and enjoying this spectacular place, the lack of trail etiquette among some of the tourists is downright upsetting. This is a wilderness area, not a campground where some poor Forest Service employee is going to clean up after you, so pack out your trash! Give other campers some space (there is LOTS of room to spread out) and respect the minimum distance rules for camping near lakes and streams. Those signs are there for a reason. You cannot imagine my dissapointment when, after coming back from a 12 mile day hike, we found six additional tents had been pitched in our campsite, less than 50 feet from our own. These campers were completely oblivious but let me tell you this is NOT how people act in Montana. So enjoy this beautiful place but please have some respect. It is very special to my family and I, not just another destination to put on our social media. If you are scared of bears, mosquitos, or physical exertion then educate yourself and take the proper precautions. Otherwise, just stay home.

hiking
1 month ago

want to go on this hike but I am really weirded out by potential grizzlies that I hear are increasing in the beartooths. I am planning a partial day hike next month with friends who are Flatlanders so they will not be as conditioned as myself. Anyone encounter bears on this trail??? I will be starting at the red lodge end!

hiking
1 month ago

Looking for a key exchange. We hope to hike from Cooke to Rosebud, leaving August 10th, returning to Bozeman August 13th. We could reverse direction. Anyone seeking such an exchange? Thanks, Hal

hiking
1 month ago

Hi Mike, our dates line up with yours for a key swap, can you call me to discuss 612-327-1697. Lonnie

hiking
1 month ago

looking for key swap August 7 through 14th.

hiking
1 month ago

Looking for a key swap for August 16th-18th. Can start either side. Coming from Dillon, MT. Email colleenrosepeterson@ gmail.com

hiking
1 month ago

8/16 update - Still Looking for key/car swap 8/22 on Beaten Path. Prefer starting in East Rosebud but open to Cooke. Thinking rendezvous in Red Lodge to swap; coming from Billings. Shoot me a note...matt4i20 @ yahoo

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