Montana is a gorgeous slice of America that exhausts superlatives when people try to describe it and its many excellent motorcycle roads. “Magnificent,” “grand,” “breathtaking” are the most common terms used to describe its scenery, while “hairy,” “exhilarating and “technical” are the labels most often slapped on Montana’s routes. One thing is for sure, riders will probably never get bored on any of Montana’s famous motorcycle routes.
Riders love the Beartooth Highway, which cuts a mean path through the states of Wyoming and Montana. This road equally delights and frightens its many motorcycle admirers as it whips them through numerous hairpin curves, nasty switchbacks, and steep grades with very few guardrails. This road seems to go by a host of names, including Beartooth All-American Road, Beartooth Pass, and as US-212, but no matter what you call it, riders across the country will most likely know what route you are talking about.
The Beartooth Highway covers a total of 68 miles between Red Lodge, Montana and Silver Gate, Montana, with 54 of those miles falling under the All American Road designation. At its highest point it reaches 10,947 feet, which makes it the highest elevation highway in Wyoming and Montana. In addition, it overlooks some of the most breathtaking landscapes in America. “On The Road” television personality Charles Kuralt, once described this road as the “most beautiful drive in America.”
Another road that tops many a rider’s Best Ride list is Going-to-the-Sun Road. With a name like this, how could a motorcyclist resist attempting this wild and exciting 52-mile ride that cuts from east to west through gorgeous Glacier National Park? Going-to-the-Sun features a ton of twisties and some steep elevation changes. The scenery is magnificent on this road, with waterfalls everywhere, including one at a spot known as the weeping wall, where water may either be trickling or gushing directly onto the roadway.
Riders looking for a nice cruise where they can actually look at the scenery without fear of disappearing off the side of a mountain will enjoy US-89, which cuts through the pretty Absaroka Mountains and Paradise Valley. This route begins in Gardiner, just outside of Yellowstone, and ends in Livingston. Wildlife is abundant in this area and riders may be able to spy pronghorn antelope, deer or even a bear. The southern half of this route features some nice sweepers.
Another nice ride for riders interested in sweepers and scenery is MT Route 141. This road runs from the town of Avon, which is located about 30 minutes west of Helena, to a T-intersection with MT Route 200. MT Route 141 offers riders a pleasant rolling ride through pretty Montana farmland.
A word of warning for anyone riding Montana’s roadways: Always be prepared. That means having enough gas in the tank -- as services may be far apart -- and warm clothes for this state’s often unexpected temperature drops, especially at the higher elevations. It is not unusual for some mountainous areas to get snow even in the summer months.
The Montana area hosts many motorcycle rallies, shows and events, especially in the weeks prior to the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota. One of this area’s best known is The Beartooth Rally and Iron Horse Rodeo, which is a three-day event held in Red Lodge in July. The Beartooth Rally includes a poker run and a golf tournament, while the Iron Horse Rodeo features some very interesting and unusual motorcycle contests.
Another popular event is Evel Knievel Days, which is held in the city of Butte. This event is held in honor of one of this city’s most famous citizens and is typically held in July. Evel Knievel Days features live music, stunts, a poker run and a car and bike show.
Disclaimer: All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here. Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.
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