The roads in Montana can be beautiful and breathtaking. We have some amazing places in the state, from the prairies, to the mountains. When it comes to "byways" in Montana, there is only one that is considered a "National Scenic Byway" by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The definition of a "byway" is "a road or track not following a main route". The difference between a highway and a byway, is a byway is usually a secondary road that people don't travel as often.

Montana Has Only One "National Scenic Byway"

Montana's only official "National Scenic Byway", is the Beartooth Highway. For a by to be designates as a "scenic byway", it has to have six criteria. It should include "archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic". I was surprised that Montana has only one road that meets all the criteria, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Clearing of the Beartooth Highway is Underway Now

The Beartooth highway is a seasonal highway that depends on the weather whether it is open or not. It normally opens, on the Friday before Memorial Day and is open until Mid-October, depending on the weather. According to, it is currently not open, and crews are working to clear the road for the season.

The Beartooth Highway (Highway 212) crosses the border between Montana and Wyoming and into Yellowstone National Park. Idaho has 6 "Scenic Byways". Wyoming has two, including the Beartooth Highway. North Dakota and South Dakota both have two.

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To me, with the roads around Glacier National Park, roads that go over the Rocky Mountains, along riverbeds and over the plains, it seems like their should be more than just one "Scenic Byway" in Montana. Maybe one day we will get another road with that designation. Until then, enjoy the one we have when it opens for the season, and be safe on those roads.

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