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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

Award-Winning Map of Absaroka Beartooth Trails

Updated: May 3, 2022

Are you planning to hike on trails in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness?

Global Positions, LLC, a Montana-based mapping firm, is selling their award-winning map called the TerraTopo. The map is printed on waterproof material and folds nicely into a small size. Spectacular backpacking in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness of Montana, USA.

The TerraTopo map won first place at the Inner Mountain Geographic Information Conference, held in Billings, Montana. The winner of the most prestigious design award – the Best Design Award – was the Bozeman-based mapping firm owned by Jere Folgert. Folgert developed a new way to represent the topography and trails keeping faithfully the proportions of all map features.

One of the trails highlighted on this map is the Beaten Path. Head out on this 26.0-mile point-to-point trail near Cooke City, Montana. This can be a challenging route, and having the best map is important for your travels. The hike takes an average of 3 days to complete, though some runners can complete the route in one day. True wilderness explorers take 4 or more days to truly savor the route and the beauty. This is a popular region for backpacking, camping, and fishing, so you'll likely encounter other hikers while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are July through September.

The Beaten Path

The Beaten Path is one Montana’s premier backpacking trails and winds through the rugged 943,648-acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The trail brings you to over 20 clear-water lakes. While the hike is literally called the Beaten Path, you will find that the wilderness is large enough to make it feel less traveled. If you plan your adventure carefully, you could easily spend a week or more hiking and exploring this area - with possible side trips to peaks and high alpine lakes just off the official 26-mile trail.

Physical Difficulty

Based on our experience and interviews with other hikers, we would rate the Physical Difficulty as Moderate (from the Cooke City side). Hiking from Cooke City side means you'll have about 1,800 feet less elevation gain, as compared to beginning at East Rosebud. Once on the plateau, the elevation is mostly flat / moderately downhill. The Path is well-graded and well maintained. There is Plenty of water and camping along the trail, and bring your water filter with you. No permits are required for this hike, though check with the local USDA Forest Service for any restrictions or wildfire information. The Average Elevation is 8510 feet. The Total Elevation Gains is just about 3200 feet.

Hike Smart

Be sure to carry a printed map with you. Do not count on having cell service or GPS in the wilderness. Tell someone where you plan to hike, when you'll be back, what route you're taking, where your car is parked, the license plate number of your vehicle, and what you'll be wearing. This information helps responders in the event of an emergency. In the backcountry, little mistakes can quickly become big emergencies. Stay safe and be prepared. Do not let members of your group get ahead or behind. Separated parties count for more than 75% of search and rescue incidents. Call the Forest Service, ranger station, or check the website for trail and weather conditions before you go. Familiarize yourself with hazards so you will have fun and stay safe.

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