Bearcreek was named for the many bears that came to the area for berries. The town was founded in 1905-1906 on the wealth of the coal it produced. The post office was established in November of 1905. Built in 1906, the Montana, Wyoming, and Southern Railroads, carried a hundred carloads of coal a day from the valley. By the 1930s and early 1940s coal production had declined, replaced by diesel and gasoline as the primary fuel. On February 27, 1943, a devastating explosion at the Smith Mine, killed 74 men in the first blast. Others died from the exposure to poisonous gas during rescue work. Bearcreek was then left almost a ghost town.
Bearcreek is located in southcentral Montana, east of Red Lodge on Highway 308.