Friday, July 10, 2015

Beartooth Highway

Conestoga Campground
White Sulphur Springs, MT

One of the areas we had on our 'must-see' list
is the drive on the Beartooth Highway.
For us to do this as a day trip meant getting up at daybreak (5:00 am!)
and driving a loop of 427 miles!

The highway is closed during the winter due to massive amounts of snow.
It opened this year on May 29th,
and we were surprised to see 
that there were little patches of snow in places.

The highway runs from Cooke City, MT
to just south of Red Lodge, MT and is 68 miles long.
It was officially opened on June 14, 1936,
and rises to a summit of 10,947 feet!

We drove to Gardiner, MT and stopped for a quick breakfast
at the Yellowstone Mine restaurant.
It was a so-so buffet, but it fit the bill :-)

Just past Gardiner, we drove through the North gate
into Yellowstone National Park.
It's nice to save the $30 entrance fee with George's senior pass :-)
As we drove through the Lamar valley area,
we saw the typical wild animal population..

George learned one lesson..
never beep the horn at Bison in the road :-)
They don't always run away from you, but turn toward the car!

The beautiful wild flowers are abundant..

The scenery is beautiful!

The drive exits the park at Cooke City,
and the highway itself goes through Wyoming and Montana.
As you wind through the pass, the Yellowstone River is crossed several times.

There are lots of places to pull over to get a grand view..

 At some of the larger turnoffs these guys were looking for handouts..

The alpine meadows were filled with different flowers..

..and lots of glacial lakes..

Once we reached the summit,
it felt like we were on top of the world!

 Eventually we got to see the namesake for the highway..

The name for beartooth comes from an old Crow name 'Na Piet Say'.

The last vista before heading down is also impressive.
There's a great walkway out to the point to get the sweeping views.

 You can get a glimpse of the road that we came up from there.

The road going out is way down there..

It was definitely worth getting up early to do this drive,
we highly suggest it!
We didn't get to see any Mountain Goats,
but on the way home we saw this bear out in the field..

He was sniffing at a deer carcass when we drove by,
so we stopped and turned around to get some pics.

All in all it was a fantastic day!


  1. One of my all time favorites. We went the other direction though. Stayed in Red Lodge overnight then drove back to Moran over Beartooth. But you don't look as cold as we were in early September!

  2. Wow, gorgeous scenery! So great to be able to see all that wildlife. Loved your pictures!! :)

  3. So how does George like that new bison hood ornament on the truck? :cD

  4. WOW!!! What a wonderful drive through the neighborhood;o)) Absolutely breathtaking!!!

  5. Very cool and great pics! Maybe George will have to start practicing with a bull whip.)

  6. Nice! I can see why that drive was on the list:)

  7. Boy a fantastic day is right. Your pictures of the drive and in Yellowstone are really beautiful. I'd heard a lot about beartooth highway but we didn't fit it into either of last two trips west but it's definitely on our list now. Thanks for all the pictures.

  8. We had snow falling while driving Beartooth. Wondering if you came across any.

  9. I agree with you, that is a drive worth driving to. I rode my Harley Road King all the way from Ga, by myself in 2006. I hope Judy and I can get over that way when we leave here before we head to AZ. You and George are amassing quite a road journal.

  10. Charles Kuralt hit it pretty close when he called Beartooth "the most beautiful drive in America". I loved your wildflower pictures. Our last time there was the middle of June last year. There was still lots of snow and several skiers on the slopes.

  11. Oh dear, getting up at 5:00 AM!! But it looks like it was worth it. Great shots!