Travel Journal – Beartooth Highway in Wyoming and Montana – August 30, 2007

Note: This “lost” Haw Creek Out ‘n About post was recovered from the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.

The highs in Billings on Thursday, August 30th, was forecast for the high 90s (over 35°C). The night before I had read a short piece on the Beartooth Scenic Highway that started climbing into the mountains just past Red Lodge, reaching an elevation of over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). After showing the route to Karen on a map, we decided to go for it.

The highway is also the northeastern route into Yellowstone National Park.  It was a really neat drive.  However, I would not recommend it for those who nervous on high, winding, mountain roads.  I also would not recommend taking a recreational vehicle of any size over it.  For everyone else, this is a truly wonderful drive — in good weather.  The road is closed during the winter, but is subject to snow even in the summer.

It was 60 miles from the campground to Red Lodge. It looks like an interesting little town, but we decided not to stop on our way up into the mountains. Our first photos were about taken twenty miles down the road at the Rock Creek Vista Point.

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This is a composite image of several photos showing the walkway out to the vista point.

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Another composite image. The road had certainly taken us up a long ways in a relatively short period of time.

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A stone mason and his apprentice/helper (?) were out on the walkway working on the walls. I don’t know if the overlook is new or being refurbished, but it is certainly in good shape and a spot worth visiting.

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I try to take some photos of things that look interesting, composing the image to take advantage of the subject that I am photographing and its background. In this instance the branches of the dead tree were the subject, but it had a spectacular background.

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Another view of the mountains near the vista point, including part of the highway.

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Another composite image. The lake in this picture is probably frozen over most of the year.

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The high country alpine tundra vegetation is changing color already. These stunted plants are probably many years old and have a very short growing season.

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At one of the highest points along the road, Karen started climbing up a jumble of rocks — my shoes didn’t have good enough tread for it.

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At this point, we are nearing the highest point on the Beartooth Highway. Another composite image.

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Highest point where we actually saw a sign.

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We didn’t find a picnic table when we decided it was time for lunch. We did find a nice handy tree trunk next to a very pretty lake.

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This is one of my favorite views from along this road. We’re back down below the tree line into a very pretty forest.

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Karen spotted this waterfall as we were driving by on the road. It was a short hike back to where we could get a really great view. (composite image)

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Cooke City, Montana – the entrance to Yellowstone is at the far side of town — and that’s where the road construction began. We didn’t go into the park on this trip. We will be spending some time there later this month.

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The sign speaks for itself. Fortunately, I’ve got an auxiliary tank on my truck and did not have to purchase fuel.

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The trees on the hill above the trading post are testament to the fires of 1988 that burned through much of Yellowstone, as well as many areas outside the park.

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One last image from our drive, taken on our way back across the highway, headed back to Billings.

The drive from our campground to Cooke City was 125 miles. We’ll probably do it again someday, but we’ll be staying someplace closer — because it was also 125 miles back to Billings.

Note: This “lost” Haw Creek Out ‘n About post was recovered from the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.

hiking, Montana, parks, photography, places, plants, travel, travel journal, Wyoming
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