Exploring Montana (and Wyoming) on the Beartooth Highway

You would think by this stage in my life, I would have seen everything there was to see in Montana…right? Alas, that is not the case. Believe it or not, this messy haired girl has a list of things to see and do in Big Sky Country.

For example, for the last five years I’ve been jonesing to drive the Beartooth Highway. (For those unfamiliar with the road, the Beartooth Highway is shared between Wyoming and Montana and is a National Scenic Highway All-American Road).

And this weekend, the opportunity to hit that beautiful drive was present. So hit it we did.

My current list of things to see and do in Montana. I'm happy to say ONE is checked off!

My current list of things to see and do in Montana. I’m happy to say ONE is checked off!

Me, and two of my best travel buddies, loaded up our rig in Missoula and made a beeline for the Beartooth Highway. As we wanted to drive the entire length of the road, we started our journey in Gardiner, one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

A cowboy giving us a proper send-off in Gardiner.

A cowboy giving us a proper send-off in Gardiner.

Entering Yellowstone--the nation's first national park.

Entering Yellowstone–the nation’s first national park.

A lone bison at Mammoth Hot Springs.

A lone bison at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Taking in the scenery in Yellowstone National Park.

Taking in the scenery in Yellowstone National Park.

En route to our destination: Cooke City.

En route to our destination: Cooke City.

Hello, bison.

Hello, bison.

A quick stop in Cooke City. Random tidbit: the year-round population (according to my new pal at the gas station) is 89.

A quick stop in Cooke City. Random tidbit: the year-round population (according to my new pal at the gas station) is 89.

A little "take your breath" away view at one of the peaks on the Bear Tooth Highway.

A little “take your breath” away view at one of the peaks on the Beartooth Highway.

The full monty view.

The full monty view.

One word: stunning.

One word: stunning.

A triplet selfie in the snow.

A triplet selfie in the snow.

This view took my breath away.

This view took my breath away.

Skiers can find year-round powder stashes in the Beartooth Mountains.

Skiers can find year-round powder stashes in the Beartooth Mountains.

Goodbye, Wyoming.

Goodbye, Wyoming.

Hello, Big Sky Country!

Hello, Big Sky Country!

A view from the Montana side of the road.

A view from the Montana side of the road.

And another view.

And another view.

Looking into a high mountain valley.

Looking into a high mountain valley.

Greeting us at the end of our journey: a perfect rainbow.

Greeting us at the end of our journey: a perfect rainbow.

What else greeted us? The adorable town of Red Lodge.

What else greeted us? The adorable town of Red Lodge.

And the drive? It was perfection.

What’s on your list of things to do this summer?

xo,
TT

7 thoughts on “Exploring Montana (and Wyoming) on the Beartooth Highway

  1. julie christie

    Cant wait to ride the beartooth highway in september, we are going to stay in Red lodge for a week, hope to do a lot of sight seeing in the area. I am from florida and this will be my second trip to Montana…..Love it

    Reply
    1. tiatroy Post author

      Julie, September is the perfect time to visit! Also, be sure to grab dinner at the Carbon County Steakhouse one night while you’re there. It’s delicious!

      Reply
  2. jp troy

    Your great grandfather Dan spent his last yrs in Livingston, the county seat of park county.

    His last ‘patented’ claims were filed there at about his age 77, altho he lived to be either 991/2 or 100 1/2

    He did quite a bit of prospecting after that, the claims were not perfected or ‘proven up’

    There’s a super rich mineral belt in that area—swc has two portals on only platimum mine in u.s. Pal/pdl has the other significant platimum group metals mine in n America–near thunder bay, ont, founded by pat Sheridan—i’ll tell ya’ about him sometime.

    Dan and his two compadres were hot on scent of what they thought was the discovery of a lifetime. Deep into what is now the Beartooth Primitive Area. They would hide the entrance when they left the hi country for the winter. It was late in the fall when–with the stroke of a pick—a large slab fell off and one partner exclaimed ” My God, boys–we’ve struck it rich!” (I’ve actually got a sample of this ore in my boy scout rock collection)

    And promptly keeled over dead from a heart attack. The operation was shut down for the winter, the two sad old partners packed the third one out.

    The next spring, Dan left Cooke City to visit his daughters, he was getting antsy waiting for the heavy snowpack to melt in the hi mtns, so him and his pard he’d been batching in a cabin with could head back in. While he was gone, a flash flood hit cooke city and his partner drowned. Grandpa Dan told me this story when I was young and he was old. He did go back in the mtns once more, he hired a guy named shorty lyons to take him in. I visited with shorty when he was really old, found him in a rest home.

    Last time I was over the beartooth, your uncle Tom and myself packed back into the area Grandpa told me about, we went in from cooke and came out via the Silvertip Ranch, private land with primitive area one side, Yellowstone park the other, founded and built by one of Teddy Roosevelt’s buddys.

    Reply
  3. Shirley C

    My husband and I and our friends rode the Bear tooth on our motorcycles June 2007. It has left a lasting impression on us, so much so, that when my husband and I pass we want our ashes strewn somewhere along Bear Tooth Highway in the mountains. It was a defining moment for us and has since been our favorite place ever. We will be back again this July, only in our Corvette this time. Our motorcycles days are over 🙁

    As a note, while in Red Lodge DO go to the City Bakery if it is still there. OMG!!! We were told this by a fellow in Cody WY the day before we left to ride the Bear Tooth so we got up early left the next morning and sure enough…when you ride into town you could smell the bakery. Awesomeness!

    Reply
  4. Scott W

    Grew up in Billings, been on this road multiple times. Thanks so much for sharing the journey!!!! It’s been a long time since I have been back there.

    I love Gardiner, Cooke City, Yellowstone Park, and if I could live anywhere in the world I might just choose Red Lodge, MT. I think the best Pizza place in the universe is Bogart’s in Red Lodge!

    Reply
    1. tiatroy Post author

      My pleasure, Scott! That part of the state is truly stunning. Didn’t try the pizza, but LOVED the salsa at Bogart’s!

      Reply
  5. STW

    FYI – The Red Lodge to Cooke City trip is more scenic because many of the best views are in front of you rather than behind you as you drive.

    Reply

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