hansjorn.dk . familier . bairds . 2004 . yellowstone . beartooth pass

Beartooth Pass - from Red Lodge to Cooke City in Montana
ref.: mappoint.com
How simple it looked on the maps, that we brought with us - but when zooming in, then it became quite a road. Here are some descriptions of the route, which is called one of the wonders in Montana/Wyoming:

Each of Montana’s mountain ranges is a scenic wonder in itself. The two - lane highway that crosses the Beartooth range, for example, has been called the most beautiful drive in America. This 69 - mile route, on U,S. 212, starts in the little town of Red Lodge and traces a series of steep zigzags, or switchbacks, along the Montana- - Wyoming border to 10,974 - -foot - high Beartooth Pass and beyond.
    From Red Lodge to the first switchback the elevation rises from 5,200 feet to almost 8,000 feet in 12 miles. Along this stretch, a bear or two might be seen scrambling up the steep embankments, Farther on, at Beartooth Pass, travelers can look out over a mountains terrain as large as all of the New England states combined. Then, on the descent, the highway skirts waterfalls and clear lakes. In the distance loom Pilot and Index peaks, whose jagged summits served as reference points for Indians, trappers, and prospectors. The drive ends at Cooke City, a gateway to Yellowstone National Park. (ref.: http://www.montana-state.biz/road.html)

Now - we were warned of switchbacks and zigsags, but having been in the Alps a few times, I didn't think there would be problems. However, I forgot the elevation - 10.974 foot high, thats more than 3.500 meters, and that can give weather problems. Which it actually did. We had thunder and lightning, hailstorms and then a lot of rain and moisture, so we had to stop the car, till the worst was over. Then it took 15 min. just to clear the windows of the car from the inside breathings.

But .. the road was fine, two lanes all the way and some fine yellow double-stripes to separate. The worst problem however was, that there were no signs of the elevation heights and no sign of the pass itsself - so I never knew when we were at the pass - the next curve was an eternal surprise.

We are at the outskirts of Red Lodge enjoying an American Hot Dog at the Red Box Car

The river runs nice and smoothly  - and there are no signs of a dramatic climb up the mountain

Wow for a drive up the mountain - the weather is getting rough, so this was the first stop on top

What's up ahead - there were no signs saying: This is the Beartooth Pass, elevation ?? feet

"Travelling from Dickinson, ND, to Yellowstone National Park, we wanted to enter Yellowstone Park via its northeast gateway. That meant following US Highway 212 (the Beartooth Highway) from Red Lodge to Cooke City - but we didn't realize that we would go over the highest pass in Montana/Wyoming.

    What an experience that was driving up the mountain, since I am a little bit scared of heights! But we got up driving in 25-35 mph without meeting too much traffic.
    On the top, or on a plateau near the top, it started to rain, then to thunder and finally we got a hailstorm for half an hour, so we had to stop the car, since the road got slippery.
    The road down to Cooke City was beautiful, since the sun came out and the descent was not as sharp.
    Altogether this route IS fantastic, even for a driver who has gone through several high passes in the Alps."
This was an entry, that I put into http://www.byways.org/

After hail- and thunderstorm, the sun started shining on the way down to Cooke City

and now we are safe in Cooke City

This is the North-East Entrance to Yellowstone Park

©2004 Hans Andersen - July 12th, 2004