The Beartooth Highway is one of America’s premier scenic drives, and also one of her highest—crossing the Beartooth Pass at 10,947 feet. It climbs, winds and descends for 68 miles between the Northeast Gate of Yellowstone and Red Lodge, Montana.
It was 2011. My family had just spent the last week camping and exploring through the Tetons and Yellowstone. Since my husband didn’t want to tow our popup camper over the Beartooth out of Yellowstone while heading home, we found another way to see at least part of it.
We drove east over to Cody, then north to Red Lodge where we had overnight reservations at the local KOA. Since our three kids and nephew had been in the car all day, I didn’t have the heart to rush them back in too soon (I think I was the only one bursting with excitement at the thought of another couple hours in the car!)
So we didn’t have time to drive the entire way and back that evening, but we made it over the Pass and got to see some of the spectacular views.
That winter the northern Rockies had gotten 200% of their usual annual snowfall. This early July evening there were still many feet of snow at the Pass. In fact the road had only been opened 3 weeks before.
At one spot the boys all trooped down into a snowy patch for a snowball fight. They did fine staying on top of the snow at first, but as they moved along they started sinking in almost to their hips! We all had a good laugh at them struggling back to solid ground.
(As you can see they were in either shorts or flip-flops or both!)
We (or at least I!) would’ve loved to have had the whole day to explore this gorgeous drive. Someday we’ll go back and take our time—enjoying the views, going on a hike or two, bringing a picnic lunch.
Definitely worth even a couple hours of your time when you’re out in that part of the country.
Other Rocky Mountain destinations:
(PHOTOS: All photos from our family trip in 2011)