The Beartooth Highway is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Featuring breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, high alpine plateaus, glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife.
Abutting Yellowstone National Park it sits in a 1,000,000 acre (404,686 hc) wilderness. Being one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, it contains 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet (3,657 m) in elevation. Surrounding mountain glaciers are found on the north-facing slope of nearly every mountain peak over 11,500 feet (3,505 m) high. The Road itself is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming and the Northern Rockies at (10,947 feet; 3,336 m) and in Montana at (10,350 feet; 3,154 m).
Breathtakingly beautiful this drive takes your breath away with the vistas and the driving along the curving mountainous roads. This road is not for the faint of heart as the steepness at the edges can be overwhelming for people who do not like heights. This is a road for driving, exploring and for taking your time to see all the sights and paths along the way.
Leaving the cabin at 5:30 AM I travel through Yellowstone National Park for the final time on this trip. Stopping along the way at a pullout I have my breakfast with a fantastic view of a valley below. Turning east at Tower-Roosevelt intersection I head out of the park and enter Lamar Valley, an area teaming with herds of bison. They are throughout the valley, lining the sides of the road causing a welcomed slow drive. At one point there was a traffic jamb with bison just standing in the road for about 45 minutes, these animals are totally use to vehicles. Finally the bison decide to amble off to the side to let people slowly driving past.
Entering Yellowstone at 6AM
Entering Lamar Valley
Bison Traffic Jamb Lamar Valley
Upon finally reaching The Beartooth Highway I was not prepared for what I was to encounter. Seeing photos and hearing stories from friends who had just pasted through does not do this area justice. I can only compare this to an alpine drive in Switzerland, Norway or Sweden.
Take your time enjoy the area, have a picnic, camp, take some hikes, relax in an alpine meadow. A full day or more should be allotted for this 68-mile (109 k) road. Here are just a few photos to wet your appetite.
Continuing on to my stop over for the night I head down 2-lane back road highways 120, 789, 28, and 191 into Rock Springs Wyoming for a nights rest.
Arriving at 6:30PM I grab a small bite to eat and fall into bed at 9:30 enjoying the room at the Best Western Outlaw Inn, a nice, clean older establishment with inside and outside rooms available. Located on Highway 191 just blocks from Interstate 80, the 2-story layout of the inside rooms are enclosed in an atrium structure that houses the pool and meeting rooms. Outside rooms are convenient as you can park right outside your door and do not have to carry your things very far. Inside the office area are a seating area, nice dinning room, and additional private meeting rooms. I recommend this as an overnight stop as it was very clean, quiet and reasonably priced during my visit.
The next morning I got up at 5:30AM packed, loaded the car and then headed over for breakfast in the sit-down dining room. I was expecting the usual buffet type breakfast but was surprised with a restaurant style experience. A small menu is handed out and you can select the breakfast plate you wish. I had the country breakfast with biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, a muffin and a drink of your choice. Served quickly it was tasty, very filling and welcomed nourishment before my long drive home. All in all this establishment is a great stop over I would use again if I am in that area.
Getting home at 7PM I was exhausted from the drive through Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Southern California on Interstates 80 and 15. I was just relieved to miss traffic, as I got closer to home through San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties. Parking the car in the garage I came inside showered quickly and fell into bed sleeping for a good 10 hours of needed rest before getting up and unpacking in the morning while I watched the grandkiddos for the day.