Drive on Beartooth Highway


The highs in Billings on Thursday, August 30th, was forecast for the high 90s (over 35°C). The night before after Mike had read a short piece on the Beartooth Scenic Highway that started climbing into the mountains just past the small town of Red Lodge, reaching an elevation of over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). After a short discussion on what to do for the day we looked at the map and we decided to go for it.  After all what sounds better sitting in the campground at Billings in 90+ heat or going up a mountain to probably 60 degrees!

The highway is also the northeastern route into Yellowstone National Park.

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 taken twenty miles down the road at the Rock Creek Vista Point, where we took several photos.


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


Another composite image. We had certainly climbed (in the truck)  a long ways in a relatively short period of time.


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 stopping at.


Mike tries to take some photos of things that look interesting, composing the image to take advantage of the subject that he is photographing and its background. In this instance the branches of the dead tree were the subject, but it had a really neat background.


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


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



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.



I decided that I just had to climb this small mountain — ok it is a small rubble of rocks — but it’s kind of like a mountain!  LOL  But I did it, almost 55 yrs. and I can still do it 🙂


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



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.  Always a good idea to bring an ice chest with water and lunch — never seems to be a McDonald’s handy when you need one 🙂 Look at the top of the mountain and you will see some snow — most likely it will not melt before more starting fallings in the next month or so.


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


I 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)


the same waterfall but this picture was taken from the road if you look at the top of the water fall this is actually an old bridge that goes across the falls, this is where we hiked in from the road to see the falls up close


Cooke City the end of the line for us before we were turning back and heading back over the mountain to get back to our campground for the day.


as you can see the price of gas is outrageous at these remote mountain towns — thankfully with the auxillary diesel tank that Mike had put in the bed of the pickup we did not have to get gas.


part of the small town that is at the end of the road


One of the high mountain lakes that we saw — this is all from the snow melt and stays frozen for a good part of the year.  We did see some snow high up in the alpine valleys

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1 comment… add one
  • Lisa Sep 2, 2007

    Awesome! You guys are giving me ideas for our next vacation. Great photos of some beautiful places.

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