Anyone down for a scenic ride down Beartooth pass in montana. here is some info
One of the Most Breathtaking Drives in the United States.
The Beartooth Scenic Highway is considered one of the most breathtaking byways in the United States. It connects the Montana towns of Cooke City and Red Lodge via US Hwy. 212. Stretching 65 sinuous miles, the Beartooth Scenic Highway winds through the rugged peaks of the Beartooth Mountains, awarding thousands of visitors with stunning views each year.
Although it is unanimously decided that the Beartooth Scenic Highway allows access to an immense amount of natural beauty, the byway elicits many different conflicting opinions. Locals applaud its ability to bring tourists to a town with a dying coal industry. Engineers consider the byway to be an astonishing engineering feat with its steep switchbacks up the canyon walls. Environmentalists protest its contamination of pristine wilderness.
The Beartooth Highway was the brainchild of Dr. J.C.F. Siegfriedt, a local doctor who wanted to lure tourists to the Red Lodge area that was financially suffering from a waning coal industry. To obtain federal aid, Siegfriedt teamed up with O.H.P. Shelley, founder of Carbon County News, and Congressman Scott Leavitt. Together, the men successfully lobbied for the passage of the Park Approach Act in 1931. The act allocated funds to build roads to national parks. The pass was opened in 1936.
The Beartooth Highway begins in the mountain town of Red Lodge, Montana and quickly starts climbing steep switchbacks. After winding 20 miles through 50-60 million year-old mountains, you come to a pullout that provides excellent panoramas of the Beartooth Plateau. From here you can see the Hell Roaring and Silver Run Plateaus to the north. Glacier Lake is also visible, and if you look hard enough, you might even spot a mountain goat or other wildlife. From here, the road keeps ascending and reveals magnificent canyons carved by the Clarks Fork River. Thirty miles from Red Lodge, you reach the summit of the pass at 10,974 feet. Shortly after, you come upon the only service area along the entire highway at the tiny settlement of Top of the World. The descent provides views of thousands of mountain lakes.
Besides breathtaking landscapes, look out for wildflowers and wildlife. Wildflowers grow below treeline in the summers. Indian Paintbrush, monkeyflower, senecio, buttercups, lupine, arrowleaf, balsamroot, beardstounge, and forget-me-nots, are among the wildflowers that carpet the country along the Beartooth Highway. Drive with caution and keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bears, grizzly bears, and moose.
When you decide to drive the Beartooth Scenic Highway, take your time. There are many excellent recreational opportunities along the way. There are numerous hiking trails off the road, including ones that lead to Island Lake and Beartooth Lake. You can take off for a short day-hike or a long multi-day trek. The Beartooth Loop National Recreation Trail is an excellent 15-20 mile hike that goes pass the original site of Camp Sawtooth, formerly an exclusive vacation retreat. Cross-country skiing is also possible in early June and July. The pass is closed to cars in the winter, but is groomed for snowmobiles.