We have continued to have an adventure nearly every week this summer! We have been pushing hard to get out there and it has been wonderful! A couple of weeks ago we went to early service on Sunday morning and decided to drive the Beartooth Mountain Pass after we got home. A couple of the teens had to work and the younger kids didn’t want to sit in the car all day so we ended up just taking our 19 year old and 13 year old. (Grandparents watched the rest of the kids.) Since there were only 4 of us we were able to drive my husband’s new VW Golf. He was so excited since it gets wonderful gas mileage. We left at 11:30 am and returned at 8:30 pm.
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway
Beartooth Highway runs through the Beartooth Mountains and goes into Yellowstone Park. One part of it is known as the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and it runs between Cody, Wyoming and Cooke City, Montana. It is an absolutely beautiful drive with breathtaking landscapes, wildlife, and sometimes treacherous roads. There are lots of switchbacks and the road takes you up to an height of around 11,000 feet.
We started our drive up through Red Lodge and our first stop was at the rest stop overlook. There is a wonderfully maintained pathway out to the edge where you can look down on Rock Creek with a beautiful view. There are a ton of chipmunks that are very used to people here. They were climbing on us hoping we had something to feed them.
Our next stop was the gate to Beartooth Pass. There is a gorgeous field of wildflowers and rock. Standing here you feel like you are on top of the world or filming, “The Hills Are Alive” from The Sound of Music.
We drove through the snow pack which is still very high considering it was July! It is a very popular trip for most people in our area. I would guess it was around 15 feet high still. I can’t even imagine the hard work it is each year to plow this road!
Beartooth Mountain Summit
Next we stopped at the Beartooth Mountain Summit. Usually you can drive up to the summit but this year the road was still covered in snow so we had walk through the snow to get there. It is covered in big rocks and little wildflowers.
A little further down the road we stopped at Island Lake. The mosquitoes were fierce once they found us but it was a lovely stop with the lake, pine trees and a rushing stream feeding the lake. I hope to go back after the mosquitoes die down. I could sit there for hours breathing in the fresh mountain air and listening to the sound of the rushing water.
After this we found a great little tourist stop called Top of the World. It had some great merchandise and bathrooms! We got a couple of cute stickers.
One of my favorite stops was next, there is an amazing waterfall! it is a huge, rushing waterfall! The power of that water moving just takes my breath away every time I see it.
We made it to Cooke City right in time for dinner. We stopped at the Beartooth Cafe while it was still serving the lunch menu. They had delicious sandwiches and burgers. We also stopped in at the Trading Post. They had a ton of great stickers and some fun souvenir t shirts on sale. They also had a taxidermy display for customers which was pretty amazing (although it was a rather violent scene).
Clark’s Fork Canyon
Our final stop was at the Clark’s Fork Canyon Gorge in Sunlight Basin on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway as we were leaving the Beartooth Mountains. My husband and girls had some fun bouldering while I stayed and watched from the top.
I heard some one say that God reveals himself in two ways: through his Word and through his Creation. Spending Sunday in the mountains appreciating his creation was a wonderful way for us to worship and renew our spirits for another week ahead. We highly recommend you spend a day driving through the Beartooth Mountain pass.