This drive through the alpine on the Beartooth Highway marks the start of our July trip to Yellowstone. We started from Bozeman in the morning since it takes a few hours to take US Route 212 (aka the Beartooth Highway) through Red Lodge, Cooke City, and the Northeast Entrance into Yellowstone park.
The drive is widely accepted as “one of the most beautiful drives” in the world – and the summer wild flowers make it hard to argue with.
The peak is at 10,947 ft – over two miles high – through the Beartooth Pass. It’s a drive that hugs the edge of the road most of the time, right next to dramatically steep cliffs. The do have some guard rails, which is nice. Regardless, you have to pay really close attention while you traverse the switchbacks and series of sharp, zig-zaggy turns.
You won’t be distracted by your smart phone on US 212 near the pass because the cell service is poor – no 4G or LTE service here!
You can see the snow fields in the background, and I believe that there is normally more snow up there in July. It’s been pretty dry in the region so the snow tends to melt away faster.
When we got up to the top, it was wide open and there were rolling hills not peaks. However, there are 20 peaks over 12,000 ft around the drive.
It was reasonably warm at the top and the bright sun feels hot at that elevation. So we walked around for a little while and checked out the views and wild flowers.
This picture was from one of the many pullouts and scenic viewing areas. I remember there were many obese chipmunks that found the high number of tourists friendly. They would come out and beg for food by looking very cute and standing on their hind legs.