scenic driving
9 months ago

If you're into scenic vistas this will rank among one your favorite scenic drives. If you're in or near Cody and are wanting to access Yellowstone in the summer months via a more circuitous/less-travelled route, the Chief Joseph Highway will dump you out on an equally scenic US 212. Turning left (West) at the junction will lead you to Cooke City, MT and Yellowstone's Silver Gate, which will lead you to scenic Lamar Valley and eventually to Roosevelt/Tower Junction. Turning right (East) will lead up over the Beartooth Mountains (Montana's tallest range) and into Red Lodge, MT.

We drove the Beartooth Hwy first to Rock Creek Vista Point and then turned around. They were skiing on top of the Beartooth Hwy in late June. We saw Bear’s Tooth Peak and Granite Mountain, which at 12,799 ft., is the highest mountain in Montana. We missed the Clay Butte Lookout road due to closure and repairs, a 2 mi. spur with close-ups of Granite Peak and Pilot Index Overlook. We next retraced our steps to the Chief Joseph Hwy toward Cody, called the Sunlight Basin Road and full of little canyons and creeks. This snow-less highway had beautiful sights, a huge canyon with great views all around, including rock formations like natural fort walls. We crossed the gorge and river and ascended the other side of the canyon via switchbacks. Some bikers rode with us to the top of the hill; we left them and went down the other side with badlands off in the distance, Heart Mt. and red rock layers mixed with white rock layers, mixed with green grassy plains and blue sky made a nice mix. These were the wide-open spaces of Wyoming, as the downhill road to Cody was full of treeless grassy hills with grazing cattle. A beautiful drive not to miss!