Helen’s and my intentions were to spend a day and a night in Red Lodge, Montana then take a cruise over Beartooth Pass and that all worked out for the most part. Red Lodge is one of our favorite places with plenty to see and much to do. There are great shops, a cool candy store, many good places to eat and drink if you so choose and the 4th of July provides a few bonus attractions. It turns out to be a great place to spend the holiday and Main Street shows the Holiday spirit.
We spent the night at the Rock Creek Lodge which is located right on Rock Creek about six miles south of town. I clicked a photo of the creek from the balcony of our room which makes it pretty cool.
Not to spend a lot of time talking about Red Lodge but more about the purpose of this post. I have been spending time in Red Lodge and traveling Beartooth Pass since back in the 70’s yet I have never traveled the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway in Wyoming. Once over the Beartooth Pass which everyone should do at least once if not once a year we came to the junction of the Beartooth Highway and the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. From the junction it is only 63 miles into one of our favorite places Cody Wyoming so Helen and I decided it was time to check out the Byway. Near the top of the pass you cross into Wyoming, hence the title of this post. Going off the south side of the pass and before you get to the northeast entrance to Yellowstone Park you come to the Scenic Byway. True to most of Wyoming the road is in great shape and it is an easy drive but I have to say the drive is more than just scenic. The first thing we came to is the rock walls that look to be manufactured they are so straight and square.
From the rocks it isn’t too far till you come to a valley with an unbelievable canyon running through it. One can only guess how deep the canyon is as we did not see the bottom from any vantage point even though you can get a great view from a couple of lookouts while on the way up Dead Indian Pass.
A rain shower came on us at the top of the pass and it made the photos look hazy but it didn’t take from the view. It is a pretty steep grade most the way up but it is a good road, the pavement is new and it isn’t a hard trip at all. No where near as long and steep as going up the west side of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming but I’ll save that story for another time. From a lower lookout we first looked west over the highway and north back to the Beartooth Mountains.
From near the top of the pass there is a good view to the southwest and this is big country looking all the way into Yellowstone Park.
Headed down the east side of the pass is a completely different picture. As you come off the mountains and out of the timber it turns into lush green rolling hills. These red bluffs were particularly cool too! This is all great road trip scenery.
As we bottomed out off the pass we came to a road side interpretive center for a little piece of history. Again true to Wyoming they do some great stuff.
From here it is about a twenty minute drive into Cody where there is plenty going on. We hadn’t planned on visiting Cody on this trip but that is okay as we were able to stop at a couple shops that we know to pick up some of our usual goods. One shop right on main street called Wyoming Buffalo Company is where they sell all things made in Wyoming and I got two bottles of my favorite Honey Mustard. We also got a couple gifts for the kids, some fudge and moved on from there. After that we were right on time for dinner at one of our favorite places the Rib & Chop House. Still not too late in the day we headed west out of town and on to the east entrance of Yellowstone Park. We hit the park at the perfect time of day and saw some great wildlife I can pick up on in another post. For now let this story wet your appetite for a road trip and think to plan an adventure over Beartooth Pass and the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. After that enjoy some time in Cody Wyoming. Life is Good!