RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph Scenic Highway

Dec 07, 2012 View Comments by

This month’s featured Bucket List Road is a combination of several roads located in southern Montana and northern Wyoming. Beginning in Red Lodge, MT, the route follows U.S. 212 over Beartooth Pass and then connects with Wyoming’s SR-296 (aka the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway). A great lunch stop (the Irma Hotel Restaurant & Saloon—featured in our December newsletter) can be found in Cody, WY, where a less intensive series of roads lead back to Red Lodge.

Time and Distance: The technical demands and scenic splendor of this 180-mile loop make for a full day, or even two days, of riding.

Scenery: The expansive vistas, from the pullouts along the switchbacks that climb to over 10,000 feet, are some of the most spectacular views in the western U.S.

Curves: Many hairpins, especially on the mountain passes.

Technical Difficulty: The combination of tight curves, sheer drop-offs, and rapidly changing weather make this route one for experienced riders with appropriate riding gear. Because Beartooth Pass is closed in the colder months of the year, check to make sure it will be open when you plan to go.

Websites:
Beartooth Highway: www.beartoothhighway.com
Chief Joseph Scenic Highway: www.byways.org/explore/byways/2168

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