Billings Journals

The Beartooth Byway and northern Yellowstone

A March 2004 trip to Billings by melissa_bel

The Beartooth Highway Photo, Billings, Montana More Photos
Quote: A day trip through the whole length of the Beartooth Byway before it closes for the winter. We also went through the northern part of Yellowstone National Park and visited the famous hot springs, Terraces of Mammoth.

City Bakery

Restaurant

City Bakery Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
I was looking for a bakery the first time we got there, and this tiny place (and the delicious foods) just caught my eye (and my nose). City Bakery is small indeed (no restroom, so you'll have to run at the Pollard Hotel, but it's not far), but the pastries are delicious! There are cookies, Italian specialties (almond- and chocolate-dipped crescents and biscotti for example), macaroons, bread sticks, huge cinnamon rolls, and more! The owner is as sweet as pie and really talkative. She travelled a lot through Europe to learn new recipes and cooking techniques, and if you start talking with her, you might end up staying there for a while. The Tuscan roast coffee is not bad either! On ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 19, 2004

City Bakery
104 South Broadway Avenue
Red Lodge, Montana

Index and Pilot Peak Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Index and Pilot Peak are amongst the most noticeable peaks on the Beartooth Byway. More than 11,000 feet high, they are the remnants of volcanic activity (the northeastern edge of the Absaroka is what's left of high volcanic activity, which is 50 million years old, which is pretty young, while the Beartooth is formed of granite, one of the oldest rocks on Earth).
Because of their uncanny shape, the peaks used to be a geographical bearing spot for the Crow Indians, trappers, etc., and that's where their names come from. The pullout will give you a great view of the peaks, the Ansaroka-Beartooth Wildreness, and the Clarck Fork Valley.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 19, 2004

Index and Pilot Peak
Route 212
Billings, Montana

Soda Butte Creek

Attraction | "Soda Butte Creek"

Soda Butte Creek Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
After the entrance at Silver Gate (coming from Cooke City and the Beartooth Highway), the first sight of Yellowstone is really pretty as the road goes along Soda Butte Creek. With golden hills shining in the sun and water flowers along the banks, it is very peaceful here. There are some picnic tables along the river, and you're welcome to drop by if you are an avid fisherman! Anglers older than 12 years old need a permit (free for those between 12 and 15 years old). There are three kinds of permit: a three-day permit ($15), a seven-day permit ($20), and a season permit ($35). Animals have precedence in the use of fish, and you are, of course, not allowed to use toxic material to fish ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 28, 2004

Soda Butte Creek
Yellowstone National Park
Billings, Montana

Spotting Animals

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Spotting Animals Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
My experience? I wasn't too lucky with the big mammals, but we didn't stay long enough I guess. However, I had the chance to see an animal I had wanted to see in the wild for a long time! Don't get me wrong - I love bears and I would have been thrilled to see one, but having seen one in Alaska, it was not on the top my list. Since moving to Montana, I wanted to see a buffalo and I got one! A lonely, massive bull on a big meadow, he was watching me as I was watching him. It was quite moving. The American Bison or Buffalo, as it commonly named, is one of the symbols of the American West. Indians relied on it for food and clothing, and they were almost exterminated by white set...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 4, 2005

Spotting Animals
All over the park, especially in grassy meadows
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Trail Hiking

Attraction | "Hike a trail"

Trail Hiking Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Yellowstone has many, many trails like this one to get you closer to nature. This boardwalk will also provide you with information about the landscape, geology, fauna, and flora of the area. The boardwalks trails are the shortest and most accessible, but the park is filled with hiking trails more or less difficult.

Check out the National Park Services' site about Yellowstone for more information about day hikes trails at http://www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 4, 2005

Trail Hiking
All over the park
Billings, Montana

Introduction to the Beartooth Highway

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

The Beartooth Highway Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Montana and Wyoming are states where the adjective scenic is an understatement! There are rolling plains to the east, before they come crashing down in the central-west portion into the Rocky Mountains. The part where the plains meet the mountains in Montana is where I live. Montana is BIG. Actually, it is one of the biggest of the states, and there are many beautiful drives around, some amongst the most picturesque in the country. It so happens that one of these drives, called by a CBS correspondent the most beautiful drive in the US, is the Beartooth Scenic Highway. A 69-mile ride starting from the ski-resort town of Red Lodge slowly going up the mountains of the Beartooth Range, culminating at near...Read More
Columbus, MT Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Our trip starts at Columbus, Justin’s and my new hometown. It's a small town of 2,000 inhabitants and the seat of Stillwater County, just off Interstate 90 and one hour away from Billings. It's the "city by the road". It's also the city by the rivers, as it is located at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Stillwater rivers. Just off the Union Pacific Railroad, Columbus grew when its quarry was used to supply stones for the building of the capitol in Helena. The quarry may have closed, but mining is still a big thing. The Stillwater mine is one of the largest employers in the area and has its seat in Columbus. Montana's not the Treasure State for nothing, since platinum and palladium are extrac...Read More
Red Lodge, MT Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Nestled at the foot of the Beartooth Mountain range, Red Lodge is a charming, unpretentious mountain resort town, far from the glitz of its Rocky Mountains sisters of Vail, Colorado Spring,s or even Big Sky. Famous for being "Billings' ski resort" (it's only 60 to 70 miles away), the town is ruled by skiers and snowboarders during the winter. In the summer, Red Lodge is the starting point of the Beartooth Scenic Byway. If you need a coffee or drinks or anything, it's a recommended stop, as you won't find anything (except a few rest stops on the way up on the highway) until Cooke City. From Red Lodge, the road takes us south on US 212 along Rock Creek until you reach the Custer Nat...Read More

Going up . . .

Story/Tip

Beartooth Byway, MT Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
From Creek Valley, the road keeps going up pretty quickly. From 5,200 feet, the road rises to 8,000 feet within 12 miles along the mountain in numerous switchbacks! Stop at Vista Point for a bathroom break and the view! From Alpine (lots of evergreens), the vegetation becomes smaller and scarcer, from trees to grass, bushes, and finally, lichen and moss, with patches of snow that the sun never melts. You finally reach the top and the border with Wyoming, crossing the 45th parallel, halfway between the Pole and the Equator! The first stop after that is the Red Lodge summer ski training camp at 10,700 feet. Should you decide to get out the car and walk to have a better view of the mountain range (l...Read More
Beartooth Byway, MT Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
After driving pretty much on a plateau, quite desolate and filled with glacial lakes, the road starts to go down. The main feature on the other side of the pass is the odd Pilot and Index Peak, a mountain with two peaks that you just cannot miss. At 11,000 feet, those peaks are the remnant of a volcano. The scenic overlook will offer a great view of these spectacular peaks, as well as the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and the Clarck Fork Valley. After the Shoshone National Forest, the road loops back into Montana and finally reaches its first sign of civilization - Cooke City. Cooke City is an old mining town and the end of the highway. Dominated by the towering Soda Butte, this sleepy little...Read More
Yellowstone National Park, WY Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Yellowstone: a name that makes outdoors lovers shiver with delight. It is the oldest and one of the largest parks in the country. Located mainly in Wyoming (with little bits in Montana and Idaho), it's also one of the most popular. Named after the river that crosses it, the first European to see this wonder (a scout from the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1807) had a hard time convincing people about his good faith, with his tales of colourful springs and water shooting from the ground. It was turned into a park in 1872 by an order of President Ulysses S. Grant and was the first national park. Yellowstone is so spectacular because it is so rich in sceneries: swift mountain streams and glacial lake...Read More

Mammoth Hot Springs

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Yellowstone National Park, WY Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
The hot springs terraces are one of the most accessible and incredible features of natural wonder in the park. Close to the park's headquarters, you can see them from afar, as they are a patch of white on a dark hill. A boardwalk trail will take you up, down, and close to the springs. How were they born? Well... as I said earlier, Yellowstone is in fact living under a magma chamber. When ground water seeps down, it comes in contact with carbon dioxide rising from the chamber. Some of the carbon will dissolve in the hot water and form a mild acidic solution. This mix will dissolve the limestone as it slowly makes its way up through the rock layers as a hot spring. When the steams comes up,...Read More