Our October trip to Yellowstone found us flying into Bozeman's Gallatin Field in Belgrade, Montana. To reach our end destination of West Yellowstone, we took Highway 191, which passes through Gallatin National Forest, Big Sky, and the northern part of Yellowstone National Park.
This scenic route would have to be included into our top 10 list of the most beautiful scenic drives. As we began our journey through The Gallatin Gateway, we were totally unprepared for the beautiful countryside that lay before us.
As we rounded one curve, I looked out the window to my right and there alongside a small stream was some of the most flaming red bushes. Of course the cameras were tightly packed away and unavailable. As we continued along the way, the scenery just got better and better!! The golden aspens against the back drop of the richly, dark colored evergreens, the snow capped mountains jutting up against the deep blue sky, and the wonderful fall colors of gold, orange, bronze, and crimson red glistening along the river banks. The memory is still wonderful today. As we continued along our 90 mile journey, we knew that this was one scenic route we would have to take again... and soon... before the fall colors faded!!! We decided at that point to just enjoy the scenery before us and make the return trip the next day, with us being rested and the cameras ready!!
After a quick breakfast on Sunday morning we headed out to start creating our October vacation memories. One beautiful place was Fawn Pass, which was also the start of a trailhead. The bronze/orange colored scrub grass with the deep blue stream running through it, against a snow capped mountain, was just too perfect to pass up (we discovered on the trip back that the lighting was even better in the afternoon).
We found several places to stop and explore while enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures. Another favorite was around the Hell Roaring trailhead. There we were able to park and walk down to the Gallatin River, where we maneuvered ourselves out to a huge rock in the middle of the river. What a relaxing Sunday afternoon, nestled in the middle of autumn's spectacular colors with the sound of rushing water all around you. We simply sat and enjoyed natures picture perfect view that totally surrounded us. Through our binoculars, from this spot, we watched a climber atop "Lemondrop Mt." as he stood up atop his perch, after a hard climb, and took in his surroundings from the best possible place!!
Highway 191 is one of the most scenic highways in Montana, but it is also one of the most deadly. We saw many, many crosses (over 55) in memory of loved ones who had died along these scenic miles. Also, beware that the speed limit is strictly enforced with park rangers who do give tickets for speeding!! If you have any spare time, take this drive and enjoy some of Montana's best scenery!