Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 14; US Route 212 on the Beartooth Highway

The morning following visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument I headed west on I-90/US 212 from Hardin.  At Exit 434 I split away from I-90 over the Yellowstone River on US 212 headed towards the Wyoming State Line via the Bear Tooth Highway.


The Beartooth Highway is a 68.7 All-American Road section of US Route 212 from Red Lodge, Montana west to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  The Beartooth Highway highway is notable for climbing over the 10,947 foot Beartooth Pass of the Beartooth Mountains (a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains) located near the Montana/Wyoming State Line.

The Beartooth Highway closely aligns to a path that Civil War General Phillip Sheridan took in 1872 returning to Billings from an inspection tour of Yellowstone National Park.  A roadway was completed over Beartooth Pass in 1936 and became part of US 12 in 1939.

USends.com on US 12 End Points

In 1959 US 12 was rerouted to Missoula and US 312 was commissioned to take over the former routing from Forsyth over Bear Tooth Pass to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone.

USends.com on US 312 End Points

In 1962 the current designation of US 212 was rerouted over Bear Tooth Pass to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone.

USends.com US 212 End Points

As stated above the Beartooth Highway designation of US 212 begins in Red Lodge, specifically at the junction with MT 78.  Red Lodge is the current Carbon County Seat, the community historically has roots in mining.  Coal was discovered near Red Lodge in 1866 followed by Gold deposits in 1870.  It wasn't until 1880 treaty with the Crow Nation that allowed American settlers to move into the Red Lodge area by 1882.  Red Lodge had a peak population of about 6,000 residents by 1915 but the community started to decline with the mines.  When the Beartooth Highway opened in 1936 it revitalized Red Lodge given it had direct access to Yellowstone National Park.  US 212 and Beartooth Highway traverse Red Lodge on Broadway Avenue.



Red Lodge lies at about 5,500 feet above sea level.  The Beartooth Highway/US 212 leaves Red Lodge headed west along Rock Creek which quickly enters a large canyon.


The Beartooth Highway/US 212 ascends four massive switch backs and rises several thousand feet above Rock Creek.  The road grade is surprisingly steady but rockfall was a constant hazard.







The Beartooth Highway/US 212 ascends into an Alpine climate and over the State Line into Park County Wyoming.






Numerous alpine lakes line the Beartooth Highway/US 212 approaching Beartooth Pass.




Despite the somewhat flat surface there is very little obstruction of the surrounding terrain from the 10,947 foot Beartooth Pass.







The Beartooth Highway/US 212 descends from Beartooth Pass to Wyoming State Route 296 where it picks up Lake Creek.




The Beartooth Highway/US 212 continues northwest from WY 296 and enters Park County, Montana.  The Beartooth Highway/US 212 enters the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate before ending at the Northwest Gate of Yellowstone National Park at the Wyoming State Line.  Cooke City and Silver Gate are inhabited year round which means that winter access is made through Yellowstone National Park to US 89 in Gardiner as Beartooth Pass closes seasonally.






Part 15 of this series can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 15; Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Loop Road

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 210 and California State Route 210 on the Foothill Freeway

This past December I was passing through the Los Angeles Area on a weekend I took a detour onto Interstate 210 eastbound on the Foothill Freeway to California State Route 2.  I-210 and CA 210 on the Foothill Freeway essentially serve as the closest thing to a Los Angeles bypass that the L.A. Metro Area has.


I-210/CA 210 on the Foothill Freeway is an approximately 85.31 mile highway which begins at I-5 in the northern outskirts of Los Angeles and travels east to I-10 in Redlands of San Bernardino County.  I-210 exists as the 44.9 mile segment of the Foothill Freeway between I-5 and CA 57 whereas CA 210 makes up the remaining 40.41 miles east to I-10.  I-210 originally utilized CA 57 from Glendora south on the Orange Freeway to I-10.  CA 57 south to I-10 is still FHWA recognized as part of I-210 which likely won't change until California seeks approval to add CA 210 to the Interstate System.



Part 1; the history of I-210 and CA 210

I-210 was approved as a chargeable Interstate during …

California State Route 1; the Cabrillo Highway through Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula

This past January the winter weather was mild and conditions out in the Big Sur region were especially nice.  That being the case I decided on a weekend cruise northbound on California State Route 1 via the Cabrillo Highway from CA 46 near Harmony northward through Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula to CA 156 in Castroville.


CA 1 through the Big Sur region isn't uncharted territory for Gribblenation.  Back in 2017 when the Mud Creek Slide, Paul's Slide and the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge collapse occurred the topic of CA 1 in Big Sur was common on this blog site.  That being the case even though the topic of CA 1 through Big Sur has been covered extensively I never really examined much of the history of the highway in the Monterey Peninsula.  Aside from the fact that I wanted to feature CA 1 through the Monterey Peninusla I'm always game for a top level scenic highway.  To that end the photos that I took on this most recent trip to CA 1 far exceed what I was taking in 2017 and …

Locans, California ghost town site

This February I stopped at the site of the abandoned railroad siding known as Locans in eastern Fresno County.


Locans was a railroad sidings of the Southern Pacific Railroad spur line known as the Stockton & Tulare Railroad.  Locans was located on what is now Temperance Avenue just south of Bulter Avenue.  The Stockton & Tulare Railroad was completed in 1887 but it doesn't appear that Locans was one of the original sidings.  Locans doesn't appear on the 1889 George F. Cram Railroad map of California but nearby Butler does.


The first reference to Locans I can find is on the 1891 Thompson Atlas of Fresno County.  A large parcel of land next to the Stockton & Tulare Railroad can be seen east of of Butler owned by F. Locan.  Locan's land holdings surround a small siding known as Minneola which was about a half mile east of where the site of Locans would eventually be plotted.


Locan's property appears again on the Stockton & Tulare Railroad between Butler an…