Friday, September 11, 2015

Beartooth Highway and Dispersed Camping


We stopped at Lake Ford Road on the Beartooth Highway where there is a meadow/parking area for dispersed camping, free, and stayed for the night. This is only about 9 miles from Red Lodge. We found this through the forest ranger in Red Lodge. The temperatures for this week are supposed to be highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, so we should be okay. A couple of days ago Yellowstone had a low of 28. Curt did some walking around while I caught up with pictures and the blog and went through the many brochures and magazines we got from the visitor center and ranger station in Red Lodge for the Beartooth Highway and Yellowstone National Park. There is another camper here with us, and a couple that hiked in and are staying in a tent overnight. There was a couple driving ATVs when we got here. The bad thing about this area is, no Verizon cell service. We never stay anywhere without phone service, but decided to try it tonight.

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We had no problem going up (or down) the Beartooth Highway. We drove in the morning, which I would advise if you don’t like traffic as there was more traffic as the morning progressed. We’ve driven roads with switchbacks before and you just have to be careful. There are spots to pull over along the way.  The highest stopping point is Beartooth Pass at 10,947 feet. I was surprised it wasn’t cold. We stopped at a dispersed camping area near Pilot Creek Trailhead for the evening. There were a few other campers that night and some cows decided to sleep nearby. The only disadvantage, again, was no Verizon cell service.

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The Beartooth Highway officially opened on June 14, 1936. It is open seasonally from May to October, depending on the snow. It is 68 miles.

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We didn’t realize there were bighorn sheep there until we saw the picture later! This is the International Summer Ski/Snowboard Camp at 10,737 feet. It has slopes of 15-50 degrees and is one of the North America’s old ski training areas, operated by International Ski and Snowboard Camp. It is generally open for skiing by late April and runs into early July with access to 3,000 feet of terrain unless there is insufficient snow.

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We have been in so many national parks and forests in the past 3 years, and still have not seen a bear. We did buy bear spray, just to be on the safe side. Not that I want to come upon one while hiking; on the side of the road while we’re in the jeep would be better!

Click here for more pictures, including maps of the area. 

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