Montana Beartooth Highway question

Discussion in 'Travel' started by christal|1, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. Has anyone by chance driven on the Beartooth Highway on the NE side of Yellowstone National Park? And has anyone also happened to have been traveling by RV? We're wondering if it's wise or safe to travel on that road pulling our 30 foot travel trailer. Also, does it just freak you out to drive it? I'm a bit terrified of mountain roads (switchbacks), but mostly only if there aren't guard rails. Can someone describe the experience for me? I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
  2. I would not do it towing that long a trailer. It is pretty narrow with sharp hairpins near the top on both sides. Lower down on the north side, it's not too bad. I didn't drive it last year, but the last few times I've been over it (almost every year) there has also been a fair amount of construction with longish stretches of pretty bad road.
    It is astonishingly beautiful, however, park the trailer at a campground and spend the day, it is well worth it.
  3. Christal-I haven't traveled on that particular route. I think the best source of information might be, there is a travel forum covering travel in the U.S. and there were a number of "hits" when I entered Beartooth Highway. When we've been in Yellowstone we stayed at the Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone. As far as the highway-assuming that your tow vehicle is adequate for pulling and braking for the mountain roads and there are no posted restrictions on trailer length ( such as the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier NP) I don't think that the 30' trailer length is an issue. As someone who has combined his photography interests with RV'ing for over 40 years. I would be happy to share our experience if you would like to. Have a great trip!
  4. John, thanks. Yeah, that's kind of what I was expecting to hear. :) I understand there are many switchbacks. But are there sheer drop-offs on one side, or do they mostly have guard rails? Or do you remember? And are there places to pull off along the way for photography?
  5. david_henderson


    Best that you take a look at some of the several videos of the drive over Beartooth Pass because no-one but you can decide what's scary to you. There are at least several of these but maybe start with the links below Time of year is obviously an issue. I've driven from Yellowstone north into and through Montana in September (not on that road) and still found quite a lot of snow which was attractive and photogenic in a 4wd - dk about a RV though.
  6. Phil, I see our posts crossed each other since we posted at the same time. :) I also see that I commented on your portfolio page awhile back and mentioned the RV connection. We're always anxious to share info with other RV'ers......interesting group that they are! :) I signed up for iRV2 and actually did plan to contact them as well. I don't think I've been on (perhaps I have....not sure). Thanks for the recommendation. Yes, it's always good to talk to people who have 'been there, done that' with pulling an RV. If you don't mind I'll message you about some RV stuff. Thanks so much!
  7. David, for some reason it never occurs to me to look up things like the youtube posts. It's so nice of people to do that! Now since I've seen it, I don't have to go in person! TOTALLY JOKING!!! We'll have a truck, and there are guard rails, I see, so this should be fine. I don't think it will be too hair-raising for me. And yes, last time we were in Yellowstone, we got snow and our water line froze on the RV in late August, so I know weather can be unpredictable. Thanks for providing the links!
  8. There are many sections where guard rails are absent. Last time I drove it was in June in a snowstorm.
  9. david_henderson


    John Harper . I agree, and in fact one of the youtube posts that came up on my query was a June trip in heavy snow, and I also saw some sections without guard-rails. That said for a 11 000 foot pass it looks pretty benign in decent weather. I guess if it were me I'd be looking to the 89 north and the I90 to provide a bail-out in poor weather or even (with a RV) in high winds. I have driven the 89 fro Gardiner to Livingston in snow and it was ok.
  10. David, when the weather kicks up, towing on narrow roads over high passes is no fun. The region is notorious for high winds (look up Wyoming windsock). A much easier towing route into N.E. Yellowstone is over Chief Joseph Hwy (296). The switchback curves are broad (especially compared to Beartooth Pass), guardrails everywhere, and the scenery is spectacular. Stop at the memorial at the summit to learn a bit of history on Chief Joseph's escape from the U.S. Calvary.
  11. Christal, my during my drive over Beartooth in a car (not towing), I looked for safe pullouts to capture images ... unfortunately, the very few pullouts were not in the right locations (and/or the snow obscured the view) and most of the road's shoulders were not wide enough for stopping safely.
  12. Hey Christal:
    We've been over that highway a couple times, although in a car, and have seen RV's on the road. In fact, there's a campground at the top, very near the Top Of The World Store. As noted above, the pullouts will be difficult with a trailer but some of them are quite long and you should be able to pull over. Best bet would be to make a reservation at the top, park the gooseneck and drive it again in the truck. It's one of the most beautiful drives we've ever been on (if Martha can do it you can)... Mike
  13. Hi -- I grew up not far from there and have traveled the road many times. The first thing you need to determine is time of year. The road is often closed until late June/early July due to snow at high elevations. I've heard the area didn't get much snow this past winter, so this may not be an issue. (I now live on the east coast) The road is generally well maintained, but it can get hairy at times. There are often limits to the size of trailers permitted -- mostly due to either weather or maintenance. If you are coming from the Billings area toward the BT and YSNP, you can check on road conditions in Red Lodge. There are also updates on the state highway site.
    Other factors to keep in mind: there are not many pull-outs and some are shallow. The summit has parking where your trailer should easily fit. The views from the summit are lovely, but not quite as spectacular as other places along the road. Most of this is season dependent, btw. If you reach Red Lodge and find the road is either closed or you cannot travel with your trailer, you might consider going to Cody Wyoming and heading into YSNP from that point. This is a beautiful drive and one that will be easier. There are some amazing photo ops along this part of the highway, both to Cody and from Cody to YS.
  14. John and David, Well, we'll certainly check on the weather conditions before we go. We'll be there approximately July 2-7, so there could still be a lot of snow up there. I think we've decided for the first time we'll leave the RV at the campground and just drive our truck. Then we can determine for ourselves if pulling an RV is something we want to do next time. Also, it will make it a bit easier to pull off to take pictures. That is the ONLY disadvantage (IMO) to the RV lifestyle. You can't just pull off anywhere to take pictures the way you can (usually) with a car. And I'll just close my eyes for the parts with no guard rails. ;-) Thanks, fellas!
  15. Mike, thanks for the picture! You know, as much as we've traveled, I have YET to hit a place that had a sea of wildflowers. We always seem to miss the blooming seasons. Maybe going through so much elevation, we'll hit some area with some wildflowers blooming this June. Thanks!
  16. Irene.....yes, I think we'd like to try to drive from Cody to the east entrance of YNP. We've always come in from the west or north before. So we'll do the Beartooth as a day trip, come back to Cody, and then enter Yellowstone from the east. Thanks for the link to the highway site! I hope you're right about the area receiving less snowfall this year.....otherwise it's possible the Beartooth may not even be open yet. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks for your help!

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