10,000' Plus Above Sea Level!

The Beartooth Mountains in Southern Montana, Northern Wyoming is about the most spectacular ride you can take on a motorcycle this side of the Swiss Alps.

Leaving Cody to the North you turn off on the scenic Chief Joseph Hiway, or just plain old Dead Indian to the locals.  This road takes you up over the Dead Indian Pass with an unforgettable view of the Sunlight Basin and Clarksfork Valley.


About forty miles from the summit you get to the intersection of Montana 212, a left takes you a dozen or so miles to Cooke City Montana and a right will send you heading straight up into the Beartooth Mountains and eventually Red Lodge Montana.

It may only be about a hundred miles or so to Red Lodge from Cody via this route but plan on spending the better part of the day 'cause there's lots of places along the way to explore and experience.

One of the places that most people just drive by is the Clay Butte Fire Lookout Station situated at over 9,000' above sea level.  You have to want to get to this place though as the road to it is three miles of dirt.  A road that can be navigated by motorcycle but isn't recommended for the squeamish when it comes to getting dust, dirt or possibly a little mud on your ride.


From the fire lookout station you have a 360 degree view of not only the mountains but the valleys.  While inside the cab of the lookout station it doesn't take long to notice that the legs of the furniture all have insulators on them of the type one would normally see on telephone poles.  It becomes quickly apparent that occupying this particular place during a thunderstorm can and will be interesting.

Onward another ten miles or so brings you to the "Top of the World" store.  This little store sells everything from homemade sandwiches to go, to stuffed toy Grizzly Bears, and once in a while you might even see a real Griz walk across the meadow in front of the place.


With a couple of sandwiches in hand we set off down the road to one of the many alpine lakes that dot the Beartooth Range and a well deserved snack before attempting the summit.

We just couldn't have asked for better weather.  The Beartooth is known for extremes in weather year round.  You have just as good a chance of hitting snow in August on top as you do sunshine or 50 mph winds.  This day we lucked out with the sunshine but the temps were somewhere around the mid fifties, a little cool for just sweatshirts on a bike.

We decided that a stop at the summit wasn't something that we really had to do and headed down the east side of the pass for Red Lodge and some warmer temps.

Red Lodge in the summer is full of tourists headed to Yellowstone via the Beartooth and in winter to skiers who want to take advantage of some of the best slopes in Montana without paying the prices of the more famous resort areas.  You can spend the better part of a day just walking the main street looking for treasures.

Red Lodge Montana is really only about sixty miles from Cody if you take the route most folks do and from there it's just a hop over Bear Creek and on home to Cody. 

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