Day 1 – Trip to Beartooth Pass

Trip Route

Day’s distance: 474 miles (Seattle to Missoula)

Temperatures ranged from the low 40s in the shadows of Snoqualmie Pass to the mid 80s later in the day and closer to Missoula, where I’m staying for the night.

A moderate haze along today’s interstate-only route made for little opportunity to take pictures. So I’ll provide a little background on the Beartooth Highway and some links if folks want to explore more.

According to the website that bears its name,

The Beartooth Highway is a 68 mile stretch of US Highway 212 that, from its western most terminus at the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park, runs east to Red Lodge, Montana.

Reaching 10,977 feet at Beartooth Pass, and surrounded by 20 mountain peaks that reach over 12,000 feet, the Beartooth Highway crosses some of the most extreme country in the world. The high alpine climate ensures that severe weather conditions occur almost every month of the year. Summertime temperatures can range from the 70s on sunny days to below freezing during sudden snowstorms. Keep these extreme conditions in mind when planning a visit to the Beartooth Highway.

The Beartooth Highway is on every list of the best motorcycle roads in the US. This trip is my second opportunity to check it off my bucket list.

My first opportunity came on day 36 my 2016 Northern States Tour. I rode the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, which intersects with Beartooth Highway, intending to turn right and head to the Pass.

dead indian summit to the pass

But because of the rain I encountered getting to Dead Indian Summit Overlook from Cody, I assumed it snowed on the Pass. I had no cell reception and couldn’t verify conditions, so I decided to skip it and head into Yellowstone Park.

Here’s a couple images of what I saw from that day at the Summit and what gets me excited to see what I missed by not riding to the Beartooth Pass.



I’m scheduled to ride the Beartooth on Friday. Here’s the current forecast for the pass:


Tomorrow I ride to Laurel, Montana to set up my ride over the pass on the following day. Stay tuned!

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