Author Topic: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector  (Read 2226 times)

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Offline botoxcantwink

Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« on: May 15, 2012, 01:58:18 am »
Hi, I'm trying to map a route from Bozeman MT to the Black Hills. I have never been on the Beartooth Highway, but I hear it is absolutely stunning. I would love to incorporate this into my route. I have heard from some sources that it is too dangerous to ride, and others that it is a great ride. Can anyone offer insight? I would be riding in early August. Also, if I did take the Beartooth Highway, does anyone have route advice for getting from Red Lodge to the Black Hills? I'm up for any location in the hills (I'll probably explore around a bit anyway), although Deadwood would be fun.

Offline valygrl

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2012, 01:16:55 pm »
Hopefully Jamawani will chime in.

I rode in the area a few years ago with a guy who has ridden the Beartooth Highway about 10 times, he said it is incredible, but you have to be prepared for weather any time of the year.   Sunlight Basin/Chief Joseph Highway to Cody is also spectacular, and a bit lower so if there is weather that would be a good option (I rode that one, and I would recommend it over heading through Yellowstone, it is empty of cars and stacked with scenery).

Having said I haven't ridden the Beartooth, here's what I would do:
http://g.co/maps/mx8qh

I have ridden this route from Tensleep (I came out of Yellowstone at Cody) to the black hills, and it is great.  I rode over the Bighorns eastbound from Tensleep to Buffalo (awesome) and also westbound from Sheridan to Shell / Greybull (also awesome, slightly less spectacular).  I hear (but have not done) that the road up into the bighorns from Lovell is incredibly steep, so you might consider if you want to go that way or not, depending on how much you like steep.  Other hightlights of the route are Devil's Tower, quiet roads to Belle Fourche, and SPearfish Canyon.   THe stretch between Buffalo and Gillette is pretty empty, there are just enough services but be sure to take plenty of water.

In any case, do go through the bighorn mountains, they are the best.

Offline botoxcantwink

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2012, 07:08:37 pm »
This looks great, thank you! I love that the route hits both the Beartooth Highway and the Bighorn Mountains. I am not at all familiar with riding east of Gardiner, but I am familiar with the area right around Bozeman. For anyone else who might find this route useful, I'd just like to make one change to the route. The map connects from Bozeman to Livingston on I-90. I-90 isn't ridable for cyclists. My route adds quite a few miles and some extra feet of climbing, but it's safer and prettier. I go north on Rouse out of Bozeman. Rouse turns into Bridger Canyon Road. Then I turn right on Jackson Creek Road, and take that all the way to the I-90 Frontage road. Then I ride into Livingston on the I-90 Frontage.

Offline valygrl

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 12:04:54 pm »
Oh - heh, I rode on 90, oops :)

Offline valygrl

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 12:10:58 pm »
Oh, I just saw I made a mistake on that map, take Hwy 14 south of Spearfish through Spearfish Canyon, not 90-85 as I showed on that map.  D'oh!

Online jsieber

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 02:03:24 pm »
I-90 isn't ridable for cyclists.
I-90 is not desirable riding for most people, but it is legal as far as I know. Am I missing something?

Offline jamawani

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 02:13:21 pm »
In most places in the Intermountain West (except on urban expressways) it is legal to ride on Interstate shoulders - just not that pleasant.  I-90 between Bozeman and Livingston has a service road most of the way - chock-a-block against the interstate.  You do have to ride a couple of miles on the interstate.  One problem with interstate riding, even if technically legal, is when they are repaving.  Obviously, repaving takes place in summer.  And the most common way of doing it is to combine both direction onto one side.  Then it DOES become way dangerous to ride on the interstate.

Offline botoxcantwink

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2012, 04:36:04 pm »
Sorry for confusion. I didn't mean to comment on the legality of I-90. I just wouldn't want to encourage folks to do it, because of the stretch going right through the pass. It's curvy, high speed, narrow shoulder, barriers on the side, with cars jockeying around each other and passing truck traffic that can't keep up speed on the uphill. I consider it unusually dangerous, anyway. I drive that section of I-90 every week for work, and as far as I noticed there is no Frontage along that section of the interstate. Am I incorrect on that?

Offline botoxcantwink

Re: Using Beartooth Highway as a connector
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2012, 04:41:11 pm »
Sorry, my question was referring specifically to whether there is a Frontage road going through the pass. I do know that there is a nice frontage road before and after the pass along I-90 from Bozeman to Livingston.