Yellowstone and Beartooth Pass Road Bike Tour
Beartooth Pass is astounding and the perfect addition to road riding in Yellowstone National Park to make an advanced challenging road tour. We will be cruising through the park in the late summer. Hopefully this will insure some incredible wildlife sightings right from your bike.
We are staying in the grand hotels of the park so a hot shower is part of the program. We begin in West Yellowstone and work our way around the park. First to Old Faithful, then on the Yellowstone Lake and beautiful Hayden Valley. Then we head east out of the park and on to Chief Joseph Highway and the grand finale is Beartooth Pass.
Mileage ranges from 30 to 65 miles each day and elevations reach 11,000 feet. This itinerary works well for strong riders who love a challenge! Don't miss this one. Seriously. Call us at 800-845-2453. We will help you get started planning one of the best road rides you'll ever do.
After meeting in Bozeman we will shuttle south along the Gallatin River to the north boundary of the park where we will start our ride. We then head south into West Yellowstone, gateway to the park. Heading east into the park, our goal is Madison Junction, and from there we will head south to Old Faithful and our lodging for the night. Along the way, we will pass the Sapphire Pool, the Great Fountain Geyser, and Fountain Paint Pots to mention just a few. We will also see evidence of the 1988 Yellowstone fire. Fire plays an important role in the forest ecology and we see many Lodgepole pines that have reforested the burned areas. The riding in this section is rolling and fun, a great way to end our first day. After we arrive at the Old Faithful Inn, we may have some time to explore some of the geysers in the area, including Morning Glory Pool. TOTAL MILEAGE: 50 - 60 miles
After a delicious breakfast we will begin our journey to Yellowstone Lake, along the lower loop. Shortly after leaving this morning we will cross the Continental Divide at Craig Pass which is 8,262 feet. We will pass back over the divide before arriving at Yellowstone Lake. As we approach the western edge of the lake we will pass yet another geyser basin which we can tour. Intense heat from this region indicates an extensive thermal system, that could create a massive hydrothermal steam explosion should lake levels drop just a few feet, reminding us yet again of the dynamic geologic forces at work all around us. A few more miles and we will arrive at our night’s destination, the Lake Hotel. Yellowstone Lake is the largest mountain lake in North America. It is over 20 miles long 14 miles wide and 390 feet deep at its deepest point, where temperatures rarely rise above 42 degrees. This is amazing since there are countless calderas throughout the park whose temperatures remain high above the boiling point at all times. We will arrive at the Lake Hotel in the afternoon, leaving us time for an out and back ride, north through the Hayden Valley. We will want to get at least as far as the Mud Volcano but riding along the Yellowstone River can be quite enticing, so we may go further. TOTAL MILEAGE: 30 - 65 miles
Today we begin with a short shuttle out to the east entrance of the park so that we can get down to business on the Buffalo Bill Scenic Highway. The ride zips along the North Fork of the Shoshone River through the Wapiti Valley, a stretch that Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt called “the most scenic 50 miles in the world.” Keep your eyes peeled today; the Wapiti Valley boasts robust populations of wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, moose, bear and, as it’s Shoshone namesake suggests, wapiti or elk. Our route takes us through the tiny settlements of Pahaska and Wapiti, then skirts 7 miles of shoreline along the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. We finish our ride in historic Cody, Wyoming—named for William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, one of the most colorful figures of America’s Old West. TOTAL MILEAGE: 52 miles
Today we will hook up with the Chief Joseph Highway. While the story of Chief Joseph leading the Nez Perce along this route is quite heart wrenching, the views are so incredible exhilaration will win the day. This amazing mountain pass is one of the very best road rides in the West. The road is narrow and remote with great views of the Beartooth mountains to the north and the volcanic Absaroka mountains to the west. We will pass through a 1,200 foot gorge carved by the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River. Our destination for the night is Cooke City, Montana which is nestled in a narrow valley between the Beartooth and Absaroka wilderness areas. TOTAL MILEAGE: 60 miles
You will want to eat a really big breakfast this morning because we are headed to the Top of the World! The high point (10,947 feet) of the spectacular Beartooth Scenic Byway takes us through dramatic peaks and jewel like alpine lakes. The Beartooth Plateau is a lofty table of nearly solid rock, which for a few weeks a year is covered with wildflowers. People who see this area from a car just aren’t getting the full effect. It is a truly dizzying array of switchbacks and panoramic vistas. We get a breathtaking 360 degree view right on the border of Wyoming and Montana. You are very likely to agree that the Beartooth is the most beautiful highway in America. All of this swooping and zooming through the peaks drops us into Red Lodge, our home for the night. TOTAL MILEAGE: 65 miles
For our final ride we head north as we work our way down from the alpine scenery of rugged peaks, pristine alpine tundra and sheer cliffs. The terrain becomes wide open as we leave the Beartooth Range and approach the basin of the Yellowstone River. Civilization reappears in the form of Interstate 90, which will provide us with a convenient shuttle route back to Bozeman. TOTAL MILEAGE: 35 miles
Accommodations may be changed due to availability. Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the trip. Low gears and at least 23c tires are recommended for this trip. Although there is a lot of climbing, super lightweight tires are not appropriate.
Overall Rating: Advanced
Physical Difficulty: Advanced
Altitude: 6,000 - 11,000 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.