Montana/Wyoming Border Byways
Over the course of the week we took several scenic drives along the Wyoming and Montana border. Here are a few of our shots.
Beartooth Scenic Byway and Pass
Cresting at 10,947 feet in Beartooth Pass, Beartooth Scenic Byway is Wyoming’s highest paved primary road. It really is one of the most beautiful drives in America, and once you’ve driven it you’ll understand why. The only National Scenic Byway in Wyoming, this two-lane route was the first road to be constructed under the Park Approaches Act of 1931.
There are many stops along the way available for breath-taking photo ops, so be sure to allow a full day on this drive. We took a detour from the main Hwy in Montana and decided to spend an hour at Long Lake (pictured here top left). We saw a few hares with their long pointy ears hopping about. Other than that the lake was all to ourselves.
Big Horn Scenic Byway
A 58-mile paved highway over the crest of the Big Horn Mountains, the Byway winds past thick forest, lush meadows, waterfalls, and deep canyons. Stretching from the Powder River Basin to the Big Horn Basin, the Big Horn Byway follows U.S. 14 from the west outside Greybull.
These photos remind me of the scenes from The Sound of Music as the von Trapp family pass across the Austrian Tyrol to avoid facing Nazi tyranny.
Bighorn Medicine Wheel
This predates Indian tribes in the region and is thought to about 700 years old. It is attributed to an Indian named Burnt Faced, appropriately named when as a baby he fell into a fire and his face was severely burned. In his teens he went on a vision quest and mountain was chosen to build the wheel. While here, he was carried away by an eagle and upon his return his face was now healed. Since then many great Chiefs have come to leave gifts and prayer pouches.
There is a pleasant walk of about 3/4 to 1 mile out to the site of the medicine wheel, which is located on the ridge at it’s furthest point. Along the way, 360 degree view of the mountains and valley beyond are provided with one or two benches to sit and take the beauty in.
As you can see, even in the middle of July there is still snow in areas that face more northerly. Apparently I seem to have a bit of a fashion disaster here. Sunhat and shorts do not quite seem the appropriate attire for this snow bunny. It was actually quite nippy here when the wind blew, but the intensity of the sun quickly sent my skin from a shade slightly above “glow in the dark white” to “a tinge of pink” by the time we had reached back at the truck.
I am wondering if any of the Sutton family may recognize the name listed on this name plate, even if there is not actually any ancestral relationship.
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway
The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Wyoming 296, links the town of Cody with the Beartooth Highway and the Northeast Gate of Yellowstone National Park. The route crosses the Shoshone National Forest through the Absaroka Mountains to the Clarks Fork Valley. The 47 paved miles of the Scenic Byway run from the junction with U.S. 120, 17 miles north of Cody, northwest to their connection with U.S. 212, the Beartooth Highway. The Beartooth Mountains and the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River lie to the north of the road, and the Absaroka Mountains and North Absaroka Wilderness are to the south.
I am not sure if you can tell but the bottom sign is riddled with bullet holes. I guess this is the local gun range target practice.