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Thread: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

  1. #1
    Biff1300's Avatar
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    Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    Both these rides have been posted before, but I thought I would post a new one and a long overdue review and recommendation. We rode from Cody to Red Lodge via Chief Joseph highway and Beartooth Pass. Another GREAT ride. The Chief Joseph section is/was gorgeous as far as views of the country side go. We missed a couple of pullouts for pictures that I regret. If you're into picture taking, I recommend hitting all the pullouts. Beartooth pass was great as far as winding roads and being able to look down 10,000 feet. It was cold at the summit. It had snowed the day before and was closed (mid-July), but, the road was clear and dry all the way up and down into Red Lodge. A bit of bummer if you get stuck behind an RV.

    I had a potential maintenance disaster before heading out from Cody, so here's a shout-out for Kawasaki/Yamaha dealer on the west side of Cody was a god send. I lucked out with a part for my ST and two new tires and they were able to get me back on the road in hour. Such a relief and a comfort knowing I was "good to go" for the ride up to Beartooth.

  2. #2
    slmjim's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    We were on Chief Joseph about 4 yrs. ag. There was one long stretch of it that was non-stop, slick tar snakes.


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    slmjim
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  3. #3

    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    Was there in 2nd week of September, very cold (45) and very windy. Enjoyed the ride. The pass was closed just a day before and they were not sure if it was going to reopen. Make sure you go earlier in the season. Yellowstone was 38 degrees the night before and was going to camp there but ended up in Cody, a bit warmer (50)

  4. #4
    Unterbrecher von Sachen BakerBoy's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    Yes, one of the rides that should be on everyone's bucket list.

    As slmjim mentions, there are formerly-fun sections with sweeping curves that have been tar-snaked (where it seems the contractor used WAY too much tar, spraying it way too wide), and traction is very twitchy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biff1300 View Post
    ...A bit of bummer if you get stuck behind an RV.
    ...
    When that happens to me, I continue along watching for long gaps in the oncoming traffic. Once safe to turn around, I have the pleasure of open road in front of me. Last time I was over Bearthooth Pass, using that technique I did several long fun sections 3 times with only a vehicle or two to pause my 'progress'. Woo!
    John - 2016 BMW R1200RT

    "Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere,
    and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself." ~Unknown

  5. #5
    Guaglio's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    I rode the beartooth pass in September, just awe inspiring! Temps in the mid to low 40's, but otherwise perfect weather. I need to hit the Chief Joseph next. Very much a bucket list item.

  6. #6
    Grabcon's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    The trip that the wife and I took in August of 2015 we did both roads. 11 am in the morning on Beartooth it was clear skies and clear road and a blistering 34 degrees. This was a tough trip to pack for. Denver 70's, Wyoming about the same through the NP's, low 30's on Beartooth and in the 100's in Utah. Heated gear would have reduce the heavy gear a bit.

    Like BakerBoy says, these roads are bucket list roads. A few years earlier we went Oregon from Denver on memorial weekend and both were closed because that had not fished the spring plowing to clear them.


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  7. #7
    Site Supporter amorley's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    I plan to do both again this summer. Cannot ride them enough times.
    Andy
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  8. #8
    SoCal Lane Splitting Commuter SupraSabre's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    Dave's and my trip to WeSTOC 2016 included Beartooth Pass. It was a great ride. I just wished I had my warmer gear with me when we went up it! We stopped in Red Lodge and had a great dinner! We didn't have time for Chief Joseph drive.
    Bob - STOC 5901 -- >300K Miles on ST1300s - ZERO Tipovers
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  9. #9
    rindalleer's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    I live in Billings and never get tired of riding to Cooke City as you never know what you will see or experience. Sometimes you ride next to a 15' snow drift from the plows (July) or have to ride past a buffalo (bison to the PCers) walking down the middle of the highway to stopping for a picture of a moose eating in the creek. Always a thrill and a beautiful ride. I leave Billings wearing a hoody and over the top of Beartooth Pass with all the warm clothes I have with me as a temperature change of 40-50 degrees is not uncommon from the top to the bottom of the Beartooth Pass. Snow, or rain, or hail, or all three is always a possibility due to the extreme elevation and weather patterns. And I have to sometimes suffer through those dang "tar snakes" on the Chief Joseph side (east side) of the return ride. I prefer to ride from Red Lodge Montana to Cooke City and then down to Cody Wyoming and then back to Billings.

  10. #10
    jonz's Avatar
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    Re: Beartooth and Chief Joseph

    Quote Originally Posted by slmjim View Post
    We were on Chief Joseph about 4 yrs. ag. There was one long stretch of it that was non-stop, slick tar snakes.
    If I'm talking about the same section as you, that was repaved in the last two years. Coming back from Cody to Cooke City, it's the section after the summit. BIG fun!!!! The best twisties with brand new smooth-as-glass asphalt. I still like Beartooth Pass better (my favorite paved road ride in the USA) for the views and there are a good number of legal passing zones and safe passing places so that you don't get stuck for too long. If you do get stuck behind a slow moving cage, there are lots of moto turnouts for photo ops.
    Jeff Jones
    STOC #326 IBA #217

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