Some roads are emblem of a road trip, and certainly the Beartooth Scenic Byway is one of them!
Classified as one of the most beautiful road of America, Highway 212, 110 kilometers running between Wyoming and Montana, has everything to deserve its nickname. It was opened in 1937 and is certainly the most panoramic and spectacular gateway to reach Yellowstone National Park. It covers a drop of more than 1000 meters up to the altitude of 3360 at the Beartooth Pass and, for this reason, it is open only during summer season. The road starts in the small town of Red Lodge, which is located about 100 kilometers north of Cody and south of Billings, and ends in Cook City, crossing the Abarska-Beartooth mountain range. At the end of it, you enter Yellowstone National Park, through the Lamar Valley. Several pitches that offer the chance to admire the majesty of this place. A short stop for a hot coffee at the Top of The World Cafè cannot be missed. Remember that the route develops at high altitude, so it is better to have warm clothes to put on. It is difficult to describe the emotions you feel along the way: you start to climb gently between cultivated fields and farms, and then you face the bends that slowly bring you to altitude. The landscapes are breathtaking, with views of alpine lakes and rocky peaks, interspersed with high altitude tundra and meadows with flowers. If you are lucky enough to travel in a sunny day, as it was for us, the
blue sky completes a perfect picture.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
and telling about Yellowstone National Park is one of the most difficult things
you can do. It is an endless and beautiful park, full of different and
attractions. To see most of it, in just a day, it is
essential to have an expert guide who will take you along the park showing
you its main attractions. I do not recommend to visit it by motorbike
due to the massive presence of animals such as bison and bears that can be found strolling along the main road. If you are staying at Robin's Nest you can ask
Bob to be your guide. Bob is an expert guide who, onboard, his Chevy, will show
you all the wonders of the park. Entering the park from Cody, the first
attraction you will see is the immense Yellowstone lake below which there is a huge supervolcano that, if it ever goes into business, would
have disastrous consequences. We continue and we finally arrive at the entrance of the park managed by the legendary rangers. We enter
and after a while, the cars in front of us stop ...on the road, there are some
bison who walk happily. The size of these animals is truly impressive! Just
beyond Bob, announce the presence of some grizzly bears near the river. We
continue and we keep meeting bison on the road or in the adjacent fields, in
packs. We get off and continue on foot until we reach the Mud Volcano to see Dragon's
Mouth: a sort of mud volcano from which steam exhalations come out and make it
look like a dragon's mouth. All around there are
pools with vapor's emissions. The area is walkable thanks to a
series of suspended wooden walkways. In fact, beyond being hot, the
water is full of gas, being often cause of animals' death. We continue the visit until we reach Lookout Point: from
here you will have one of the most beautiful views of Yellowstone. After a
short walk, you will arrive at this panoramic point from which you will see the
beautiful Yellowstone Grand Canyon with its imposing waterfall. I assure you
that the view is so breathtaking that it seems almost unreal, like a postcard!
Continue to the Grand Prismatic Spring: the park's most famous source. The
Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest and deepest hot spring of
Yellowstone Park, but its main feature is certainly not related to its size,
but to its characteristic color given by the presence of bacteria that develop only at very high temperatures and multiply along the edge of the water source,
producing colored pigments that give origin to the peculiar coloring of the
area. Grand Prismatic Spring is not a spectacular solitary nature formation but
there are three other smaller ones nearby. These are the Turquoise Pool, the
Opal pool and the Excelsior Geyser Crater, connected by some
walkways. We have to leave the springs and hurry to the
Old Faithful to witness the eruption of the geyser which occurs only at
specific times. Luckily we arrive on time. There are already many people
gathered around it. Let's wait for a few minutes and here it is! The show
is very suggestive ... Once the eruption is over, it is a must to visit the Old
Faithful Inn: the oldest hotel in the park whose construction dates back to the
early 1900s. The hotel is truly spectacular, starting from its lobby: huge and
all built with big wooden logs. All around the hotel, there are 300 rooms. Those located in the historic wing, don't have a bathroom, as required by
the tradition of the park accommodation.
We leave the park and return to Cody because a convivial country-style dinner and the famous Rodeo await us. After dinner, everyone heads to the Stampede to attend the Rodeo.
It all starts with the American anthem: everyone jumps on their feet with their hands on their hearts, a truly emotional moment. And here come the clowns that cheer the wait, until the arrival of the cowboys mounting the bulls. Seeing them live is impressive and even more impressive is seeing the poor clowns try to distract the bull and being beaten.
In the rodeo, there is also space for women taking the calves to the lasso and for children mounting the calves.
The atmosphere at the rodeo is authentically American: a worth trying experience!