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washtech

Seeking Beartooth Highway Travel Tips

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Looking for comments from drivers who have traveled the Beartooth Highway. Any issues with taking 44' coach across this mountain roadway (hwy 14) from Ranchester, WY. south to Cody, Wy. ? Then headed from Cody to Yellowstone. Planning to do this in late May or early June.

Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated.

Washtech aka Jackster

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The Beartooth Highway runs from Red Lodge, MT into the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The main reason for driving the Beartooth is the journey, NOT the destination! I have driven it many times, but always in a passenger vehicle, because that is how the driver can enjoy the views as much as the passenger. Park your coach somewhere outside YNP and drive your toad into and all around the park. Don't miss the Northeast Entrance/Beartooth/Red Lodge! It's a day out and a day in - get a motel in Red Lodge! After you drive the Beartooth in a car, you will know WHY it is no place for a big rig!

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I just checked Rand Mc Nally's Motor Carriers' Road Atlas and US14 is marked for tractor trailers. I see one pass on the stretch you are interested in. Granite at a little over 9000 ft. I have been on that stretch, but it was a long time ago. If big rigs can use it, I probably would. Retired trucker with lots of mountain miles.

If you get no positive hits from this forum, make some phone calls. Cody Chamber of Commerce (if they have one) or even the sheriff's office of one of the counties.

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I assume you would be going into the Park and then exiting down the Beartooth Hwy. According to the Mountain Directory of The West for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers it says (in part) that the descent from the west summit is 22 miles of 6-8% grade The road is narrow and there are few places to pull off if need be. There are numerous 15, 20, 25 mph hairpin turns, many of which are unmarked. It goes on to mention other difficulties including a narrow bridge. I suggest you buy a copy of this book which has certainly saved us a lot of worry. They also offer an "East" version. Bob

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Well ":Jake". Do you have a DW? If you do, you might want to run this by her and if it's OK, then what the heck! :) You don't want to find out at the bottom of the run that it's not! :angry::rolleyes: If you don't have a DW, then notify your next of kin! :lol:

A 45' DP & hairpin curves is never a good idea!

Carl

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I have taken a lightly loaded 18 wheeler from Buffalo Wy off of I90 to Riverton Wy on US 16 to US20 and then headed west from Riverton on US26 to Jackson Wy. There are some quite scenic down grades on the way to Riverton . I actually found a motel in Jackson that had truck parking. The next day I bob tailed into the Grand Teton park for some scenery and fishing. Yes, surprisingly, I was legal in the park, of course that was thirty years ago. If you are coming from NC, why not leave I-25 at Casper and head west to Jackson. I happened upon an oversize load 18 wheeler coming out of Yellowstone. He was hauling a big boat. I broke to him on 19 and he told me there are a lot of big boats in Yellowstone Lake and he was just repositioning one for the owner. If he could haul that thing out of the park, maybe big RVs could go in that way. Just a guess.

Carl/ you are an absolute Hoot!!!

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I have done the drive twice in the last 4 years--once on my Harley, and this past Sept in my Scion. It actually closed the day after I drove it due to weather and didn't reopen. I ended up coming back through Gardenier on the north end. Red Lodge is a nice town. I wouldn't take my 39 foot rig over it--it's a white knuckle drive! The first time on my Harley was in late June and there was still a ton of snow and about a 2 mile stretch of road under repair that was one lane and you follow a pilot vehicle. My Harley looked like I road the Baja after that! One other consideration, you break down up there it is going to cost a third world country's GDP to get help or a tow! Even if you don't have a toad, rent a car for a day or two to ride around especially over the pass. No matter what way you go into YNP you are going to climb over 10,000 foot passes on your way through and out. Hopefully you'll get some more input here from others.

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Rode the route you are planning on my motorcycle and would not consider taking my coach thru it. The main reason is the abuse it would take. It is a winding twisting 10,000' mountain pass which has many steep twisting slow hairpins. Things would tend to be well re-arranged inside the coach even if well packed and anchored. The other reason is the abuse one would heap on the brakes, even with a good exhaust brake the descent would definately take a toll as coaches do not have the gearing that a commercial tractor has to hold back on a jake or exhaust brake alone. It would be do-able, but not enjoyable. Park and do the trip in a car or motorcycle, it is amazing and well worth the trip. Do it in late summer and expect large snow banks on the roadsides.

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We drove Bear Tooth from north to south two years ago. The scenery is beautiful and clearly worth the trip. I parked the 40 Ft diesel and drove the jeep around to the top and back down. It turned out to be a 8 hour day to make the entire trip. After looking at the road I think we made the correct decision. While I think it would be possible to take my Allegro Bus over the route it would not have been fun. There are unmarked tight turns with traffic in both directions. There are no pull offs for miles and steep grades. I did see one Class C's on the way, but they were struggling at times due to the grades and those stuck behind were not pleased. The parking lots where you want to stop for pictures have tight entrances with rocks for curbing. Not a problem for cars but no place for motorhomes. There are a few pull offs that a motorhome could use, but they are not in the best viewing positions.

In summary, when I go again, I will make the same choice I did last time and drive the Jeep.

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We are making plans for a trip out west this summer (from SC through Yellowstone to Seattle. Found this great article providing information about some of the roads you are talking about: http://www.rvtechmag.com/travel/4_yellowstonebyrv.php?pg=all

Also, I checked on You Tube and you can actually call up videos of folks driving both routes 14 and 16 "from the driver's seat." The article plus the videos convinced us to take Route 16 and stay far, far away from 14. We have a 38-foot diesel pusher with the jake brake, etc. but when I read a comment about Route 14 that said something like...if your MH doesn't have a hinge in the middle!

Good luck with your trip -- we are so looking forward to seeing all that beautiful scenery.

B. Odom

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This is a beautiful route. but late may look out for icy patches in the shadows and in early morning. this year the snow banks will be tall ( ten - 12 ft) on both side in several areas. If you do try it unhook and drive the toad separate to ease the load on the MH. also my allow you to fit in some of the turnouts. The views are worth the extra effort even if you just drive it with the toad. plan on taking a full day each way.

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I live in Billings, Montana and have traveled bear tooth highway many times. Once I trailered my sailboat up there with no problems. I would not drive my 40 ft Beaver up there. Narrow road and hairpin curves.

You can go into park via Cody and that is the way I would go. Big rig parking at fishing bridge. Get reservations. Beautiful drive though.

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We've driven the Beartooth a number of times over the years, never with our 40' DP. Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Highway "Americas's most beautiful drive" - but you won't be able to enjoy it trying to keep you rig on the road. And think of others - the last we time we traveled we were stuck doing 5 mph while some yahoo in a 40' fiver had traffic backed up for miles. Leave the rig and make the loop in your tow; from Cody you can take the Beartooth one way and the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway (nearly as beautiful), the other.

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I believe you may be confused regarding the Beartooth Drive. It is actually Montana Route 212 which runs between Red Lodge, through the Beartooth Mountains, through Cooke City and then into Yellowstone National Park at its NE corner. Beartooth Drive doesn't run into Cody, Wyoming. Route 14 in Wyoming runs from I-90, across the BigHorn Mountains, through Cody and then into Yellowstone at its middle, eastern entrance.

We've driven through the Bighorns with our 37', class A, pusher with a tow. Our route had several hairpins and some steep grades, but nothing to stress over. Slow and cautious driving is suggested, but it's a beautiful drive. Make sure you schedule your crossing when the roads have been cleared. Snow fall is possible even in late May.

I would not suggest taking an RV across the Beartooth Drive (Rt. 212) at any time of the year. That drive is way too demanding on our rigs, with lots more hairpins and steeper grades. There are very few turnouts and those behind you will not be very happy with you. We've driven it in our toad, but would never consider taking our coach across at any time of the year. This is the most beautiful drive in all of the Rockies!

Double check your map regarding which route you are planning to take.

Hope this helps.

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A lot off good information has been posted. Regardless of what rout you take and in what, coach or toad, please remember that your not the only one on the road! So, be aware and respectful of others!

Way to many times that I have been in my coach, following a toad (yes you can tell) and the driver is totally un aware that I'm behind him/her! Like you, I don't stop on a dime in coach! Also, there is a reason for the turn signal...duh

Carl

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I travelled the Beartooth National Scenic Highway in late May, 2013 in a '99 Beaver Marquis 40' DP. Very slowly, attempting at all times to see around the bend as we approached. VERY VERY gorgeous drive, especially on the way down with the snow still rising several feet on either side of the narrow road. For us, at that time of the year, very little traffic, and when a large truck came the other direction, I simply stopped and let him figure out how best to pass by. Some pull over areas with beautiful views. I felt ok in the 40ft but 45ft, well your call.

Mike

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I assume you would be going into the Park and then exiting down the Beartooth Hwy. According to the Mountain Directory of The West for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers it says (in part) that the descent from the west summit is 22 miles of 6-8% grade The road is narrow and there are few places to pull off if need be. There are numerous 15, 20, 25 mph hairpin turns, many of which are unmarked. It goes on to mention other difficulties including a narrow bridge. I suggest you buy a copy of this book which has certainly saved us a lot of worry. They also offer an "East" version. Bob

The Mountain Directories are the greatest. We bought them last year and find they come in handy! Great purchase for any rver of big rigs

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The suggestion to by the Mountain Directories is right on. We purchased one for both the East and West last year and have found them very handy, especially with driving a 40' diesel pusher. Good luck on your trip.

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We drove US 14 from Cody, thru Greybull, and hit I90 just north of Sheridan. A beautiful fantastic drive!!!!! One of the prettiest routes ever! BUT----it is very crooked and steep in many places. We have a 45-footer with toad and made the trip with no issues. There are not many pull over spots so you don't get many "Kodak moments" in a motorhome.

Take your time and enjoy the drive.

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Looking for comments from drivers who have traveled the Beartooth Highway. Any issues with taking 44' coach across this mountain roadway (hwy 14) from Ranchester, WY. south to Cody, Wy. ? Then headed from Cody to Yellowstone. Planning to do this in late May or early June.

Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated.

Washtech aka Jackster

We fish in the BigHorns and have driven 14 across the mountains many times. When driving west when you get to the the top, in the middle of the mountain range at Burgess Junction, highway 14 splits. The right fork (north) is highway 41-A and the left is 14. The descent on 14-A is much steeper and you will not like it unless you are experienced driving down steep grades (you still may not like it) and are adept at engine braking. Highway 14, the southern route, is a little further but it is easier. I have never driven 14-A without smelling burned brakes from a vehicle making the descent.

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We will be on our way east from Glacier in September. The discussion about the Beartooth has convinced me that it is a must see. US14 is a truck route and I spent over 40 years in the industry. Sounds like 14 is a will fit, and there are several RV Parks in Cody. That will be our base. Have not been to Yellowstone in just over thirty years, and then only for a day trip in a rented car from West Yellowstone, MT. DW has never seen even that small amount of the park

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