Beartooth Highway, Cooke City-Silver Gate & Red Lodge Montana Travel Diary

“Montana should come with a surgeon general warning that it's addictive. The sky is big and blue, and the air is always fresh and crisp and scented with pine. There's a frontier spirit, but also a calmness, beauty in the landscape that slows your pulse.”
― Robin Bielman

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”  ― John Steinbeck,

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.” 
― John Steinbeck,

Pretty sure I lost my heart in Montana...AKA...the Treasure State. It feels as though you are living in a fantasy because it's just so beautiful. I thought Colorado was the most beautiful place on earth until I ventured into Montana. And I seriously cannot get over it. While Montana gets its share of recognition for its national parks and natural beauty, that doesn’t mean it always gets the credit it deserves. I mean..I personally never gave it that much credit. I could live here you dears.....I really really could!! 

The Big Sky Country is something everyone should see once in their lifetime. 

So after leaving Yellowstone, we continued our adventure to Montana. We were about a week and a half into our month long motorcycle trek at this time. We had already covered so much ground at this point in time. See it from the beginning with Taos, Santa Fe, Ouray, Moab, Salt Lake City, and Jackson Hole along with The stunning Grand Teton National Parks and our Yellowstone adventure

We also have so many more places to share with you so keep traveling along with me...

People have often asked me what my favorite place was of the whole month long adventure and as tough of a question as that is...I have to honestly say Silver Gate, Montana. This little tiny place is nestled between Yellowstone's Lamar Valley, Montana's Beartooth Mountains and the Wyoming Sunlight Basin. At an elevation of 7,400 ft,  they are surrounded by the most majestic peaks in Montana, some soaring to over 11,000 ft. and I would love to spend a winter here writing a book. There is no cell phone service, and in the winter only about 10 residents stay if that. 

Stay and eat at The Log Cabin Cafe. Located just north of Yellowstone's Lamar Valley, they feature savory home cooking for Yellowstone explorers seeking real recipes to fuel their passionate wilderness adventures. The Log Cabin Cafe offers simple, nutrient-dense meals in the adorable historic log dining room as well as a taste of the past in their comfortable historic cabins. Their sustainable and local sourcing rises to the hope of national parks to preserve nature for future generations. 

And definitely get ice cream and coffee from Stop The Car Trading Post. Cheryl and her mom are the sweetest!! I of course had to go with The Moose Tracks ice cream and The famous Huckleberry.  I mean...when in Montana...

Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream is just delish and no one can deny that this ice cream is truly amazing. Wilcoxson’s started in Livingston, MT during a year that is up for debate. Though its history is obscure, its world-class ice cream is an absolute must when visiting Montana. It was on my list so I am thrilled to have experienced it!!! 

Travel along just a few minutes to Cooke City Montana. Silver Gate and Cooke are really the same area....just seconds apart. 

Scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and unique small-town charm dominate in the tiny outpost of Cooke City tucked between Yellowstone’s Northeast Entrance and the imposing Beartooth Mountains. Outdoor activities loom large for locals and visitors alike—Cooke City and Silver Gate are surrounded by the park and the Gallatin National Forest, granting easy access to mountain trails, trout streams, and winter fun. And though Cooke City's downtown spans only a few blocks, you’ll find great dining and lodging options.

In summer, travelers can reach Cooke City from the east via the Beartooth Highway; in winter, the only way in is through Yellowstone’s North Entrance, making it a convenient gateway for those coming from northern Montana and Glacier National Park or northern Wyoming. Cooke City also gives you great access to the legendary Lamar Valley where grizzlies, black bears, bison and wolves roam. Stop at one of the valley's many pull-offs, get out your binoculars and look for some of the wildlife that has made Yellowstone famous.

I am so in love with this area !!!!! 

Stop in the Cooke City Store and enjoy a meal and a Moose Drool beer at The Beartooth Cafe. Everything is made from scratch. Elk sloppy jo anyone?!!!

And at last....don't forget to drive the 68-mile stretch of the Beartooth Highway - named National Scenic Byway’s “All-American Road.” We actually did it each direction staying in Red Lodge Montana just so we could accomplish this. I loved the different perspectives. The highway climbs 5,000 feet through lodgepole pine forests leading you to an enchanting world made of alpine lakes, 20 peaks over 12,000 feet, glacially carved cirques and vibrant wildflowers. There are sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy. It’s not recommended at nights. The road climbs up the Beartooth Pass, at an elevation of 10,947 ft (3,337 m) above the sea level. 

Weather permitting, it is open Memorial Day through Columbus Day every year. These views were something else.  Anndddd so much snow..........

Beautiful, beautiful snow!!

And I saw a baby black bear! 

Red Lodge Montana.....talk about true western hospitality in this quaint, historic, mountain town.

Got there so late and was so exhausted but really enjoyed my meal at Carbon County Steakhouse!!! 

What do you love most about Montana?!!!

next up......more Montana!!! This state is a dream....

XOOXOOXOXO
SAM