Bear Tooth vs Chief Joseph

Discussion in 'Americas' started by McRuss, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Neither is to be missed.

    Having just ridden both again four months ago it would be a no-brainer for me if I were riding north from Colorado. In addition to Beartooth and the Chief Joseph, any time I am in that area the Big Horns are a must-do for me. You're going to D2D? I would suggest you follow my exact route in reverse, being that I rode down from Alaska to Denver by way of about the most scenic, most fun (on a bike) route available while sticking to pavement.

    Ride north on I-25 to Ranchester, WY, turn west on US14 and follow it over Granite Pass and down Shell Canyon, on across to Cody. Turn north on 120 to where 296 turns off to the left, and follow that. You'll soon be enjoying the twists and turns of the Chief Joseph Hwy. When you get to US212, turn right and climb on up to the top of the Beartooth Plateau, and get ready for a great ride down to Rock Creek at the bottom. You might even feel like going back to the top and doing it again. :ricky I have. :D Then up through Red Lodge to 3rd St/78 and turn left onto that highway. Follow it to Columbus and I-90. There are a variety of routes by which you can get north into Canada, but if I'm in a bit of a hurry I'll usually stick to I-90 and I-15, as there are some really nice passes along the way, with lots of twists and turns, and traffic doesn't bother me as long as it is disappearing in my mirrors.

    Again, there are various routes to get there, but your next destination should be the south end of the Icefields Parkway near Lake Louise, Alberta. North on that highway to Jasper, then east almost to Hinton, and the Big Horn Hwy north to Grande Prairie. Time it so you can get from Grande Cache, through Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek, and on north of Fort Nelson in one rapid push, as that whole area has become too industrialized in the past 20 or so years so there is really no reason to tarry. But once north of Fort Nelson you'll be climbing into the Rockies again, starting with Steamboat. From there on you should be able to enjoy the Alcan all the way up to the turn-off onto the North Klondike Hwy just out of Whitehorse. As far as that highway goes... be prepared to find yourself bored after the first few hours. But the destination makes it worthwhile.
    #21
  2. McRuss

    McRuss Been here awhile

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    Alcan Rider: pretty much my route from Denver to Cody except that I plan on getting off I25 at Ft Collins and taking 287 through Laramie and on to Casper, 20 to Thermopolis, 120 to Cody (I'll look at 14 again but I really want to get off I25 early.) Then as planned, Chief Joseph and Beartooth, 78, Columbus, etc. Once in Canada I usually stay in Okotoks. This time I'm going to cut over from there and take the Kananaskis Trail to Banff, then the Icelands to Jasper (I have photos of three of my bikes at the overlook, will add one more this time) and cut over and up to Dawson Creek via Grand Prairie. I'll camp at Jasper and make time up to Dawson Cr. Then its the Alcan (boring?) all the way to Watson Lake where I'll cut off on the Campbell and skip Whitehorse (been there, done that.) I like the Provincial campgrounds, not too expensive and nicely maintained.

    Wait! I think I can pick up I25 at Casper and take it to I90 and Sheridan, pick up 14 from there to Cody. I'm taking it under consideration....:mully
    #22
  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    figure out a loop and do both or ride up CJ to the Beartooth and then to Red Lodge and then back up the Beartooth. Nothing wrong with back tracking for a killer road.
    #23
  4. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    I am in the process of planning a trip this summer/fall and got to the point where I was debating on the Chief vs Bears tooth. So now I think I am decided that I will do the chief then turn to red lodge. I am also thinking maybe I will ride them both ways. I will be coming from the east and passing through grey bull after heading through the big horn area. Then heading back east on my way home.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    So I have a few questions<o:p></o:p>
    1. Should I plan to do both directions of the road in one day, or try and plan to do one direction late on day, then the other direction the next morning<o:p></o:p>
    2. Is there gas between cody and Red Lodge (im thinking no) so that will mean getting a couple gallons of fuel on the bike since the best I can figure is 170 miles between the 2<o:p></o:p>
    3. If I go Cody->Red Lodge-> Cody do any of you have a route suggestion from cody to I94. This will be where I start my return trip home. And as brutal as it sounds I will be slabbing it back through ND to MN to get home a bit quicker<o:p></o:p>
    Thanks


    Here is what I am thinking for now. I will probably trailer the bike to Fargo, leave the cage there, and trailer back home. I have ridding all over MN and that way I can get some miles behind me by leaving after work

    [​IMG]
    #24
  5. GrizGirl

    GrizGirl Long timer

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    It sounds like you are trying to cut through Yellowstone to save miles. Keep in mind that even though it might be shorter it will take more time - maybe a lot more time. There is a 45mph speed limit that is strictly enforced in Yellowstone. The reason for that strict speed limit is sight lines are often short and animals are likely to run out in the road at any time. I spend a lot of time in the park and have seen many vehicles (motorcycles included) hit bison, elk, and deer because they were in too much of a hurry. Trust me, you do not want to hit a 2000 pound animal on your bike - you will not walk away from it. If you are going to Yellowstone to enjoy the park great. If you are going through Yellowstone and hoping to make time, find a different road. And yes, summertime traffic can be a nightmare.

    The western part of the Bear Tooth from the junction with The Chief Joseph Highway is the least scenic part of the road. Chief Joseph to the Beartooth and down to Red Lodge is amazing!!! Go that way and then figure out your route either to I-90 or back roads to hwy 89. I actually prefer the interstate as it is pretty scenic in that part of the world.
    #25
  6. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    I was planning to hit up yellowstone but through reading I think I will aviod it. Being bumper to bumper with vechiles and people isnt my idea of a good time and paying park entry and paying to camp if I so desire. Ide rather burn up a bush road and set the hammock out with a couple beer
    Right now my route is right around 3800 km and I am looking at 8 days not counting the frst 400km from Fort Frances to Fargo that I will do after work
    So 3500km in 8 days seems like I will have lots of time to explore if i even only aim for 5 hrs in the saddle a day
    If the first time I am looking to go dosent work out I will have a stretch of 11 days to burn in august where I would look to expand the ride into yellow stone /utah/idahoe then to billings and home

    I originally thought it was 170 miles from cody to red lodge. But its more like 170km. So with that new news from google maps I wouldnt be worried about gas. I can get 180 before the light comes on and will have 1/2 a gallon in MSR bottle just in case
    #26
  7. GrizGirl

    GrizGirl Long timer

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    You should be fine for gas. If things get desperate you can get gas at the Top of the World Store on the Beartooth.

    http://www.topoftheworldresort.com/tow_store_1.htm

    It's fun to take some of the dirt side roads off the Beartooth and park and explore a bit. Red Lodge is a great town as well - good restaurants. It is a great overnight destination!

    If you've never been to that part of the world prepare to be amazed. Even after going to the area for a few decades now I always find myself stopping to just take a moment to be in awe.
    #27
  8. red1100cc

    red1100cc motorcycle snowman

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    he's right. ride them both. i do it a couple times a year. best roads in the country as far as im concerned.
    #28
  9. WAH III

    WAH III Been here awhile

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    What Ekins said. Do both. I did the backtrack last year. The best part about getting to Red Lodge is that you get to turn around and ride one of the best motorcycle roads in the US AGAIN! :clap Oh, and CJ has tar snakes, once you get used to sliding on them it's sorta fun.
    #29
  10. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Both!!!
    ...Beartooth if forced to choose only 1.
    #30
  11. XRangerRides

    XRangerRides Adventurer

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    Planning a loop trip from home (Cape Cod) to Tahoe and back this summer. On the northern side of the loop we plan to ride the Beartooth and Chief Joseph. Timing could put us in the area during the annual Beartooth Rally (July 19 - 21, 2013). Does anybody know what Red Lodge is like during the rally? Not really looking for a mini-Sturgis type experience, but if it's a fairly laid back gathering it could add to the trip.
    Is the rally something to shoot for, or does it bog down the travel on the Beartooth and take away from that experience?

    Thanks -
    #31
  12. Truenorth2005

    Truenorth2005 Been here awhile

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    Rode Red Lodge over the Beartooth, did a loop through Yellowstone and out Cheif Joesph to Cody on the last weekend in August 2011. Spent a night, then turned around and rode back over CJB & BT the other way. I would do it again without a second thought anytime. You will never regret it unless you don't do it. Yellowstone was nice but CJB & BT are the main event.
    #32
  13. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    MONTANA NATIVE from NATIVE MONTANA

    Do both...you won't regret it.
    My opinion is that The Beartooth Highway is much more scenic but since you're gonna be right there, take the time for both.
    Our family had a home in Cooke City for 20 years. Drove the road a LOT.
    Watch for rocks / deer on road. They'll try to get you. (ask me how I know)
    #33