The Bighorns, The Beartooth and A Little Cody In Between

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RozzyCat, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,306
    Location:
    Down by the river
    Just the facts......

    Locations:
    The Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming
    Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana
    Sheridan, WY (Start/End)
    Cody, WY
    Red Lodge, MT
    Big Timber, MT

    Stats:
    14 days out
    3200 miles on truck (to/from Sheridan)
    1700 miles on KTM 890 Adventure Rally
    40 miles hiking/walking
    50% camping
    50% motels

    Bike: 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R Rally

    Tires: Front - TKC 80 (34psi)
    Rear - Mitas E-07 Dakar (34psi)

    Luggage: 30L & 10L Kreiga (tailbags)
    10L Kreiga (tank bag)
    Giant Loop Mojave
    Camelbak Mule
    1gal Giant Loop gas bag

    Gear: KLIM Badlands jacket/pants
    KLIM Krios Pro helmet
    KLIM Adventure gloves
    Sidi Adventure Rain boots
    Smartwool socks
    Lots of footpowder

    Useful Hacks:

    • Use a 55 gal trash bag for drop cloth and storing gear overnight (instead of tarp).
    • Use a Rok Strap lashed together for a belt.
    • Use Tyvek for vestibule groundcloth.

    Wildlife sightings:
    5 moose
    1 golden eagle
    1 black bear
    10+ antelope
    Many, many deer (especially in towns)


    The Logistics Plan

    - Check out the 100 mile Bighorn ultramarathon course to evaluate my participation in 2022.
    • Stay in the same location for several nights so I’m able to dive deep into the terrain and ride without (heavy) camping gear on the bike.
    • Hike, walk or trail run every couple of days (to feed the ultrarunner in me).
    • No cooking. Eat as food is available.
    • See Buffalo Bill’s Center for the West.
    #1
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  2. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Down by the river
    The Bighorns

    My first objective was to check out the North Tongue River Canyon trail. This trail is the starting and ending section of the Bighorn 100 ultramarathon. I hiked 6 miles out (uphill) and ran back. A magnificent canyon and experience!!!

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    The next day I rode north of the national forest out Red Canyon Creek to reach the Little Bighorn River. Unfortunately the trail along the river (part of the ultramarathon course) was closed due to the Cedar Ridge fire nearby. So I rode further northwest to arrive at Windy Point Lookout. Much of this route had been very rocky and tiring. So I chose to take the NF road south toward Leaky Mountain - hoping it would be easier. Ten miles in to this road - closure due to fire traffic. Now I had to backtrack an additional 10 miles plus ride the rocky sections in order to get back to Sheridan. A LONG day in the saddle at 10 hours. Tired and satisfied. It was good to have a shower and a bed to sleep in tonight.

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    #2
  3. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The BIGHORNS (continued)

    Day three brought more sunshine and perfect temperatures to head up into the Bighorn NF proper for three nights of camping at North Tongue River campground. I prefer to stay in developed campgrounds when riding solo for security and bear box availability. After pitching the tent I head out to hit some jeep roads and ATV trails for a warmup ride - eventually arriving at Freeze Out Point.

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    Later that night a storm rolled in with plenty of rain, lightning and thunder. An early morning lightning flash nearby and immediate HUGE thunderclap made me sit up to make sure I was still living and hadn’t wet the sleeping bag! HA! Then it started hailing. Really hailing. That lasted for about 15 minutes and covered the ground. Fortunately my Big Agnes gear was weatherproof and I was able to stay warm and dry until the weather broke in the late morning.

    Let’s ride!

    #3
  4. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Down by the river
    Much of the above footage is from my ride in the Shell Reservoir area.

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    The view from Freeze Out Point

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    This was posted in a nearby treeline. RIP S.H.

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    One of the many 4WD roads in the area.

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    Hey somebody put in pavers here! HA!

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    I believe this is Hunt Mountain

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    The ATV trails had some challenging sections but were mostly pretty tame and navigable on a big bike.

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    I love to see that ribbon of narrow dirt leading to "nowhere".

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    Shell Reservoir in the distance.

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    Taking a break at Shell Reservoir to enjoy the sun, scenery and tranquility.

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    Once past the reservoir - I continued riding to the Wilderness boundary. The route became fairly gnarly in this section.

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    I was anxious to circumnavigate the Shell/Adeline Lake trail back to the main road. However my better judgment got ahold of me at this juncture and I decided it best to turn around since I was solo.
    #4
  5. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The BIGHORNS (continued)

    In order to feed my need for cardio and leg propulsion - I hiked 3-5 miles in the mornings and/or evenings from the campground. These walks were tranquil and serene - and filled with memorable scenes and landscapes.

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    The bike loaded with camping gear.
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    My home for three nights at North Tongue River campground.


    Scenes from along the river.....
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    #5
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  6. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    After three nights at North Tongue River - I packed up and headed to Cody, WY. After riding the twisties on Hwy 14a - I rode out to Devil’s Canyon Overlook within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The temperature here was twenty degrees warmer than at North Tongue.

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    Devil's Canyon Overlook

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    #6
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  7. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Once in Cody, I settled into the Sunrise Inn and got my ticket for Buffalo Bill’s Center of the West. Here I spent all day touring the five museums - fascinated by the quality and breadth of content from firearms to Native Americans tribes to the Wild West show. Well worth the price of admission! Highly recommended.

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    My next camper?

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    Comic relief. :-)

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    For all of us Gunsmoke fans....Marshall Dillion's revolver. Personally I'm a big fan of Festus.

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    Dinner at Irma's. This is the original hotel/saloon owned by Buffalo Bill and named for his daughter.

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    Complete with a gunfight out back everynight. :-)
    #7
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  8. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Down by the river
    The Beartooth...

    After a few nights - it was time to head north to Red Lodge, Montana via the Chief Joseph and Beartooth Pass highways. Both afforded spectacular views and fun curves. I jumped onto dirt roads a couple of times to mix up the ride. Of special note - Hellroaring Road rises out of the Rock Creek valley over seven miles of rugged terrain to the Hellroaring Plateau. See video below.


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    The top of the pass.


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    And coming down the western side of the pass.


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    Some delicious gravel on the way to Red Lodge.


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    I have a soft spot in my heart for any kind of horsepower. :-)


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    Seven miles up gnarly Hellroaring Road lands you at the Wilderness boundary.

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    The 890 has performed flawlessly and I'm loving it!


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    The view of Beartooth Pass from Hellroaring Road. Quite impressive!


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    Heading back down Hellroaring to Hwy212.

    Here is some video from the day - mostly Hellroaring Road.

    #8
  9. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    The BEARTOOTH (continued)

    Using Red Lodge as my base for a few days - I scouted the northeastern range of the Beartooth Mountains. My favorite ride was heading out past Nye to Picket Pin road and on to Chrome Mountain. After several hours of riding west and arriving at Chrome Mountain - I was treated to a helicopter touchdown/takeoff. I met the three helicopter passengers later when I was eating dinner in Nye. Turns out they are geophysicists who were mapping minerals on the mountain for a mining company.

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    The route out to Chrome Mountain. Long and sometimes gnarly.

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    Picket Pin Mountain Road

    #9
  10. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    East Rosebud Creek/Lake

    Leaving Red Lodge - I pointed La Bonita (my motorcycle) towards East Rosebud Lake campground for a day of hiking the Phantom Creek trail. I found a day off the bike every few days was good for me and provided some welcomed variety and caloric burn.

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    A meadow along Phantom Creek trail.


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    East Rosebud Lake - not a bad place for a cabin.

    #10
  11. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

    Joined:
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    The Beartooth (continued)

    Leaving the campground in the morning - I rode mostly gravel and dirt into Big Timber for lunch. After which I headed south on Main Boulder Road into the northwestern range of the Beartooth Mountains. This road starts as tarmac and turns to good gravel and gradually degrades into a jeep road. I made Hicks Park campground my home for several nights adjacent to the Boulder River.

    Heading south out of the campground - the road becomes gnarly, steep and rocky as it makes its way up to Independence Mine. Unfortunately I didn’t have it in me to reach the mine given the difficult terrain and my riding solo. So I turned around after some miles and headed back north to explore some other areas.



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    These guys made it up the hill and I'm betting they made it to Independence.


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    Me? I didn't quite make it. Loose rocks and steep grades got the best of me. :-)
    #11
  12. RozzyCat

    RozzyCat Bleeds orange Supporter

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    The End...

    My final day out I decided to hike nearby at Upside Creek. About twenty minutes into the hike I spot a bear at 100 feet. We look at each other for a bit until we both decide it’s best to go our separate ways. I head back down the trail and across the road to hike another local trail for awhile.

    Once back at camp - I load up the 890 and take off for the long ride back to Sheridan.

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    Who says the USFS doesn't have a sense of humor??? Ha!


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    30 mph winds from the west blew in smoke for the wildfires on my last day. It looked like Armageddon.


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    Uncle Sam's Eatery provided an excellent lunch on the way back to Sheridan.
    #12
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  13. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Seattle
    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

    Chris
    #13
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  14. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
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    Arkansas near Oklahoma
    Looks like Good Times. Thanks!
    #14
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  15. Aikenrunner

    Aikenrunner Adventurer Supporter

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    Location:
    Aiken South Carolina
    Beautiful scenery! Thanks for posting
    #15
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  16. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

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    Dixie
    Thanks for posting. Beautiful scenery. I wondered about Hell Roaring Rd. Glad I didn't try it with my wife on back. Or even by myself.:lol3
    #16
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  17. bete

    bete misguided adventurer

    Joined:
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    You did good for being on a big bike, some of that would have been tough for me on my 250.
    #17
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  18. Folly1

    Folly1 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Good job with story and pics.
    Thanks,

    b
    #18
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  19. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    where elephants roam
    Some killer pics! Very cool....
    #19
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  20. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

    Joined:
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    Great ride, report, and photos! :clap
    #20
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