Wild Vistas Traveling The Beartooth Highway

Wild Vistas Traveling The Beartooth Highway

Na Piet Say

ThBeartooth Highway - Beartooth Passe name “Beartooth” comes from a Crow name, Na Piet Say, meaning “the bear’s tooth” and refers to a sharp spire that juts from the Beartooth plateau. Traveler on the Beartooth All-American Road should watch for “the bear’s tooth” at the West Summit pull-out.

Granite Peak

Granite Peak, named for its pinnacle of glacial sculptured granite, is Montana’s highest mountain at 12,799 fee above sea level. Granite Peak is one of the most difficult U.S. state highpoint ascents, due to technical climbing, poor weather, and route finding. Granite Peak’s first ascent was made by Elers Koch on August 29, 1923 after several failed attempts by others. It was the last of the state highpoints to be climbed. Today, climbers typically spend two or three days ascending the peak, stopping over on the Froze-to-Death Plateau, although some climbers choose to ascend the peak in a single day.

Valley of the Clark’s Fork

The Beartooth All-AmeBeartooth Highway - Yellowstone National Parkrican Road passes through the Clarks Fork Valley. The Clark’s Fork River, running through the valley was named in honor of William Clark by Meriwether Lewis on their famous westward expedition. Neither Lewis or Clark ever saw this spectacular valley, but camped at the river’s confluence with the Yellowstone in 1804. John Colter, Lewis and Clark’s guide became the first white man to see this valley after he left the expedition in 1807. The valley has long been an artery for travel. The Bannock Indians of Idaho traversed the water course on their buffalo hunting trips and miners later used the Bannock Trail to reach the mines at Cooke City, Montana.

Rising over the Clark’s Fork Valley Pilot & Index Peaks (seen in the image above) are the most widely photographed peaks on the Beartooth Highway. Pilot Peak is often mistakes for the “bear’s tooth”. The two peaks were eroded almost to their present shape by glacial ice over 20 thousand years ago.

Visit our photo gallery page for more breathtaking images of the Beartooth All-American Road and surrounding areas.

Did You Know?

Clay Butte Lookout - Beartooth Highway

The Clay Butte Lookout was built in 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was used as a fire lookout. It was staffed until the 1960s, when aircraft proved a better tool for fire detection. Today, because of its popular scenic vantage point and proximity to the Beartooth Highway, Clay Butte is used as a visitor information site. It was remodeled in 1962 and has been staffed since 1975 by volunteers. The focus of Clay Butte today is to give visitors a glimpse of how fire lookouts functioned 60 years ago. Sightseers driving the scenic byway stop to obtain information or take in the view, which includes wildlife, botanical areas, the effects of the Clover-Mist wildfire of 1988, and the geology of ancient seas that once covered the Beartooth Plateau.


Beartooth Highway Wyoming & Montana

Whirlpools often form when water rushes through a rough channel.  Water glancing off rocks starts spinning as it is hit by other water rushing by.  Any material caught up in the whirlpool will spin with the water.  In time, spinning sand, pebbles and grave may carve potholes, like the ones seen in the rocks above the bridge.  During the construction of Lake Creek bridge, boulders were removed from the creek’s bed the water channel was changed exposing the potholes.  Watch for them when you visit Lake Creek Falls.