reports – Beartooth Highway

In a recent article posted to reporter Katia Hetter includes the Beartooth Highway as one of 7 stunning U.S. spots for wildlife watching.¬† We agree!¬† Here’s what she had to say:


Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming

The late CBS News travel correspondent Charles Kuralt called U.S. 212, or Beartooth Highway, “the most beautiful road in America.” For me, it’s true. My jaw dropped open in awe the entire drive; this was a continual scenic vista on steroids. I recommend you drive this magnificent 67-mile highway by all means, but get out of the car as well. There are many beautiful lakes to see a short walk from the road. The Island Lake trailhead, one mile east of the Top of the World Store at the end of a short road to Island Lake Campground, provides as much or as little a hike as you like.

Be sure to look (and listen) for pika along the route. Besides frog, pika are a favorite critter of mine. These intrepid creatures live at high altitudes and do not hibernate in the winter. Instead they gather vegetation in haystacks to dry for winter forage. And they are also unbearably cute. Listen for their distinctive high-pitched chirping as you walk through rocky terrain.

And the springtime wildflowers are stunning. I cherish the delicate sky pilot because the flowers seem to me like precious gems worn by the mountains. But the endless meadows filled with a purple-blue ocean of lupine, or the sunset orange-red of the Indian paintbrush (Wyoming’s state flower) will leave you speechless. The road usually opens, depending on snow conditions, mid-April to mid-June.

By Katia Hetter, CNN
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon April 22, 2013


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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.

Fishing Beartooth Highway

The cutthroat is the only true western native trout. Originally wide spread throughout the state, it is now relegated to the higher, cooler, more inaccessible back country lakes and streams. Cutthroats are easily identified by the bright red “cut” on the lower jaw.