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Old 03-06-2021, 04:33 PM   #1
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Northeast route into Yellowstone, Intimidating?

Have reservations in west Yellowstone late summer, coming from Badlands in South Dakota. Planning on dropping down off I 90 onto Hwy 212 into Red Lodge and from there into northeast entrance to the park. 2019 AB 37 AP in good repair towing a Chevy Equinox (4464 lbs). Is this an intimidating drive or pretty doable? Would prefer not to unhook the Equinox unless absolutely necessary. Are there any pull offs to rest things a bit? Have climbed mountains in Tn / NC without trouble, usually at 50mph, but know this western drive is a horse of a different color.
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Old 03-06-2021, 07:41 PM   #2
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I lived in Billings for many years. You will not make any friends driving the Beartooth Highway as it is very windy and you will be slow. Lots of turnouts so no issues there.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:16 PM   #3
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We have not driven 212 for the NE entrance. Road to north entrance from I90 and US 14 from Cody to east entrance are no problem. We have driven both in our 40 ft Phaeton towing a CRV. Yes, you will be slow at times.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:00 PM   #4
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You will be an experienced mountain driver by the time you make that route. Beartooth Pass highway is the longest stretch of road above 10,000 feet in North America and is nothing like the hills of TN. It's a beautiful drive, but a long climb and winding in places. There is a large rest area at the top of the climb out of Red Lodge. Also, once you are in the park, going around the north side is very winding and narrow. If you want an easier route, drop down to Cody and take US14 around the south loop or stay on I90 toward Bozeman and take US191 south. The 191 route will actually be faster and shorter than going Beartooth Pass. Below is just a section of the pass highway.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:21 PM   #5
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Have entered Yellowstone from every entrance except for the East entrance.

Beartooth Pass highway 212 is flat-out a gorgeous drive. Can not say that it is super challenging, but it will test your engines power output, and your lung capacity at 10,947 feet.

Personally, I did not feel the altitude, until we stopped for a leg stretch near the summit. Was surprised that just walking outside on level ground was making me breath heavy. Our Banks turbo charged F350 was even having trouble not rolling coal (smoking) at that elevation.

My parents also drove there first motorhome over Beartooth pass. They used the low range gears going up from Billings and down into Tower Junction. Near Tower they pulled over to let traffic pass, and that was as far as the transmission was taking them. They eventually were towed through the park, and into Gardiner, MT. A nice transmission shop there replaced the burned up, over heated transmission.

My advice is make sure your RV is in good service, has a nice transmission cooler, and a transmission temperature gauge you can monitor.
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:41 PM   #6
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Drive the toad over Beartooth. Leave your rig in camp.
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Old 03-07-2021, 06:54 AM   #7
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We are doing the same thing, in mid-August. Wave. Yeah I was thinking 191 if we don't just stay in Bozeman. Super pretty road.

Grades aren't any worse out west than they are back east, they are just longer. Really got to keep an eye on your temps. Let your fingers to the walking; manually downshift and keep your RPM at 2000, four gears is enough most of the time and in my rig (40', 450HP) 2000 in 4th gets you 55mph, which ain't bad. Don't shut it off hot! Let it idle a few minutes
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:26 AM   #8
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Most people who have driven a large RV over Bear Tooth Pass say don't do it! All the people in cars behind a large RV on Bear Tooth Pass say don't do it!

I would suggest the route shown HERE.

Exit I90 a Buffalo, WY. Take US16 over Powder River Pass and US20 to Thermopolis. If you like you can take a dip in the natural hot springs in Thermopolis. This is a really nice break if you have kids. Nice swimming pools. From Thermopolis go north on WY120 through Cody to the intersection with WY296. Follow WY296 over Dead Indian Pass to US212 and then west into the park.

From Cody this is a VERY scenic drive. See the attached picture looking west from the summit of Dead Indian Pass.

There are 2 passes on this route, neither are nearly as challenging as Bear Tooth Pass! Do note, the road from Yellowstone North East Gate to Tower Junction in the park is narrow. No grades or winding roads but narrow.

This route is considerably shorter than your proposed route, has nice scenery and a LOT less white knuckle driving!
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Old 03-07-2021, 08:37 AM   #9
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yellowstone Route

Thanks for the great information gentlemen! Will alter route accordingly to avoid Bear Tooth Pass,
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Old 03-07-2021, 10:09 AM   #10
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Hwy. 212 over Beartooth Pass has a much worse reputation than it deserves. Don't let people scare you. I routinely tow my 5th wheel over it with zero problem, and I'm a flatlander from Illinois. I frequently see 18 wheelers crossing over it. Charles Kuralt called it the most spectacular road in the country, and have to agree.

You would be going east to west, which is not at all difficult. The way up will be steep with tight curves. However, tight curves aren't much of a problem when you're crawling up a steep grade. Going down the west side is much less steep, and the curves aren't as tight.

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Old 03-07-2021, 10:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeloduster View Post
Most people who have driven a large RV over Bear Tooth Pass say don't do it! All the people in cars behind a large RV on Bear Tooth Pass say don't do it!

I would suggest the route shown HERE.

Exit I90 a Buffalo, WY. Take US16 over Powder River Pass and US20 to Thermopolis. If you like you can take a dip in the natural hot springs in Thermopolis. This is a really nice break if you have kids. Nice swimming pools. From Thermopolis go north on WY120 through Cody to the intersection with WY296. Follow WY296 over Dead Indian Pass to US212 and then west into the park.

From Cody this is a VERY scenic drive. See the attached picture looking west from the summit of Dead Indian Pass.

There are 2 passes on this route, neither are nearly as challenging as Bear Tooth Pass! Do note, the road from Yellowstone North East Gate to Tower Junction in the park is narrow. No grades or winding roads but narrow.

This route is considerably shorter than your proposed route, has nice scenery and a LOT less white knuckle driving!

North bound, going down from the summit of WY296(Chief Joseph Hwy.) is a much more difficult drive than going down the west side of Beartooth Pass. However, for those who do select this route, stop in the large parking lot just before the Sunlight Creek bridge. Get out of your vehicle, and look down over the edge.


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Old 03-07-2021, 12:51 PM   #12
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The folks who tell you not to drive the Beartooth are probably the same ones who tell you not to drive US550 in Colorado. If you are comfortable with mountain driving, do it. Numerous carriers run semis over those routes every day. Altitude is not an issue for a diesel coach.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:12 PM   #13
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Beartooth pass is not a road for RV’s. Take a different route, like thru Cody, then drive your toad over it and enjoy the ride. Jeff.
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:01 AM   #14
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Beartooth pass is not a road for RVís. Take a different route, like thru Cody, then drive your toad over it and enjoy the ride. Jeff.

On any summer day, there will be hundreds of RV drivers (including me) who disagree with you as they calmly drive over the pass. Quite a few semi drivers too. It really isn't difficult.


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