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Old 05-12-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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Sylvan Pass & Bear Tooth Hwy

I'm planning a trip this summer which takes us east from Yellowstone to Cody. The Mountain Directory West describes eastbound as dropping 1500' in 6 miles and a steady 6-7% descent for about 4.5 miles then the last 1.5 is a 5-6% grade. When I drove it in a van east to west a few years ago, I don't remember it being all that steep but then I wasn't concerned with a heavy vehicle towing another vehicle.

I'm sure others have traveled east out of Yellowstone in a motorhome towing a jeep and we don't have anything to worry about. Right?

I guess the gas mileage will be really good that day!

I also need opinions on the next part of our trip. I'm planning for a few nights in or near Cody. Right now, I'm really leaning toward Buffalo Bill State Park as a home base. We'd like to travel the Bear Tooth Hwy and while it would be a VERY long day, considering taking 120 (Belfry Hwy) north from Cody to either 296 (Chief Joseph Hwy) to 212 (Bear Tooth) and take the east part of it back to Red Lodge then across to 72 and south to 120 & back to Cody OR would it be better to go counter clockwise (Red Lodge - Bear Tooth- Chief Joseph)? It looks to be about a 175 mile round trip.

We'd miss the section of Bear Tooth from the north entrance to Yellowstone to the junction with 296.

Assuming my directions made sense, is that doable and which direction would be best?
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:56 PM   #2
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I too am planning a Beartooth trip this summer but I have a v8 SUV towing a pop-top (3000#).

Hey everyone, please give us your thoughts.

Thanks,
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:07 PM   #3
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neil.ervin,

I posed this same question on another forum and had several replies. From what was said, I doubt you'd have a problem. One who answered said he'd traveled it in his Class C w/o a toad and had no issues. Apparently, seeing RVs on the Beartooth is not uncommon. I think the highest peak is around 11,000 ft so if your truck can do heights, you should be good.

Maybe no one here has been that route? Dunno.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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I did it four years ago, coming from the little town near the Little Bighorn Battlefield Memorial over Beartooth, driving my 2000 Georgetown 360SS towing a Jeep Liberty.

The Auto Club routed me that way, not knowing what I was driving. I drove all the way to Afton, WY, that day, and had sucked most of the upholstery off the driver's seat by the time I got to Afton!

We had to be in Montpelier, ID the next day.

I never saw another motorhome until I got to the middle of the park.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:10 AM   #5
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Freds342,

I would not want to try to drive anything that big on that road and I've only seen pictures of it! Looks like lots of switchbacks and steep climbs/descents. I'd think the total length of the rig and the length of the tow vehicle would play a huge factor on the "puck-o-meter reading". I'm glad you made it without any damage except for the upholstery and your nerves.

neil.ervin> I checked our Mountain Directory West and it says there are multiple long 6-7% stretches with 20mph switchbacks and one section has a 9% grade. Its description is much more detailed that mine though. If you don't have a copy, I'll suggest that you get one. Lots of really good info on what might be problem areas on many many highways through the western states. You can decide if you want to avoid a particular route or at least have a warning on what to expect if you do take it.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:43 AM   #6
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Yellowstone trip

Heading east out of Yellowstone down Sylvan Pass won't be a problem if you take it slow and watch your brake temperature. There are several pullouts so you can stop and wait for things to cool down if you need to.

The Buffalo Bill state park at the reservoir has little shade and can be very windy at times. Wapiti campground on the Shoshone forest has electric and water available but is further west than you might want to stay. You might also check the Ponderosa Campground in Cody. There is also a KOA and Absaroka Bay campground in town.

Going over the Beartooth Hwy to Red Lodge is a great day trip. I prefer to go counter-clockwise so the trip back into Cody doesn't seem so long at the end of the day (and you have a better chance of seeing some bears coming out on Chief Joseph late in the day). Look up the Regis Restaurant in Red Lodge for breakfast if you plan to eat before you go over the top of the pass.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:19 AM   #7
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We drove our Solear from Cody to Yellowstone. It's a great drive, not bad at all.
Now the Beartooth. We drove it in a rental car. O not think I would want to try it in a mh. Lots of switchbacks. My wife got car sick that day.
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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My wife took a pic of the GPS at 11,925'!

BTW, after we got to Afton, it took five beers to get my fingers to uncurl
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:37 PM   #9
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KarenS144,

I'm not too concerned. I have a V8 Armada w/tow package pulling a small Rockwood AFrame trailer (3000#). I'm used to WV's twisty roads and AZ's steep grades. Solution: take it slow, as the speed limits must dictate, and don't ride the brakes.

Thanks tho.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by papap View Post
We drove our Solear from Cody to Yellowstone. It's a great drive, not bad at all.
Now the Beartooth. We drove it in a rental car. O not think I would want to try it in a mh. Lots of switchbacks. My wife got car sick that day.

We have a 33ft Class C with tow dolly. Coming from the east, how do you feel about taking the southern route 16 (Big Horn) to Cody, then the East entrance (Sylvan Pass) to Fishing Bridge?
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