The Beartooth Mountains have a bite
Montana is Big Sky Country and it also has abig backyard. We got a chance to explore part of that backyard and ride on a couple of the more beautiful trails we've experienced, which was a real treat for us, as getting out into the open wilderness is half the reason we go wheeling. Luckily, we picked a weekend in late August just before the weather started to turn cold, when we could get down near the tip of Yellowstone National Park on the Goose Lake Trail, and participate in the Ride to the Slide.
We hopped on Goose Lake Trail, located near Cooke City, outside of Yellowstone, and crisscrossed back and forth across the Montana-Wyoming border, past a series of natural snow-fed lakes and ponds strewn throughout the Beartooth Mountains. Our small trail group felt truly alone in the vast country, not seeing another vehicle or even hearing one save for a lone ATVer and his trusty dog.
The entire trail can be done with a decent 4x4 and moderate driving skills, and the country that we'll just refer to as "eye candy" is more than worth it.
Ride to the Slide is a fundraising event put on by the Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce with the help of trail leader and fellow wheeler Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg. The purpose was to help with the reopening of the Beartooth Highway, which closed in July after a number of landslides blocked access to trails in the Beartooth Mountains, that not only wheelers, but hikers, explorers, campers, and bikers used as well. It's going to cost $22 million to reopen the highway, so the least we off-roaders can do is pitch in and lend what help we can.