Wednesday, October 16, 2019

2019 - Idaho_Montana - Part One

Part One
We departed home around 12:30 pm taking I-74 West through Champaign-Urbana and Peoria, IL to I-80 and our first night an Army Corp of Engineers campground on Lake Coralville located on the north side of Iowa City.  We stayed here last year and had a great site on the water to view a beautiful sunset. 

Blue lower route heading west and upper returning east.  Please note that there are some routes that were back up routes so disregard.

Cheyenne, WY to Chief Joseph Hwy., Yellowstone, to Ennis, MT

Ennis, MT, Gravelly Range Road, Centennial Highway and Red Rock Pass Road to Island Park, ID

We left early in the morning and continued across I-80 to Cheyenne, WY and Curt Gowdy State Park.  We had a great site overlooking one of the reservoirs.  Since we were in transit to our official start location, one night didn’t do justice to the state park.  We will have to return in the future.

On Saturday  we again departed early, taking I-25 North to Sheridan, WY and I-90 to Ranchester, WY where we picked up Wyoming 14 (Medicine Wheel Passage) to the split with Wyoming 14A.  We chose to continue on 14 to Cody, WY into the Bighorn Mountains crossing over Granite Pass (9,033 ele.) They had over 4”-6” overnight, and the road had been plowed earlier in the morning.  We continued through Cody, WY, taking the Chief Joseph Highway to within a couple of miles of the Beartooth Highway.  We camped at a USFS campground, Hunter Peak, on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River. Our campsite was 15’-20’ from the river.  This was a beautiful area.


Big Horn Mountains

Clarks Fork Canyon along the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River

Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River

We again left early in the morning, picking up the Beartooth Highway and continuing through Cooke City, MT to Yellowstone National Park.  We entered Yellowstone at the East Gate and spent a wonderful 2-1/2 hours driving through the park to the West Gate.  During the drive we saw numerous pronghorns and bison, a black bear, deer, and an Osprey.  This was the shortest time we have spent in Yellowstone.  It would have been nice to get a picture of the bear, but we weren’t going to stop in the middle of the road or pull over with half the truck in the road like the crazy people who don’t like to follow park rules.  We drove North out of the West Gate up Montana 287 past Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake, headed toward Ennis, MT and the Varney Bridge Campground along the Madison River.  Our campsite was 5’ from the river.  I spent 2 hours fly fishing in 30+ mph winds and a very strong current, shin high that almost knocked me over several time.  I didn’t even get a hit.

Tower Falls

 Big Horn Sheep along Hebgen Lake

 Varney Bridge Campground on the Madison River, near Ennis, MT

Madison Range - Spanish Peaks

Sarah enjoying the sun

Grilled Bison Burgers with goat cheese

 Madison Range & Spanish Peaks at sun rise


  1. John, you cast your fly line pon the Madison River, how cool is that! You two, along with Sarah had a great trip!

  2. Thanks for putting together your trip in the blog. And I enjoy the pictures of Sarah. Since I travel with my two dogs - keep the dog pictures coming. What canyon is shown in the picture immediately before the Hunter Peak sign photo?