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Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

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San Antonio, Texas
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Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

We're considering flying to Rapid City to see Mt. Rushmore, then drive west on I-90 the next day to see the Little Big Horn battlefield staying in Hardin(?). Next day drive from there through Beartooth Pass stopping at Cooke City, then on to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, flying home from Jackson.

Anybody stayed in Hardin, maybe at the Kendrick House B&B? Certainly convenient to LBH, but where to stay? How long/tough a drive is it from there through to Cooke City? I can't figure how much time to allow for that drive through the Pass.

Thanks to all in advance.

Bemidji, Minnesota
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1. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

Google Maps says it's 171 miles form Hardin to Cooke City by way of the Beartooth and the actual driving time is only a little over 3 hours without stopping, but why wouldn't you stop. Beautiful scenery and places to stop and take photos or hike. Get a late start from Hardin so you make it to Red Lodge in time for lunch and you'll be in Cooke City in time for dinner.

Everett, Washington
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2. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

Depending on intended date check pass status. Usually open Memorial Weekend to mid-Sept. Early and late inseason expect a little slower if there is snow on road. Mid-season expect construction delays, the harsh climate and short season means they are always working on some part of the pass. If weather is clear really try to stop at the retired fire lookout at Clay Butte.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWLY1pV7VsE

hodgeman.ca/galleries/…lookout.htm

(just some random search results)

We lunched at Red Lodge (at Red Lodge Ales brewery) then did the pass and also stopped at the Clay Butte Lookout and still made it to Chico Hot Springs (30 mi. north of Gardiner) by 6pm and that included probably an hour of stops for construction.

Another thought on place to stay given all the things to see on way to LBH from Black Hills incuding driving Spearfish Canyon, Vore Buffalo Jump and Devils Tower. Perhaps stop at Sheridan and then do LBH in early morning and still lunch in Red Lodge before going over pass.

San Antonio, Texas
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3. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

Yep, I'm checking http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/ in the spring to monitor the status of Beartooth Pass. Hope it has a mild winter. I'll allow six hours for Hardin to Cooke City assuming stops and construction. Thanks for the info, I had thought stop in Billings to eat but will now go on to Red Lodge.

western WA
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4. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

I wouldn't spend the night in Hardin unless there are really good reviews of the B&B.

How much time are you spending at the battlefield? Are you going during a re-enactment or will you be in the area during Crow Fair? How about the motorcycle rally in Sturgis? These events will affect your trip if your stay coincides.

Most locals would take the route through Belle Fourche and Broadus rather than the interstate (except in winter). It is a good road, goes right through the reservation (look for tipi poles), and is scenic.

It is about an hour from Billings to Red Lodge, and just over an hour from the Battlefield to Billings. It's 4-5 hours from Rapid to Broadus, less if you're already west of Rapid (if you stay in Deadwood or Spearfish, for example). Not considered big drives by western standards, even if you spend three or four hours at the Battlefield. Going to see Devil's Tower takes a pretty big chunk of extra time if you are in a hurry.

Big Horn Canyon is amazing. You can drive up to see it by driving to Ok a Beh marina (and rent a boat there if you want to really see it). That's an all day excursion.

Without going up to the canyon, I'd recommend staying in Billings or pushing on to Red Lodge in the one day. Rapid City and over Beartooth Highway is definitely too much for one day, to be clear.

western WA
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5. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

I see I wrote "4 to 5 hours Rapid to Broadus", but I meant Crow Agency and the battlefield.

Billings, MT
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6. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

I totally agree with ainwa...I wouldn't spend the night in Hardin. Billings is just 45 more minutes down the road. On your way to Cooke City be sure to stop in Red Lodge. It's a great little town with fun shops and great places to eat. I hope you enjoy your trip up Cooke pass, it's absolutely beautiful.

San Antonio, Texas
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7. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

Ok, Crow Agency fits. And it looks like we avoid Hardin, which is apparently nobodys idea of a good time town.

I'm just wanting to see LBH for a couple of hours then on thru Beartooth the same day. We're not going to an event there.

Thanks again to all, very helpful.

San Antonio, Texas
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8. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

Ok, Crow Agency fits. And it looks like we avoid Hardin, which is apparently nobodys idea of a good time town.

I'm just wanting to see LBH for a couple of hours then on thru Beartooth the same day. We're not going to an event there.

Thanks again to all, very helpful.

Bozeman, Montana
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9. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

I would spend the day and spend the night in Red Lodge. It's a cute town with charming shops and good restaurants. The next day you could do the Bear Tooth highway and not feel rushed. You could then continue on and spend the night in Yellowstone, maybe at Old Faith Lodge or the Lake Hotel. I personally would not want to spend the night in Cooke City. There is nothing there.

western WA
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10. Re: Mt. Rushmore through LBH and Beartooth Pass to Cooke City?

Black Hills to Red Lodge with a few hours spent at the battlefield is enough for one day. Don't try to go up the pass at the very end of a long travel day -- it is too much. Stay in Red Lodge - it is lots of fun, and you'll be refreshed for the curvy drive.