Exploring Billings, Montana to Yellowstone National Park via the Treacherous Bear Tooth Pass

After exploring the area around Rapid City, SD, we headed west to Billings, MT  and then on to Yellowstone. En route to Billings, we drove through a piece of Wyoming (check another state off my list) and by Devil’s Tower.

Devil’s Tower is composed of igneous rock and is located near Hulett and Sundance in northeastern Wyoming. The summit is 5,112 feet above sea level. Devil’s Tower was declared a U.S. National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906. The monument has strong significance to several Native American tribes. According to the Kiowa and Lakota tribes, a group of girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. (these are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devil’s Tower.) When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the stars of the Pleiades. The monument is a sight to behold and can be seen from many miles away.

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Continuing our quest west, we were greeted with these amazing clouds and mountain views in the distance. The photo below doesn’t do it justice. It was so beautiful…definitely postcard worthy.

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Another site to behold – a sleeping Creighton. He does not sleep in the car…ever. So the fact that we finally bored him into slumber was quite the feat.

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Okay, so apparently Amber and I were really boring that day. Everyone in the back seat fell asleep on us.

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After spending a night in Billing, Montana (check another state off), we set out for Yellowstone. Amber drove and left the route up to me. I did some research and decided we should take the “beautiful, scenic route” via Bear Tooth Pass, which had recently opened for the summer. Well, it was definitely a beautiful drive – the area has to be one of the most beautiful in the U.S. However, it was harrowing and scary at times. I am not a fan of one lane blind curves with nothing but a mountain cliff on one side (cough, cough Ireland, I am looking at you) and we drove though several of those. Luckily, Amber is a rock star driver and tackled them like a pro while I just looked the other way. The views were amazing, every which way we looked.

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It is kind of hard to tell but the photo below is of a really pretty waterfall we saw along the way

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We stopped at the lookout below to give Amber a break and to take the views in. There were these little ground squirrels all over at this spot. They were really quick…and loved Ritz crackers.

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More views as we drove along…

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(singing) Do you want to build a snowman?

Oh wait, someone already did.

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I can make a snowball though.

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And finally, we made it (yes, it was raining).

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