The Spectacular Red Lodge Highroad

What this booklet calls the Red Lodge Highroad, but which is known today as the Beartooth Highway–opened in 1936, which means NP probably issued this booklet in that year or soon after. In addition to the cover, six pages of this 12-page booklet describe and picture the new road, while the remaining five pages focus on Yellowstone itself.

Click image to download a 16.0-MB PDF of this 12-page booklet.

Between Cody, Gardiner, and Red Lodge, trains of the Northern Pacific and its partner/subsidiary Burlington reached three of the five major entrances to Yellowstone Park. Though often described as the most beautiful highway in America, Beartooth is the least-used entrance, probably because it’s corner of the region is so far from the thermal features that make the park unique.


The Spectacular Red Lodge Highroad — 1 Comment

  1. Nice pictures of the Red Jammers in the brochure, although the photographer kind of overdid the infrared look. The Beartooth Highway (only the NP tried to rename it) was a Godsend in the cash strapped Depression years. There was a lot of WPA/CCC money spent to build the road, and the NP, stuck with the Red Lodge branch, built to go to the coal mines, all of which were closed down by 1936, was hoping to make a go of it with tourists. By promoting the town and buying the old Pollard Hotel, the NP was hoping to make the Red Lodge/Cooke City entrance one of the major gateways to YNP. Didn’t work and, as you say, the Red Lodge entrance is still one of the least used to get to the park. Red Lodge used to be a real dump, with all sorts of abandoned buildings in among the few operating businesses in downtown Red Lodge right up into the 70’s. I guess it has had a lot of fixing up in recent years, and the population is finally starting to grow a little, although still only a couple of thousand people, much less than the 6,000 who lived there in 1920. The Beartooth Highway is beautiful, but it’s long and really curvy, and the weather can turn bad anytime of the year without warning. The area is a center of the few tornadoes Montana gets in a year. If you’ve got the time and resources, it’s a nice way to view a lot of not often visited parts of the park. Like you say, you need to like mountain scenery to make it worthwhile though since there’s no a geyser to be seen within eight hours of the entrance. No trains now either. The branch was pulled up sometime in the 60’s.

    Regards, Jim

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