When: Aug 22-25, 2010
Who: Justin and Leonard
Description: "The Beaten Path" 26 mile backpacking route from Cooke City to East Rosebud Lake near Red Lodge Montana. 4 days, incredible views, great backpacking, and good fishing.
The "Beaten Path" route through the Beartooths has been on my List for a couple years. It is described in several trip reports and guide books as the most scenic 26 miles in a park with a 700+ mile trail system. Our plan initially was to borrow 2 cars from family living in Billings, drop one off at the Clark Fork Trailhead near Cooke City and then drive the other back to East Rose Bud near Red Lodge. Once in Billings I was able to coherce my great brother Nate into dropping us off and picking us up...Thanks Nate!!!! Definitely saved us from getting a seriously late start and many hours of driving!!!
We began our Beaten Path route from the Cooke City side. It involved about 2000 less feet of elevation gain and put us a couple hours closer to our Billings...our destination for Wednesday night. Most guides recommend 5-10 days for this route...not because of the difficulty but the incredible views keep a 3 mph hiker to about a 1 mph average. Justin and I found this to be true very quickly.
Made it to Russel Lake - Gorgeous place to camp and do a little fishing.
Justin classic's...3 of many photo's he took on this route with his iPhone. I believe these are Skull Lake and Bald Nob...they are running together now that it has been a few days.
Day 3: Hiking towards Rainbow Lake and Impass falls.
For 90% of the great Beartooth experience...have a Dr. Pepper in Alpine from the Pepsi machine near East Rosebud lake, swim in the stream near the lake, and stop at the Grizzly Bar for the best Burger you have ever had...not sure if it would all be the same though without 4-7 days on the trail :)
BEATEN PATH CONCLUSION:
26 miles of gorgeous trail...definitely the most scenic backpacking trip I have done. The trail was in excellent condition and the "beaten path" does not describe it well. We saw maybe 3 groups on the first day, 1 on the second and third day, and a few on the way out. It did not seem crowded whatsoever. I will do this route again in the future and take more time...there are many opportunities to get off the beaten path...or even just relax and fish for an entire day. Definitely an adventure to be on anyone's life list!