Summer Road Trip 2017, Part 10: Leaving Yellowstone
After two days exploring Yellowstone, it was time to head north out of Wyoming. I'm headed to Glacier National Park in northeast Montana. There's a couple of ways to get there from Yellowstone but the journey is the objective.
I've decided to take the longer route through Missoula, home to the University of Montana. I've alway wanted to visit Missoula but had never made it up there. I lived in Boulder, Colorado for 10 years and had always heard Missoula described as a smaller, less populated Boulder.
I was starting out from Yellowstone's Canyon Village Campground located at the east intersection of the north and south loop. I drove west to Morris then north toward the Mammoth Springs, a large developed area just inside The Park's northern boundary.
There was a lot of road construction north of Morris but my timing was impeccable and I made it through all the road blocks with minimal wait. That wasn't the case for cars heading southbound. Along the way I passed several amazing streams that I looked exceedingly fishable.
On the road between Norris and Mammoth I pull off at two point of interest; Rustic Falls and Golden Gate. Both are situated in a steep narrow canyon with amazing views of the canyon below. These were the last dramatic vistas I would have on my way out of Yellowstone.
Just north of Mammoth, the road to Yellowstone's North Entrance crosses the Wyoming-Montana state line. So, the northernmost edge of Yellowstone is actually in Montana. The state line here is nondescript, with a relatively small wooden trail sign marking ones passage into the State of Montana. I didn't see a reciprocal sign for southbound cars entering Wyoming.
On a winding section of road just before the North Entrance gate, I noticed a sign with a lot of information that wasn't really legible as I drove by the first time. It seemed important so I found a place to turn around so I could go back and investigate. The sign was there to make the 45th parallel of latitude, "Halfway Between the Equator and the North Pole." That's pretty cool.
From there it was only a few minutes drive before I was leaving Yellowstone National Park and entering the town of Gardiner, Montana. Roosevelt Arch marks the Park's North Entrance. Roosevelt himself is said to have placed the cornerstone in 1903. The arch itself is date 1872, which pays homage to the Organic Act, the act of Congress that created Yellowstone National Park.
On my way through downtown Gardiner, I dropped into K-Bar Pizza to eat some food and drink some beer. Since I had cell service, I took the opportunity to familiarize myself with the route between Gardiner and Glacier before getting back on the road.
From Gardiner, I'll head east to Missoula, then turn north, skirting the east shore of Lake Flathead, on the way to West Glacier. I plan to sleep at a rest area along Interstate 90 or in a national forest somewhere before Missoula.