Beartooth Highway Montana

Excerpts From The Beartooth Report

Location: 1882 by General Philip H. Sheridan

August 26, resumed the march, passing through Cooke City, a mining town on the divide between the waters of the east fork of the Yellowstone River and Clarks Fork. Many of the mines here are considered valuable. There are about 100 houses in the city, with fair prospects of as many more in a few months, indicated by the quantities of freshly hewn logs lying about and the number of towns lots for sale. After stopping for only a short time to make some inquiries of the courteous inhabitants we continued on our way.

Just as we reached the summit of the divide, where the waters of Soda Butte Creek and Clarks Fork take their respective watersheds, we met a hunter, Mr. Geer, who considered himself so familiar with the Beartooth range of mountains that I was induced to abandon the old Clarks Fork trail and make an effort to cross that range, thus saving about three days in our journey to Billings station on the Northern Pacific railroad.

After meeting him and employing him as a guide, somewhat against the judgment of older guides, we passed down the mountain with much difficulty, on account of the burning forests, the fire extending across our line of march. The journey this day was through high mountain peaks, covered on top with perpetual snow. We encamped at the base of Index peak and Pilot knob, on the banks of Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone. This camp was named Camp Clark, after Captain W.P. Clark, second cavalry, our Indian interpreter. Distance marched, 31 miles; altitude of camp, 7,100 feet.

On the morning of August 27, under the direction of our new guide, we crossed to the north side of Clarks Fork and began the ascent of the Beartooth Range. This was long, but gradual, and quite feasible for a wagon road so far as the grade is concerned. The only difficulties which presented themselves during the day were bodies of densely growing timber at one or two places. However, we got through these without much delay, and about 12 o'clock encamped immediately under a very prominent landmark, called on the map Red butte. The camp was beautiful and was named Camp Gregory, after Colonel Gregory of my staff.