Work trip to Billings, MT

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,669
It looks like I'm going to need to take a work trip up to Billings, Montana this spring. It'll probably be sometime between mid-May and mid-June. I'm trying to figure out what fun stuff I can do to extend it a bit and make the drive a little more worthwhile. The first thing that comes to mind is that this time might be good for seeing wildlife in Yellowstone, particularly babies.

The problem is that if my wife and I both go, which would be great, we'll probably have to bring a dog. We'll have the camper so I think she'd be okay in there for driving around and maybe even leave her in there for short walks in the park, but it definitely limits us a bit. I'm curious what else we could do in the area and where we could find good primitive camping that is not in Yellowstone. Beartooth Pass looks awesome and from what I've read, that road usually opens the Saturday before Memorial Day. Is there any good hiking that early though, or is it probably going to be snow covered? What else? I may have to do this trip solo if we can't bring a dog, which I'm not super fond of in grizzly country.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

b.stark

Forever Wandering
.
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
527
Wish I could give you some sound advice... only ever been to Yellowstone/Beartooths area in mid July or later. I try to hit the Beartooth highway if I'm nearby no matter the conditions, and if you've never been, just do it and get in any hiking along the way that you can access. By late June, you'll probably have access to some stuff at lower elevations. Could camp at East Rosebud TH area and hike up the "beaten path" far as you can too.
 

Rockskipper

No ETA
.
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,335
There are some really good folks in Livingston who would care for your dog either daily or even overnight for a moderate price. I can give you some info if interested. If I'm still here, I would gladly do it. It's actually quicker to go to Yellowstone through Livingston from Billings rather than over Beartooth, though Beartooth really is not to be missed, if it's open. There is also FS camping which should be open by then near Livingston in the Paradise Valley and on down near Gardiner, but if you reserve it now, you could camp in the park itself. But by June it will be a zoo down there.

But I don't see a problem with taking your dog into the park. It should still be fairly cool and leaving him/her in the camper shouldn't be a problem, though it's kind of a pain walking them as you're so limited. There's tons of backcountry you could visit outside of the park - I really like Livingston, as it has lots of good places to eat (don't miss the Soup Bar) and nice people. I've camped lots just on the edge of town and never had anyone complain. It's an easy drive to Billings. And odds are good you won't see any grizz while hiking with the dog. If you had time, the Crazy Mtns would be a swell place to go. If @Kmatjhwy is around, she can give you tons of info.

If it were me, I'd come from SLC through W. Yellowstone and spend a few days in the park (if you can get camping reservations), then go either through Cody or over Beartooth to Red Cloud and Billings, then come back through Livingston and the Paradise Valley and back into the north end of the park. There are two hot springs in Paradise Valley - Chico and a new one that's opening in March, Yellowstone Hot Springs.

http://yellowstonehotspringsmt.com/?fbclid=IwAR1EwPLsq2I5Q7I7ODXXCdgpFPiGOlkGywQpvMU-gnArmlHshqOjtA71VvU

But with your camper, even in the high season, you'll find lots of places (outside the park) you can pull over for the night if you just want to boondock. This part of Montana hasn't had nearly as much snow as last year, and I would guess it's nothing like you guys have had over your way, so I'm going to guess Beartooth will be open by the end of May no problems. Last year in July the Yellowstone River was almost still at flood stage, and right now there just isn't comparatively that much snow, though the past several weeks have been brutally cold.
 
Last edited:

Nick

Spiral out.
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,669
Thanks for all the input! I still haven't been able to tie down dates for this. Just curious, do you think a trip through there around May 9th this year would be very interesting? An abundance of baby animals would be a big draw if they're out by then. I'm guessing Beartooth Pass won't be open though, and that would be a bummer.
 

MikeM

Member
.
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
310
Hi @Nick - The below link says Beartooth isn't scheduled to open until May 24th. I don't know this for sure, but there is a gate that stays closed down by Red Lodge, which they might not open until that date, regardless of how early the DOT is able to clear snow. Might be worth a call to the DOT or even one of the tourist info places in Red Lodge.

https://www.yellowstonepark.com/news/2015-spring-road-opening
 

MikeM

Member
.
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
310
@Rockskipper have you been to that Yellowstone Hot Springs yet? We were in Gardner last month and wanted to check it out but ended up not having the time, but I'm curious you're thoughts if you've been there.
 

Rockskipper

No ETA
.
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,335
@Rockskipper have you been to that Yellowstone Hot Springs yet? We were in Gardner last month and wanted to check it out but ended up not having the time, but I'm curious you're thoughts if you've been there.
No, haven't been there, but the video on their website looked nice. I did see the sign last time I was down that way. I'm going to Chico next week, maybe after that.
 

Rockskipper

No ETA
.
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,335
Not sure how many babies you'll see in Yellowstone, @Nick . The park just announced the first bison calf (that they know of, of course) last week. The elk calf rate is down from the bad winter. I didn't see any babies last week when I was down there. I did see a nice herd of bison grazing in the employee's housing yards below Mammoth. I wouldn't be surprised if that isn't the best place to see babies, as they know they're safe from wolves.

As for that snow video, they're not even close to the top, where the deep snows are.
 
Last edited:

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Rockskipper

No ETA
.
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,335
Just go sit in the Boiling River, though it might be a little high from the runoff right now. It is in the park, so you need a pass, but to soak costs nothing extra.
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
205
If you’re definitely going to Billings, and you have the opportunity, do go to Livingston and into the north end of the park. The Beartooth is just going to be snow, but the lower elevations in Yellowstone should be beautiful—if sort of snowy. There are never guarantees of seeing wildlife, but they’ve been seeing lots of moose at the Confluence and Round Prairie, and there are plenty of reports of grizzlies that are out and eating on carcasses. Personal opinion—it’s always worth a trip to Yellowstone! (Possibly I’m biased.) I’m anxiously waiting for my end of the park to open so I can go looking for animals.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top