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  1. #1

    Default US-212 in Montana: Good I-90 alternative?

    Hello all. Group newbie from Atlanta here. Can't believe it took me this long to find this awesome site.

    Actually, I've two questions concerning US-212 in Montana in early September.

    We'll be wrapping up three days in the Black Hills and heading to Yellowstone, but we've an extra day before we can check in at our Gardiner lodging. The various route mapping services suggest starting out on I-90 but I much prefer US routes unless there's a reason for avoiding them.

    So! Is there any good reason not to take 212 out of South Dakota and hook up with I-90 at Crow Agency? Both routes allow for visiting Little Bighorn.

    Also... We can spend the intermediate night in Billings easy enough, leaving a short-ish jaunt down to Gardiner for the next morning. OR we can spend the intermediate night in Cooke City, MT, though it would certainly take longer to get there (8 hrs or so). But that brings up what's likely a mountainous stretch of US-212. Has anyone driven the stretch from Laurel to Cooke City? The travel-time estimates suggest something like a 40mph average on that stretch.

    I'll soon be posting my own knowledge of other fun US routes. For example, anyone planning a drive across Texas on I-10 needs to consider US-90 out of San Antonio. Many stretches are posted 75 and the towns are few. There's only Del Rio as a city of any size, and I found that to be a great place to stay the night. The Judge Roy Bean Saloon and Museum in Langtry is a fine roadside attraction -- and even better is the Alamo Village east of Del Rio.

    Kind regards to all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It took me a while to remember where US-212 was!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragon View Post
    Can't believe it took me this long to find this awesome site.
    Well, we are glad you found us. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum. When you first posed US-212, the only stretch I could remember was the stretch south of Red Lodge going over Beartooth Pass (which is an awesome road) but I knew that wasn't near the Little Bighorn and so I was stumped for a while. I don't think I have driven the section between South Dakota and Crow Agency yet. However I do know something about the area.

    The town of Broadus is the county seat of Powder River County and the HQ (so to speak) for wildlife photography in this section of Montana. The Power River Valley is still relatively wild and big game can be seen here. It is also ground zero for fossil hunters -- this was the site of an ancient coastal zone and folks have found bits and pieces of T-Rex. Spearpoints and arrowheads are still found here as well. In town, there is the Powder River Historical Museum. -- I haven't been there yet, but I believe the original jail is still located at the rear of the museum grounds. The other thing that is cool are the arches constructed around the town. They are made from petrified wood and some are large enough to walk through.

    The Rosebud Battlefield State Monument is 20 miles south of US-212 on MT314 if you are interested in some of the history of the Indian Wars. And since you are going to Little Bighorn -- you might find this a good detour -- Rosebud was the turning point in terms of the Indian Nations coming together as decisive military force - as General Custer was to discover a few days later....

    Lame Deer is the HQ for the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and the site of one of the largest gatherings in the west (around July 4th each year).

    Another cool detour -- would be to go north and take the coal mine tour at Colstrip and if you like rock hounding -- the area around Colstrip is a good choice. There is a book I use whenever I travel around Montana -- you might find this very helpful as well -- It is the Ultimate Montana Encyclopedia and written by Michael and Heidi Doughterty -- my review here.
    I'll soon be posting my own knowledge of other fun US routes. For example, anyone planning a drive across Texas on I-10 needs to consider US-90 out of San Antonio. Many stretches are posted 75 and the towns are few. There's only Del Rio as a city of any size, and I found that to be a great place to stay the night. The Judge Roy Bean Saloon and Museum in Langtry is a fine roadside attraction -- and even better is the Alamo Village east of Del Rio.
    We look forward to learning more about your favorite routes.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-07-2007 at 04:37 PM. Reason: left out a word or two

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default I Agree - No Reason Not To

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I have not driven US-212 through southeastern Montana as you propose, but I have driven MT-200 from Lewiston to Glendive, which crosses similar terrain, only even more sparsely populated. I had a blast. They don't call this Big Sky Country for nothing. I would suggest that you use SD-34 and WY-24 from Belle Fourche, SD to Devils Tower National Monument before backtracking and using WY-112 north to make the connection with US-212.

    There are a series of switchbacks on US-212 just before it crosses from Montana into Wyoming climbing about 1000' in elevation onto the Beartooth Plateau. I think I'd want to do that in the cool of the morning with plenty of light, which argues for an overnight stop in Billings.

    And thanks for the offer to share your expertise. It's what makes this the "awesome site" that it is.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Just a sliver

    I've driven just a small part of US-212 in Montana, the stretch from Lame Deer (MT-39) back out to I-90 at Crow Agency. Unfortuantly, its been about a decade since I drove it, so nothing specific really jumps out at me, but I remember finding that area to be pretty enjoyable. I didn't stop for anything in that area, it was just a drive for the sake of enjoying the scenery type trip, and I do remember it fit the bill quite nicely.

    I'll also agree that MT-200 that Buck mentioned is another very nice drive. I used it as a shortcut from Glacier back to I-94, so I've driven the route from Little Falls to Glendive and found it to be an excellent road to appreciate the wide open spaces of Eastern Montana, with some nice friendly small towns along the way.

  5. #5

    Default

    Great thanks, you three good folks. I'm happy now that we have the extra day between the planned stops. I've forwarded the Devil's Tower and Rosebud Battlefield links to the other travelers. Glacier was on an earlier itinerary, but after Yellowstone we'll be heading west to the Oregon coast and down to the CA Redwoods. Thanks again!

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