Day 25 – Wyoming Route 14, The Most Scenic Drive In The USA

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Miles To Date: 
3 191

Or so it said on a guidebook I saw in a shop today. I haven’t driven every road in the USA but so far would have to agree. The day began in Sheridan, and a short stretch on the I90 motorway before we reached route 14. This was our last drive on the I90 for the rest of the trip, and it was sad to say goodbye given we have taken it all the way from Buffalo, New York!

The first part of route 14 took us through the Bighorn Mountain range. This was possibly the best drive I have ever done, and it took us from an elevation of around 3000ft, up to over 8000ft, across the mountains (mostly pine forest wilderness), and then down again. The whole thing was windy mountain roads, but still felt safe given how well the roads are built here. On the way up we saw some amazing views of the barren Eastern Wyoming landscape, and on the way down we drove parallel to a gorge (complete with river)made of granite over 2.5 billion years old.

Once we got back to ground level we pressed on to Cody, Wyoming, otherwise known as the ‘rodeo capital of the World’. As we drove away from the Bighorns, we started seeing the Rockies on the horizon. This gave us great views in both directions as we got to a point roughly between the two. Cody was quite big considering where it is located, and it even has an airport which mainly serves Yellowstone. The main site is the Buffalo Bill museum which we didn’t have time to see, though we did check out the local shops which mainly consisted of complete cowboy attire outlets.

The rest of the drive was around 50 miles between Cody and the Yellowstone Eastern border, and 80 miles across Yellowstone itself to the West border (Yellowstone is huge!). On the way we drove past the Buffalo Bill dam and around some amazing mountains. At one point I got out to take some photos by a stream and looked down to see a large bear paw print – I quickly went back to the car!

Our motel is in the town of West Yellowstone which seems to exist solely for tourists. It is basically just a load of motels and some restaurants and shops. On the way we saw some of Yellowstone but are exploring it properly tomorrow.

Photo(s) of the day: panorama from the side of route 14 between Cody and Yellowstone (click to enlarge), and the paw print from where I was standing when I took it.