I previously posted this up over on ECJ5 but thought people on here might enjoy looking at this. For a little background, I have been backpacking in the Beartooths most years since 1964 (yes-an old fart) but this was the first time we couldn't do that due to spouse's shoulder injury so this trip was limited to day hikes, two of which started with a couple miles of wheeling.
And just for the record, my 1955 3B will still go more places with fewer problems than the JK, but a lift on the latter would cure some of that. It is still too big for a lot of the places I like to wheel.
We managed to sneak away for 5 days last week and did some camping off the Goose Lake Jeep Trail northeast of Yellowstone NP. The start of the Jeep trail is about 140 mile drive from home so we took the 2012 JK unlimited for its frist real trip in the fire so to speak. By far, the most harrowing portion of the trip was the 53 miles from Gardiner, MT to Cooke City, MT through the park. We didn't even get a mile out of Gardiner before the first critter jam-this one for bighorns, but there were a couple more epic jams between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction. That we made it through without incident can only be attributed to the fact that there wasn't a bat in the vehicle for the inconsiderate jerks that can't be bothered to pull off the road to take pictures or whatever.
The Goose Lake road (FS 3230) turns off US 212 about 3 miles east of Cooke City just short of Colter Pass and is about 8 miles from the highway to the Goose Lake trailhead at the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness boundary. The first two miles are passable with a normal car but the rest is definately Jeep road.
We camped at Star Lake (the first one on the trail south of Goose Lake), maybe a 100 yards from the road. We then did day hikes, two with Jeep assist, to areas within the Wilderness. At Star Lake (and a pic for the REI haters
Typical trail shots:
Goose Lake day hike to Grasshopper Glacier:
Absoraka-Beartooth Wilderness Trailhead (end of motorized use):
Goose Lake and Fox mountain (11,245'). This area may as well be in the Brooks Range-all tundra
Old mining debris between Goose and Little Goose Lakes:
Hike to Grasshopper Glacier:
Looking north from the top of Grasshopper Glacier down West Rosebud Creek drainage. We were at about 10,750 foot elevation, 40 mph wind, rain, and hail so I didn't get too many pics at this spot.
The second day trip started at camp (Star Lake) and we hiked to the next drainage to the east past Snow, Green and Little Green Lakes.
Snow Lake (a little rock flour in it):
Green and Little Green Lakes:
Between Snow and Green Lakes:
Right when we got back to Star Lake, these guys were in the process of flushing a few fish in the lake:
The last trip was up Zimmer Creek and 8 plus miles.
Mount Zimmer (11,550')
Falls below Zimmer Lake:
And the whole area is a flower garden:
Parting shot looking east from Goose Lake Jeep trial into main Beartooth Plateau:
There are several more Jeep trails in this area, including Lulu Pass (6943) and Dasiy Pass (3219) roads and one could spend several days just driving. That said, if you get off your duffer, there is much, much, much more to see-more than a lifetime's worth. All in all, time well spent.