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Topic: Beartooths - East Rosebud Trail Fine Tuning< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 22 2014, 1:41 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks to the advice given on this forum and from responses to my earlier topic, I am in the process of finalizing a trip for mid September.  We are planning to spend pre-trip nights in Red Lodge, and then backpack from East Rosebud Trail Head.  We are planning to hike from there and back to there so we don't have to deal with the car logistics. Current plan is:

Day 1: Hike to Rainbow Lake, Camp Rainbow lake

Day 2: Hike from Rainbow Lake to either Dewey Lake or Fossil Lake

(Question: From a campsite standpoint, is one area better than the others.  My question is regarding a) how scenic the sites and area are? b) Camp site comfort/safety it seems that Dewey lake may still be in the tree line while Fossil may be above tree line.  Is there a difference in how windy each site gets or something to check weather wise before determining which lake to stay at?  Also, how prevalent are thunderstorms at that time and is dewey more secure)  We hiked in the winds a few years ago and I am envisioning Dewey lake sort of like island lake area with some trees and fossil lake like titcomb basin without trees.  Is that a good comparison?

Day 3: Stay in the fossil lake area and day hike

Question If you were going to Day Hike off trail to 1 lake off of this trail, which lake would you choose.  We don"t usually go offtrail, however would like to try it in this area.  Looking for a scenic lake, not too difficult of a direction to follow that could be reached in 1.5-2 hours, then relaxing lunch, then back to camp.

Day 4: Hike back towards Rainbow lake

(question is there another lake worth staying at to change the campsite (maybe big park lake?)

Day 5 Hike back to car

Two last questions:

From the Red lodge or East Rosebud area, is there a highly recommended/scenic day hike.  We are coming from low elevations, and usually try to start the first day with an easy hike to warm up and get acclimated.  Usually looking at <8 miles and <2000' vert.

It seems like people recommend the Grizzly Bar for burgers on the way out.  Any other restaurants for the first night or two in Red Lodge.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Once again, thanks to all those who have responded to earlier posts and also provided great information through other threads.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 22 2014, 3:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'll do my best.  As far as camping at Dewey or Fossil, I'd say Dewey is more scenic.  A little more sheltered than Island Lake in the Winds if I remember correctly. Fossil is definitely above treeline and there is scant shelter there so if the weather goes south, which it could easily do in mid-September, you'll be very vulnerable. Have good tents.  Be aware that Dewey is heavily used and campsite options are somewhat limited.  You could always go just a little off trail up the drainage to the west and find lots of nice spots to camp with the same view but you would be a little further from the lake.  Please remember that the area around both Dewey and Fossil is a no fire zone so bring a good stove.

For a day hike out of Fossil or Dewey, I'd head west up to Lake Helen or Cairn Lake.  A really long day hike would take you over to the Aeros and even to the Skytops, but it would be long and sort of tough.

There really aren't too many options for good campsites below Impasse Falls other than Rainbow Lake which makes it pretty heavily used besides the fact it's an easy day hike in from the East Rosebud TH.  You might find a spot near Big Park but it's generally overgrown and swampy.  Not recommended. Lake at the Falls offers nothing because of the terrain.  Pretty much the same for Rimrock Lake.

From Red Lodge it's a very pleasant hike up the West Fork of Rock Creek to Quiennbagh Meadows.  Easy walking and not much elevation gain.  Or you could go up the main drainage of Rock Creek (long rough drive) and hike to Moon and Shelf Lakes or Glacier Lake.  Or the hike up the Lake Fork of Rock Creek to Black Canyon is nice.  Out of East Rosebud, the hike up to Sylvan Lake is very nice, but it's all up and a bit of a grunt.

The Grizzly Bar is, or was, nice, but it's become far too trendy for me.  In Red Lodge, I like Foster and Logan's Bar and Grill but Bogart's and the Red Lodge Pizza Company are also nice. The Bridge Creek Restaurant is nice but very upscale.  On the north end of town there is Sam's Tap Room and the Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company which isn't bad either.

Mid September can b e very iffy for weather at that elevation in the  Beartooths.  You could easily get snow or freezing rain with temps into the 20s.  Or it could be gorgeous.  Just come prepared.

Hope that helps.


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"Too often I have met men who boast only of how many miles they've traveled and not of what they've seen."  -  Louis L'Amour
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 22 2014, 11:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I second everything that Jerry said.  I really love Dewey and Cairn Lakes.  My suggestion would be to go to Cairn and not Fossil.  There is a peninsula near the end of the outflow of Cairn Lake that is a great place to camp.  But it is cliffed-out and can only be reached going over the saddle on the left before you get to the lake.  

Might add a day to your trip but worth it.  The valley to Cairn has beautiful flowers in July/August.  As Jerry said you could have great weather or snow at that time of year.  Blow off Cairn if the weather is suspect and stick to main trail.

Enjoyed the Beartooths so much last year that I am headed back this summer.  Make sure to stop in at Red Lodge Brewery.  Very good microbrews.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2014, 12:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know that spot at Cairn.  Great camping site.  Little extra work getting to but worth it.

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"Too often I have met men who boast only of how many miles they've traveled and not of what they've seen."  -  Louis L'Amour
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2014, 12:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

HikerJer and Larry,

Thank you for the feedback and the earlier trip reports and photos, which helped me lock in on the beartooth's this year.  It seems like the suggested itinerary is:

Day 1: Hike to Rainbow lake and camp
Day 2 Hike to Dewey Lake and camp
Day 3: Good weather (head off to Cairn lake) iffy weather stay on trail to fossil lake. Likely keep camp at Dewey lake
Day 4: Hike back to rainbow lake and camp
Day 5: Hike out

Thanks, for the heads up on the weather.  We hike out west each year in September and hope for the best but are prepared for cold and snow.  Just a couple of other questions:

Is there a preferred map to order.  I am using Falcon Guidebook now, but plan to order some topos?

When heading to Cairn lake, where do you leave the trail.  Do you go offtrail right near Dewey lake or follow the stream or go offtrail closer to fossil lake, and is extremely difficult with full packs (ie much better as day hike) or not so bad with packs?

Is it possible (recommended or not recommended) to try to hike out from Dewey lake in 1 day?  For reference, we hiked out from Island lake area near titcomb basin in the winds in 1 day, however I think that was slightly less mileage and slightly less vert.  I am asking because it seems like an extra day would be good, however I prefer to keep the acclimation day hike on day 1.

Thanks,
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2014, 1:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you could hike out from island lake in a day you can get out from Dewey.  

To get to Cairn, there's a stream crossing just past Dewey Lake on the way to Fossil. You'll know it's the one by the swithbacks on each side of the stream.  You could either cross the stream and follow it up to Oly Lake and then to Cairn or find the boulder chute before crossing the stream and take that up to Oly. We came down from the Skytops, camped at Oly and followed the water down to the East Rosebud Trail. You'll probably want to go around the south shore of Oly as there's a large slab of 45* rock on the north side. Here's a photo so you can decide for yourself



Oly, or further up the drainage, would be a nice alternative to Dewey for your second night if you have the time/energy to get there
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 23 2014, 5:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As is usual, dorf pretty well nailed it in his response. He's  right on. As for maps,  I would suggest two.  The first is a topo published by Beartooth Publishing of Bozeman, MT (beartoothpublishing.com) of the Beartooth portion of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  It is an extremely, beautiful map – more like a work of art - that I have found to be quite accurate. The second is from Rocky Mountain Surveys at P.O. Box 21558, Billings, MT  59104-1558, ph. (406) 656-0366.  This is double sided 15 minutes series quad with the Alpine quad on one side and the Cooke City quad on the other.  It covers the entire hike and has routes as well as marked trails on it along with relevant fishing information.  Also, it’s on tear proof and waterproof paper.  It really is excellent.  It runs about  $8.00.  Either map will do, but I think the Rocky Mountain Survey has a little more detail but it doesn’t cover the entire Beartooth range.  If you can't get the map by mail, any mountain shop in nearby towns such as Cody, Bozeman, Billings, Red Lodge or Cooke City, will have them available. 

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"Too often I have met men who boast only of how many miles they've traveled and not of what they've seen."  -  Louis L'Amour
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2014, 9:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have done Island Lake back to Elkhart in five hours or so and Dewey Lake to Alpine is a lot more than that.  It can be done in a day but it is so beautiful why not take your time and enjoy the walk.  We left Rainbow Lake around 8:15 and were in parking lot by 1:00.  The map says seven or so miles but my pedometer had it around nine.  My guess that from Dewey it is nearer 16-17 by pedometer.  Plus you will be at Grizzly Bar for lunch coming from Rainbow and not all smelly mingling with the dinner crowd if you come from Dewey.

Just my two cents.  The maps Jerry mentioned are great but one of my guys ordered a custom map made of the area that he told them to print and it was great.  I will try and find out who he used.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2014, 12:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(larrys @ Mar. 27 2014, 7:43 pm)
QUOTE
I have done Island Lake back to Elkhart in five hours or so and Dewey Lake to Alpine is a lot more than that.


+100000000

Dewey to Rainbow, Rainbow to Alpine, 2 days, all down hill.

Reverse the equation with heavy packs fighting steep up hills on the way in. Figure 3 days to get to Dewey and keep it comfortable.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2014, 5:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My GPS track from Alpine to Dewey shows 15.2 but this includes close to a mile of "track bouncing" (I just made that phrase up) off the steep canyon walls below Rimrock Lake I think it was. I cleaned that up the best I could on Google earth and figured about 14.3 miles.  The head of Rainbow was about 8.2 miles in.

We easily made it to Dewey in two days a few years ago. Using the exif data from my photos it took us about 4.5 hours to go from Alpine to Rainbow. It took us the same amount of time to get to Dewey the next day but we took more breaks to enjoy the scenery.

For reference, we made it out from Indian Basin in the Winds in 6.5 hours
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2014, 7:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the additional details on hiking out.  We hike at a similar pace, I believe we took about 6 hours to hike out from Island Lake.  I was asking to see if a trade off of staying around Dewey for another night was worth hiking out from a farther distance.  You have convinced me that the trip should remain as earlier described:

Day 1: Hike to Rainbow lake and camp
Day 2 Hike to Dewey Lake and camp
Day 3: Good weather (head off to Cairn lake) iffy weather stay on trail to fossil lake. Likely keep camp at Dewey lake
Day 4: Hike back to rainbow lake and camp
Day 5: Hike out

For the acclimation hike, I have looked at HikerJer's recommendations and narrowed the choices to:

-West Fork of Rock Creek to Quiennbagh Meadows
-Glacier Lake
-Basin Creek Lakes
-Timberline Lake

It looks as though Glacier and Timberline goto higher elevations and as such may be a little tougher for a 1st day acclimation hike, but maybe the reward is worth the effort?  As the main focus of the trip is the backpack trip, we are looking for a hike that would be interesting, get us some acclimation and back into hiking mode, however we don't need horrible logistics (maybe the drive is difficult) or the trail is in bad shape. Maybe one of these (such as the meadows) offers a slightly different aspect of the Beartooth area or different views then we will get on the backpacking portion.   Any additional thoughts for a moderate effort, fairly easy logistic warm up hike are appreciated.

Thanks,
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2014, 8:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're look for acclimation, definitely go with Timberline or Glacier Lake hike.  Timberline is a longer and tougher lake - more scenic as well, IMO - but that may benefit you.  Be advised if you're going to Glacier Lake the drive to the TH requires a high clearance vehicle. Not necessarily four  wheel drive, but I wouldn't try in in a sedan.  No problem to  the Timberline  Lake TH.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2014, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(truk @ Mar. 28 2014, 5:35 pm)
QUOTE
For the acclimation hike, I have looked at HikerJer's recommendations and narrowed the choices to:

-West Fork of Rock Creek to Quiennbagh Meadows
-Glacier Lake
-Basin Creek Lakes
-Timberline Lake

Skip an acclimation hike. Alpine to Rainbow is so low you won't even notice the altitude, and will give you one extra day.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2014, 11:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Probably good advice.  Depends on the individual though.  I remember hiking with an in-law from Atlanta who got altitude sickness - headaches and  nausea - at 8000 ft.  He was miserable until we go below 65000 ft.  Extreme case, I know, but there you have it.  At any rate the hike to Glacier or Timberline Lake sare worth while in their own right.

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"Too often I have met men who boast only of how many miles they've traveled and not of what they've seen."  -  Louis L'Amour
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