Friday, June 7, 2013

Empty Byway #3: Blacktail Plateau Drive, Yellowstone National Park

The one-way west-to-east gravel road known as the Blacktail Plateau Drive is a terrific place to get away from the heavier Mammoth-to-Tower traffic in Yellowstone and experience a slice of the national park seen by a relative handful of visitors. About seven miles in length, it also makes a great mountain-bike ride.

The first part of the outing, through meadows and scattered forest, is pleasant. But the final couple of miles are nothing short of stupendous, as you look far out over the gash of the Yellowstone River canyon and the surrounding mountains. (Nervous drivers might get a little shaky on this section.)

Make the drive in July, and you'll be flamblastulated by the wildflower displays. (I made that word up, because I couldn't find an existing word that would do the colorful show justice.)

 The chances of spotting wildlife are good, too, from elk to pronghorn to grizzly bears.

Adapted from the travel app Yellowstone Hotspots, available at the iTunes Store and Google Play.

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