Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scenic drive over Lolo Pass

Scenic river drive through Lolo Pass
Highway 12 is one heckuva pretty highway where it crosses northcentral Idaho, linking Montana with Washington.

It follows the route that Lewis and Clark took on their journey to the Pacific Ocean in 1805. Seventy-five years, Chief Joseph would use this as an escape route as he led his band of Nez Perce to almost the Canadian border where he surrendering, uttering his "I will fight no more forever" speech.

The highway opened in 1960. I was still in high school when my family drove over it on a trip back from Yellowstone National Park. I remember getting very carsick because the road was so twisted and windy -- it has 67 curves in one stretch, a fact I learned when I was researching an article on the highway for

When I lived in Connell, north of where I live now, I liked to do getaway weekends to Missoula and sometimes drove Lolo Pass  one way, making a circle by going on Interstate 90 the other way..

My husband and I most recently drove the highway just before this last Labor Day as we took off for our trip to Yellowstone. We spent one night camped along the Clearwater River; well, I wouldn't call where we stayed a campground, as it was a sloping turnout with a porta-pottie. But it was late and we were tired. As it turned out, if we would have driven another mile or so, we could have stayed at a real campground.

Lolo Pass is a favorite ride for motorcyclists because of its curves. And I can sure see why!

The route goes through two national forests alongside the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers. The route is considered one of the most scenic in the United States. You'll get no argument from me about this.

What's your favorite scenic highway? Please leave a comment below.

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