Raynold's Pass was first named "Low Pass". There
are a number of passes on the southern part of the
Idaho Montana border that deserve this name, but
maybe none more so than Targhee Pass. The road
carries heavy tourist traffic to Yellowstone Park.
It has a good shoulder on the Idaho side, but the
shoulder is rumble stripped on the Montana side,
making this a potentially dangerous route for
bicycles during Yellowstone travel season.
START-END WEST: jct US20 - Mo87, north of
Island Park, south of Henry's Lake
2.(2156m~7072ft, 6.4km~4.0mi) TOP: Targhee
3.(2033m~6670ft, 9.8km~6.1mi) Denny Creek
Road diverts on left
4.(2008m~6588ft, 12.0km~7.5mi) low point
5.(2033m~6670ft, 21.4km~13.3mi) START-END
EAST: West Yellowstone, US20 turns north
From North. It's a quick 200ft ride to the
top. As the short ascent begins Targhee Peak at
10180ft enters the picture for a few hundred
yards. There are no pass or elevation signs at the
top, but the name shows up on practically all
From South. The shoulder
disappears and the heavy traffic remains as the
road aims in a utilitarian straight route to the
town of West Yellowstone.
jct Targhee Trail forest road - US20 > Targhee
Pass > West Yellowstone > US287 nort and
west > Hebgen Dam > Raynolds Pass > back
to starting point (including between 5 and 10
miles of slow detours near West Yellowstone): 75
miles with 2500ft of climbing in 5:3 hours.
The fur trade. The Indian trail that ran
over this pass from Snake River country to the
Gallatin Valley became known to trappers with the
discovery of nearby Raynold's Pass by Andrew Henry
in 1810. When they referred to crossing North Pass
it could mean either going across Targhee or Raynold's Pass.
Exploration by military and surveyors. The
ambiguous designation of "North Pass" is a good
example of why more formal methods of exploration
were needed. These formal methods came in the name
of Ferdinand Hayden and the comprehensive Hayden
Survey. In 1872 he mapped the Yellowstone area in
great detail, including the North Pass region
which still retained this name. Hayden applied the
name Targhee Pass to this crossing, after Chief
Targhee of the Banocks who died in the early 1870.
Hayden's surveyors recommended the pass for a
railroad from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone Park.
However the rail connection to Yellowstone that
would become reality lead over nearby Reas Pass.
Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. The
government had designated a forever-homeland for
the Nez Perce Indians in Wallowa Valley, eastern
Oregon in 1855. However, forever is a strong term,
and sometimes (or maybe always) forever doesn't
mean forever. When Chief Joseph refused to move
his band into Idaho the government responded with
force in 1877. The resulting flight and ensuing
battles moved across today's Montana into
Yellowstone. Today numerous road signs in the area
remind of the flight of 700 people. Amongst the
areas crossed is also Targhee Pass. After the
battle at today's Big Hole Battlefield the band
crossed Medicine Lodge Pass and then approached
Targhee Pass via Centennial Valley. Their route
continued into Yellowstone Park heading towards
today's Dead Indian Pass.
Montana's passes and summits by bicycle