Confluence of Yellowstone and Lamar Rivers & Historic Landmark
Shortly after crossing the bridge over the Yellowstone River there is a turn off to the left (north) that leads to a small dirt parking lot. From this location, there is a trail that leads from the north end of the parking lot downstream paralleling the Yellowstone River. The entire trail is high on a ridge above the river and provides a spectacular view of the mighty Yellowstone River as it rushes down this canyon. A little over a half-mile into the hike you come to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Lamar Rivers, and a good location for fishing both.
First Bridge Built Over the Yellowstone River: It is through this narrowed part of the canyon that the first bridge built over the Yellowstone River was constructed by Collins Jack Baronett (sometimes spelled Baronette) in 1871. Some remnants of the bridge remain and can be seen from upstream looking down as a stacked rock wall rocks on the eastern edge of the canyon about 200 yards from the confluence. Or, when you get near the end of the trail and before it drops down to a lower level there is a trail, not well defined or traveled, that cuts back leading you steeply downward terminating at the original bridge location. You will see how rocks have been stacked to create a platform from which the logs were positioned to span the river. Some of the old and mostly worn away wood logs remain.
The bridge was originally built as a toll bridge for travelers to Cooke City. During the Nez Perce War of 1877, Native American Indians burned the log work. The bridge was rebuilt the following year, and over the years enhancements were made to the bridge by various owners before the United States Army took over possession and management of the bridge in 1894. A new bridge was eventually built upstream in 1903 and the old bridge was again burned and eventually torn down in 1911.
This Historical Landmark was mentioned in our article titled: "Best Places to Go and Things to do with Kids in Each of Yellowstone's 14 Road Sections".
Junction Butte: Junction Butte is directly east of the parking area and is a prime location to spot bighorn sheep. You will see the rock facing and the tumbled down heaps of rock at the base of the butte walls. A hike to the top of the butte, best taken on the southern slope, will often bring you close to bighorn sheep and other wildlife that frequent this area, as well as provide a nice panoramic view of the area.