From the Northeast Entrance to Tower-Roosevelt Junction This area saw more human activity than any other part of park territory, both before the park was set aside and shortly thereafter. This route along Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River was an important trail for American Indians, trappers, and miners in the 19 th century. If miners and railroad interests had had their way in the 1880s and ’90s, the Cinnabar and Clarks Fork Railway would have been built through the valley. Congress considered but rejected several bills that would have authorized a right-of-way or eliminated territory from the park’s northeast corner in order to bring in a railroad. Interest in the idea waned in the early 20th century.
The total distance from the Northeast Entrance to Tower-Roosevelt Junction and the Grand Loop Road is about 29 miles (46 km). At first, the road follows Soda Butte Creek. After Soda Butte, the entrance road turns toward the northwest. Here the Lamar River valley offers the chance to see part of the park’s northern bison herd. Early or late in the day, you might catch a glimpse of a wolf, especially if you have binoculars or a spotting scope. The road follows the Lamar River past Specimen Ridge, where there are petrified trees still standing upright. The Lamar joins the Yellowstone River just before Tower Junction.