Hemingway in the High Country

The 19th biennial Hemingway Conference comes to Cooke City and Silver Gate.

It’s finally summer in the Beartooth high country, and from Red Lodge to Cooke City, limitless outdoor opportunities await. Due to the severe flooding back in June, the northeast entrance to Yellowstone Park is only open to hikers at this time, but the Beartooth Highway is set to open July 22 at 5 pm. Plus, there are still thousands of acres of National Forest in which to explore in the wilds to the north, east, and south of Cooke City. You can hike, camp, ride horses, or drive off-road throughout dozens of trails and roads. And you'll be following in the footsteps of a giant.

That's right, one of the most adventurous early explorers of the Cooke City area was Ernest Hemingway. The famous writer first came to the Yellowstone high country in his 1928 Model A Sportster on July 13, 1930, when he reportedly became the first person to drive across the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone. He settled on the L Bar T Ranch, 10 miles southeast of Cooke City, in a ranch cabin with his second wife, Pauline, and his first son, Jack. The main attraction was the remote Clark’s Fork and its spectacular trout fishing.

Hemingway with Fish

Almost 100 years later, you'll still find that sense of remoteness in the Beartooths. Head in on your own, or avail yourself of the area's outfitters who offer ATV rentals and horseback-riding opportunities. The town's restaurants, hotels, cabins, and stores are all open for business, making Cooke City a great base-camp for your summer explorations.

You'll also find that Hemingway still has an influence on the area. Beginning Thursday, July 21, the Hemingway Society Conference will convene at the Range Rider Lodge in Silver Gate. To attend the daily sessions of the conference, pre-register here. Local Wyoming and Montana guests must pick the "Local Non-Member" sign-in tabs on the webpage. Note: the Saturday evening banquet is already sold out. 

Conference host and author of Hemingway in the Yellowstone High Country Chris Warren says you can capture the real spirit of Hemingway’s Beartooth adventures by exploring the local trails, rivers, creeks and alpine lakes. And be sure to check out the new permanent Hemingway exhibit at the Royal Wulff Tavern at the Range Rider Lodge, where you'll find over 50 historic photos from the John F. Kennedy Library and the Princeton University Collection.

So head on over to Cooke City, go for a hike or ride, drink an old-fashioned, and soak in the ambiance of Cooke City and Silver Gate the same way Hemingway did.

Read our review of local author Chris Warren's book Ernest Hemingway in the Yellowstone High Country here.