Trip to Red Lodge, Montana

Nestled in southern Montana against the Beartooth Mountains (the highest peaks in the state), 60 miles from Billings, MT or Cody, WY, you’ll find Red Lodge, a quaint town that offers the perfect blend of vacation and home feeling. With opportunities to explore the state’s nature and outdoor beauty, as well as appreciate the city’s art and culture, visitors to Red Lodge will find Western warmth and hospitality wherever they go.

The city borders the Custer Gallatin National Forest; and through the Beartooth Highway, day trips to Yellowstone National Park are made possible during the warmer months. Summers at Red Lodge are short but offer cool, pleasant days. Snow typically covers the ground by mid-December and can last well into May, ensuring Red Lodge Mountain Resort can provide exceptional skiing conditions.

The valley that is home to Red Lodge served the Crow tribe long before permanent settlers arrived to pursue mining. The town was officially established in 1884 when a post office was built; and with the opening of the first Rocky Fork Coal Company mine in the area, Red Lodge became home to hundreds of immigrants who moved west. When the coal mining industry around town was killed off in the early 1900s following the Great Depression, Red Lodge became known for producing bootleg liquor. However, by the middle of the 20and century, tourism, recreation and animal husbandry took over the city’s economy. With great effort to preserve the city and its history, visitors will experience much of the city’s past in addition to its vibrant and functional present.

Activities in and around Red Lodge

Beartooth Highway and Yellowstone National Park

Open in the summer, Beartooth Highway, considered “America’s most beautiful road” by On the Road correspondent Charles Kuralt, winds its way from Red Lodge to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The journey takes about three hours, but it’s well worth the trip, stopping along the way. The highway was completed in 1936; and with more than a dozen worthy stopping places, you’ll climb nearly 11,000 feet above sea level on this route. Once in the famous national park, visitors have access to the legendary Lamar Valley, where much of the park’s wildlife is often seen.

snow sports

With long, cold and snowy winters, local ski areas thrive and offer some of the best views. Red Lodge Mountain offers outright skiing in Montana and has grown by expanding its terrain park, opening a ski school, offering year-round reservations, and including other resort services, including a golf course. In addition to Red Lodge Mountain, visitors can ski at Red Lodge Nordic Center and Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area. There is also an ice rink in town which is open to the public whenever there is no event scheduled.

Camping, hunting, fishing, rafting, horse riding

For those who prefer a more rugged getaway to comfortable lodging options, there is no shortage of campsites in the area. Fish and game are abundant around Red Lodge, and with multiple local guiding services, hunters and anglers are sure to find an excursion to suit their desires. On the Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers, your need for excitement can be satisfied with rafting adventures; and visitors can experience Red Lodge’s rich ranching heritage with various riding outfitters.

Arts and Culture

The history and artistic presence of Red Lodge is unique. The Carbon County Historical Society and Museum and the Buses of Yellowstone Preservation Trust offer insight into the area’s history. The Carbon County Arts Guild & Depot Gallery is a place to view original art by more than 200 Western and contemporary artists, and many local artists have galleries and studios in town. Shopping in the city offers a pleasant and charming experience with stores that are more like galleries that excites homeowners.


Illustrating the city’s united culture and roots, there are annual events that the city is very proud of. Red Lodge hosts the Home of Champions Rodeo the week of July 4 each year, which also includes a night of PRCA Xtreme Bulls. The city hosts Montana’s first music camp in June, known as the Red Lodge Music Festival, and the Beartooth Bike Rally and Iron Horse Rodeo draw motorcyclists from across the country each July. The holidays are filled with carnivals, festivals, and events, and there are concerts, shows, runs, races, and parades throughout the year. For more information on travel to Red Lodge, Montana, please visit

Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine

This article was created for the spring issue of Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was published in early April. You can read this article and many more by visiting the full number. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.

Originally from Earth, Texas, a small town in Texas begging, I was raised around rodeo, farming, and the western way of life. After graduating from Texas A&M University, I found a passion for promoting the lifestyle that made me who I am today. I am an experienced writer, marketer and events professional with a strong desire to share the stories of those in our industry. When I’m not busy looking for ways to promote the Western way of life, I like to follow those I love in rodeos, hunting, and racing with my blue-eyed, blue-merle Australian Shepherd.

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