For more than forty years the population of Red Lodge, MT has hovered around 2000…despite it’s small size, this town is full of quality amenities and never short on things to see or do. One of the contributing factors to Red Lodge’s vibrancy and economic prosperity is that it’s at the gateway to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park via the most spectacular stretch of highway in the United States, the Beartooth byway.
Some of the things to do in Red Lodge include, hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, scenic drives, skiing, golf, nature watching, local festivals and so much more.
There are a number of great places to stay while in Red Lodge, like The Pollard, Big Sky Cabins, Rocky Fork Inn and the place I stayed, Gallagher’s Irish Rose Bed and Breakfast, which is in the heart of town and walkable to nearly everything. Red Lodge can accommidate just about any budget, there several affordable hotels and motels to choose from.
I was also impressed with the restaurant scene in Red Lodge (especially for a small town where mediocrity often rules), I had the pleasure of eating at a few different places while I was there. One establishment I would recommend would be Bridge Creek. I also had a nice meal at Bogart’s, however the service left something to be desired. If you’re looking for a bit higher-end place try, the Pollard.
No trip to Red Lodge would be complete without taking a drive through the Beartooth highway (hwy 212) (see my video above to be convinced). Designated an All-American Road in 2002, the Beartooth Highway has been described by Charles Kuralt (former CBS newsman) as “the most beautiful drive in America.” Reaching heights of nearly 11,000 feet, the 50-mile drive offers awe-inspiring views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus (note: Hwy 212 is only open seasonally).
Recreation opportunities are abundant in the area. Visitors can cross-country ski in; hike across the broad plateaus; view and photograph wildlife (Rocky Mountain goat, moose, black bear, grizzly bear, marmots, mule deer); take a guided horseback trip; fish for trout in the streams and lakes and camp in the thirteen National Forest campgrounds. Even when the Highway is formally closed to cars, snowmobilers may travel the route and enjoy a spectacular winter wonderland.