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(Last Updated On: April 19, 2023)

Montana is a place full of incredible landscapes. And if you only think of Glacier National Park when you think of this State, you are missing out. Montana holds so many underrated, charming mountain towns. Self proclaimed, ‘The Coolest Ski Town You’ve Never Heard Of’, Red Lodge, Montana is full of western charm. Red Lodge is truly a hidden gem tucked away at the base of the Beartooth Mountains. And at the Gateway to America’s most famous geologic site, Yellowstone National Park, it has a lot to offer. Here are the best things to do in Red Lodge Montana, and why it should be your next adventure.

This post is Sponsored by Visit Montana. All opinions are my own.

The best things to do in Red Lodge Montana. Ultimate adventure base or relaxing getaway. There is something for everyone and every season.

Land Acknowledgement: Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla, Apsaalooke (Crow), Salish, and Cheyenne Land. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting! Consider visiting nearby cultural centers and seeking out other ways to financially support Indigenous People.

Where is Red Lodge, Montana?

Red Lodge is located in South-Central Montana along the scenic Beartooth Mountains and Custer Gallatin National Forest. It is known as the Gateway to Yellowstone National Park, but also has it’s own set of views and adventures. It is a cozy town of about 2,000 people that are quick to welcome you and share good food, lots of history, and stunning views.

Getting There:

It was an easy flight to Billings, Montana. Billings is exactly a one hour drive Northeast of Red Lodge, making it very easy to start your getaway.

I recommend renting a car so that you can get out and see all this area has to offer! AWD or 4×4 recommended in the winter time! Car rental pick up and drop off was so fast and convenient at the airport.

Best Time to Visit Red Lodge

What’s great about Red Lodge is that it is a destination worth visiting in any season. I would love to go back and see more in the Summer and Fall to do horseback riding and backpacking. But my time here during the winter season was incredibly special.

Best Things to Do in Red Lodge Montana

I’ve been really enjoying visiting places that have something to offer in every season. Red Lodge is one of those places that has something for everyone, gorgeous landscapes, and without all the crowds.

Beartooth Highway – Greenough Lake Road

Drive the Scenic Beartooth Highway

Highway 212 runs through the town of Red Lodge and continues through an incredibly scenic mountain pass. Stop along the many pull-off’s and scenic view points. And if you’re going in the summer, the Beartooth highway is one of the most beautiful routes to Yellowstone National Park. This road does close in the winter, but even so, I drove out to the end and saw incredible views of snow covered mountains.

Visit Yellowstone National Park

Did you know Yellowstone National Park is open year round? Even with the Beartooth highway closed in the winter, you can still access the park with only a 3 hour drive. I’m a big fan of visiting places off-season to avoid crowds and have an experience that I haven’t seen as much online. This would make an excellent day trip from Red Lodge. Stop in the Red Lodge Visitor Center for any questions!

Exploring Downtown Red Lodge is one of the Best things to do in Red Lodge Montana

Explore Main Street in Downtown Red Lodge

There are so many things to do in Red Lodge Montana, and Main Street is a great place to start. From charming book stores, cafes, bakeries and more. Take in views of the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains while walking around.

Feel Nostalgic at Montana Candy Emporium

This was definitely a favorite stop of mine. This candy shop is super eclectic and has buckets of old school candies by the pound. Stop by to see the taxidermy ostrich and other unique decor that make this place a must on your list of things to do in Red Lodge Montana.

Get Outdoors in Red Lodge

Red Lodge has so much to offer for the outdoor lovers like myself. Explore trails close to town or venture further out into Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Hiking Recommendations:

  • Woodbine Falls Trail (1.4 miles, 291 ft elevation gain)
  • Lake Fork Trails
  • Wild Bill Lake Loop (0.5 miles, 49 ft elevation gain)
  • West Fork Trails

Snowshoe Scenic Trails in the Winter

My visit to Red Lodge was in March, and I was excited that there was still plenty of snow to snowshoe. I snowshoed around the Lake Fork Trails at sunrise. And it was truly a magical morning spent outside.

Other Snowshoe Trail Recommendations:

  • Silver Run Ski Trails
  • West Fork Trails

You can rent snowshoes and gear from Sylvan Peak Mountain Shop in Red Lodge or The Base Camp in Billings!

Stay at the Historic Pollard Hotel

The Pollard Hotel was the first brick building built in Red Lodge in 1893. I loved staying here for many reasons. It was in the heart of downtown Red Lodge, and has incredible views of the city. It also has a restaurant – Marli’s that serves delicious food and cocktails. The Pollard also includes a full gym, sauna and occasionally hosts live music.

Order Small Plates and Wine at PREROGATIVE Kitchen

I loved the vibe and energy of this place. They use a lot of recycled materials when decorating and it made the place feel unique. This spot seems to be a go-to for locals and visitors for a casual evening out or a date night. The edamame was delicious and so was my glass of wine and I kind of regret not going back.

Try the local beer at Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company

If you’re a beer lover, this definitely needs to make your list of things to do in Red Lodge Montana. The fun and inviting atmosphere has a lot to offer and was full of people on a Thursday Evening. I am such a sucker for buffalo chicken wings and completely devoured a plate of them here. The Helio Hefewizen and Barrel Aged Lager were our favorites.

Visit the Carbon County Historical Museum

Only $5 to visit and absolutely worth checking out. The basement exhibit on the history of coal mining in Red Lodge is really well done and a fun way to learn about the history of Red Lodge. Getting through the entire museum is not hard, as it is relatively small. But it is full of so many interesting stories and saved history.

Experience Red Lodge Night Life

It was so fun stepping out of our hotel and having access to so many night life spots. Here is a list of my favorites:

  • One Legged Magpie: a cozy craft cocktail bar that is known for hosting live music
  • Natali’s Front Bar: I loved this small bar and the dollar bill ceiling. We tried our best to get a bill up on the ceiling but failed haha.
  • Marli’s at the Pollard Hotel: This bar is cute and the surrounding lounge is intimate and cozy. I loved their signature cocktails and thoroughly enjoyed a large charcuterie board.
  • Bogart’s: if you’re feeling a margarita, this is the place to come! We loved the jalapeno mango marg.
  • The Snag Bar: A local’s favorite. This dive bar offers pool tables, great service and the town famous Snag Burger.
  • Snow Creek Saloon: This place is full of character and also has live music

Visit Red Lodge for Winter Activities

Red Lodge has a massive list of winter activities and is truly a magical destination covered in snow. Check out my blog post: Why you should visit Red Lodge in the Winter

Summary: Best Things to do in Red Lodge Montana

Clearly there is a lot to see and do in Red Lodge, Montana. A long weekend here makes for such a fun, scenic and memorable getaway any time of year. It was refreshing to visit a place that did not feel overcrowded and connecting with this community has me excited for future adventures in Red Lodge. Have you heard of Red Lodge before?

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  1. […] Best Things to do in Red Lodge […]

  2. Michelle on April 19, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Red Lodge Mountain looks like an incredible place to visit. I appreciate your tip that this is even an off season destination because I often travel in shoulder season to avoid the crowds.

  3. Ashlee Fechino on April 19, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    What a magical trip to take in the mountains during the winter and early spring. Thanks for sharing everything you did.

  4. A Capone Connection on April 19, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    I have never been out that way because it’s so cold. This actually looks like there could be some fun in the cold! Now I want to go snowshoeing. lol

  5. Jennifer Record on April 19, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    What wonderful recs.. I’ve been thinking of adding a week to a 2024 adventure to see parts of Montana… definitely doing now based on your advice and photos@

  6. kmf on April 19, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve got Montana on my travel wish list. Red Lodge looks like the perfect destination…so charming!

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