OverviewRed Lodge is a small resort town in Carbon County, Montana about 45 minutes or 60 miles from Billings. Red Lodge is well known for many outdoor recreation opportunities: Skiing, Mountain Biking and backpacking are nearby. In April it is host to a popular triathlon called the Peaks to Prairie.
This alpine town is set in the foothills of the magnificent Beartooth Mountains. Red Lodge looks onto 28 peaks rising over 12,000 feet and is surrounded by Custer National Forest. The eleveation of the town itself is 5,555 ft, so be prepared to be out of breath if you're not used to riding in altitude!
The area offers many different activites from mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, kayaking and climbing in the summer, to some excellent skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
Getting ThereThere are four ways in to Red Lodge. If you're coming north from Yellowstone Park, you'll be travelling on Highway 212 and you'll get to drive down the very scenic and famous Beartooth Pass. Two years ago, there were major landslides on this stretch of highway but it has been repaired and is very good quality.
If you're travelling south from Billings, you'll take exit 434 off of interstate 90. This exit says "Red Lodge / Yellowstone Park". Hold your breath past the oil refinery at the exit and continue south until you hit the town.
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If you're coming up from Cody, Wyoming, travel north on Highway 72, then at the little town of Belfry, take a left onto Highway 308...follow this right into town.
Lastly, if you're coming from Bozeman area, take exit 408 at Columbus, drive south through town until you find a T instersection...take a right. Watch on your left for Highway 78 (S. Pratten St.). Follow 78 all the way into Red Lodge.
Interesting stuff about the areaRed Lodge first achieved importance with the discovery of coal in the middle of the 19th century.
In the late 1800s, many new settlers came to Red Lodge. By the mid 1880s, migrants were still outnumbered by large numbers of Native Americans. By 1892 the population reached 1,180. In 1896, Red Lodge had twenty saloons (that's cool!) and, as the library records show, riotous and violent living was characteristic of the town.
Red Lodge suffered in the Great Depression, which forced many mines to close. To offset this downturn, the manufacture of illegal bootleg liquor, that was labeled as syrup, became an economic mainstay and was sold as far as Chicago and San Francisco.
In 1931 work began on the Beartooth Highway linking Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park, and it was officially opened in 1936.
- The first lawman in Red Lodge was John "Liver-Eating" Johnston.
- Harry Longabaugh (a.k.a. the Sundance Kid) and George Curry (a.k.a. Kid Curry) were captured in Red Lodge on September 18th, 1897 after attempting a bank robbery, but escaped with help from the rest of the Wild Bunch gang
- The guest register at the Pollard Hotel shows that Martha Jane Cannary-Burke (a.k.a. Calamity Jane) stayed there.
Races & EventsFat Tire Frenzy
Cross Country, Downhill, and Observed Trails...Fat Tire Frenzy has got it all. Pro riders from around the country and novices converge on Red Lodge each year for this event. There is a great party atmosphere with live music and good food in the town of Red Lodge during the race weekend.
Peaks to Prarie
This is not a mountain biking event, but it is a MAJOR event in Red Lodge each year. This race is a triathlon that consists of an 8.8 mile run from the bottom of the Bearthooth Pass into the center of town. Next is a 43 mile road bike ride from Red Lodge to Riverside Park in Laurel, MT. The last stretch is 22 miles in a kayak or canoe etc. to Coulson Park in Billings.
Local Bike ShopsLast I heard, the only bike shop in town closed down. SOOOO, you better have all that you need when you get to Red Lodge!
If anyone happens to know that I'm incorrect with the statement above, please let me know so I can update this.
Great Places for a Post-Ride Beer/Grub
Red Lodge Ales
417 N. Broadway
Red Lodge, MT
A real thirst-quenching German wheat beer. My personal favorite!
This German amber ale has well balanced hop and malt flavors.
BENT NAIL IPA
This local favorite has generous amounts of dry hops and hints of grapefruit.
An award winning Kolsch-style ale. The Reserve is light and crisp with a clean finish.
BEARTOOTH PALE ALE
Full-bodied and dark, the Porter has roasty and robust malt flavor balanced by American hops.
JACK'S 90 SCHILLING
It is a rich and malty Scottish ale using the finest English malt.
Other Seasonal beers are available at the brewery: Czech Mate Pilsner, Monster Maibock, Oktoberfest, Dunkelweizen, Ullr Lager, and King's Cupboard Chocolate Stout, in addition to nitro choices at the Tap Room.
Snow Creek Saloon
124 S Broadway Ave
Red Lodge, MT
Foster & Logans Pub & Grill
17 S Broadway Ave
Red Lodge, MT
11 S Broadway Ave
Red Lodge, MT 59068
Mexican food, homemade pizza, burgers, sandwiches and pasta...goooood stuff!
Red Lodge Mountain Resort
Rock Creek Resort