Red Lodge, Montana
Though it seems impossible that a place serving as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park could maintain unadulterated local character, the tiny hamlet of Red Lodge, MT has somehow managed to do just that.
Red Lodge is situated on the eastern edge of Custer National Forest and 70 miles northeast of Yellowstone National Park. Clearing heights of nearly 11,000 ft, the Beartooth Highway runs from Red Lodge to the northeastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park providing easy access to extraordinary outdoor adventure all along the way (the roadway was deemed by Charles Kuralt to be one of the most scenic roads in America).
Yet although Red Lodge is best known for it access to the outdoors and outstanding recreational activities, this land of the Crow Indians and coal-mining has a scope that reaches far beyond the outdoors. Most notably, there is a fervent artist’s community thriving in Red Lodge, and the town is home to many writers, painters photographers and potters, all of whom add to the richness of culture emanating from this western burg. Additionally, this town of 2,500 manages to support a burgeoning artist’s guild as well as a clay studio, which provides internships for skilled ceramic artists, hosts several different ceramics shows during the year and offers educational workshops for the local community.
Furthermore, while the town still maintains the authentic tenor of a weathered mining and cowboy town, Red Lodge also emanates a progressive vibe and shows signs of embracing changing times. The brewery in town boasts the largest solar array in the state, standing adjacent to their environmentally conscious building. The Regis Café offers creative, organic meals, with many ingredients harvested from their backyard greenhouse and their lovely outdoor garden, while Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen and Wine Bar and the Pollard Hotel, both emphasize local and regional fare on their menus.
The town also hosts so many non-profit organizations that it now sponsors the annual “Fun Run” race in which local non-profits collaborate to put on the race, and proceeds are divided among the charities.
Overall, Red Lodge percolates a captivating fusion of old-time-Montana mixed with modern sensibilities, high caliber arts and magnificent outdoor recreation. There is something here to suit every taste.
Elevation: 5,553 ft
Avg Temp in January: 34/12
Avg Temp in July: 79/49
Known for: Beartooth Scenic Highway –Gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Skiing, Biking, Fishing, Arts, Green Initiative