the red lodge, Montana area
The beautiful mountain town of Red Lodge, Montana is perfectly situated as a starting point for your adventure. Our friendly town is home to about 2,500 people, several great restaurants and bars, hotels, many outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, fishing, white water rafting and more. You can choose to stay in the area for a few days to explore the town and local outdoor opportunities, or hit the roads and trails immediately. And, what roads! The best in the country are just outside of town!
A short video of riding through downtown Red Lodge and south of town near the Beartooth Highway:
Following is a small sample of areas not to be missed.
the beartooth highway
The Beartooth Highway has been called the most beautiful road in America, and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) named it the best road in America. Starting in Red Lodge, it twists and turns 68 miles into Wyoming and back into Montana up to an elevation of 10,947’, ending at the NE entrance of Yellowstone Park. There are numerous dirt trails spurring off the main road in all directions that offer unlimited riding and camping opportunities. Be prepared… it can snow at any time, even in the summer!
yellowstone national park
Yellowstone is a place that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. You’ll encounter elk, bison and moose on your ride through the park, so keep the speeds down and be on the lookout. Bears and wolves are also common sightings. There are unlimited opportunities for hiking and fishing in the park, and may places to stay, ranging from campsites to tent cabins to lodges, but make sure to book as early as possible. The park does completely sell out in the summer.
The cooke city area
If you want rugged, this is the place. Cooke City is a tiny town on the Beartooth Highway, just outside of Yellowstone Park, with a few restaurants and hotels. Most importantly, there are hundreds of miles of extremely difficult and rugged roads and trails surrounding the town. You’ll ride at very high altitudes and see very, very few people. Camping is open nearly everywhere. Its an unknown, unforgettable gem. Interestingly, wolves were spotted right in town in the winter of 2019.
Teton national park
After riding through Yellowstone, you’ll ride into Teton National Park, Yellowstone’s gorgeous neighbor to the south. With fewer people, more wildlife and more camp spots, The Tetons are truly not to be missed. America’s Alps, they are pristine and a welcome reprieve from the crowds of Yellowstone. The cowboy town of Jackson Hole is just to the south of the park. Book a campsite or tent cabin at Jackson Lake and explore this beautiful area.
glacier & waterton national parks
The Crown of Montana, Glacier and its twin in Canada, Waterton National Parks, promise expansive wilderness areas and an endless supply of things to see and do. The Going To The Sun Highway is one of the truly great roads of the world. To the East of Glacier lies the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, which is a must-see. To the south is the Bob Marshall Wilderness, an amazing, unknown and untrodden area full of incredible camping and fishing. After riding through Glacier, consider a stay at the Many Glacier Hotel, where you’re almost guaranteed to see several grizzlies. The Prince of Wales hotel in Waterton, Canada is not to be missed, as is the small town of Waterton.
From Red Lodge, ride south into Wyoming and east to the amazing Highway 14, which cuts through the empty and beautiful Bighorn mountain range. You’ll find Indian artifacts, including medicine wheels, in this undisturbed land. Trail riding, camping, hiking and fishing are seemingly endless here.
The Black Hills
Home to Mt Rushmore and the annual Sturgis Rally, The Black Hills is an easy 5 hour ride from Red Lodge. You’ll meander through the Montana plains and Indian lands. The Hills are beautiful, with rugged and rocky peaks and great tourist towns, like Deadwood. Stay a couple nights, gamble in the old western casinos and check out the local sights.
One of the true gems of Montana, the Gravelly Range is generally unknown to visitors and therefore empty for most of the year. The amazing Backcountry Drive is 70 miles long and offers unlimited chances for spur trail riding and camping. If you’re tired of the crowds in Yellowstone, head north and west to the Gravellys.
Just a short ride from Red Lodge, the Pryor Mountains are steeped in Indian history. You’ll pass through the Crow Reservation on your way to the beautiful and empty peaks of this small range, with a highest altitude of 8,800’. Visit the ice caves, look for Indian artifacts, and check out the wild horses. There are numerous opportunities for trails and camping. Mountain lions, black bear and bighorn sheep are a few of the large animals that roam this special place.