From Glacier Lakes to Snowcapped Peaks: Red Lodge’s Beartooth Highway is America’s Best Drive

Nestled in the heart of Montana, lies a small town that packs a big punch. Despite its size, Red Lodge, Montana is bursting with quality amenities and never-ending activities. With a population of just 2000, this town is truly a hidden gem. But what makes Red Lodge so special? Let me tell you, it’s all about location, location, location. This town is located at the gateway to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park via the most spectacular stretch of highway in the United States, the Beartooth Highway.

Downtown Red Lodge Montana - photo by Mike Shubic

For more than forty years, Red Lodge has remained a vibrant and economically prosperous town, thanks in large part to the Beartooth Highwayway. This highway is truly a marvel of engineering and design, offering breathtaking views and unparalleled access to the natural wonders of the surrounding area. But the beauty of Red Lodge isn’t just limited to the highway. This town is also bursting with activities for every type of adventurer.

Montana Great Outdoors

For those who love to explore the great outdoors, Red Lodge has it all. From hiking and biking to fishing and horseback riding, the possibilities are endless. Take a scenic drive through the mountains, or hit the links for a round of golf. For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, nature watching is a must. Keep an eye out for Rocky Mountain goats, moose, black bears, grizzly bears, marmots, and mule deer. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a rare and elusive wolf.

Red Barn in Red Lodge

But the activities don’t stop there. Red Lodge is also home to a number of local festivals and events, including the annual Rendezvous Music Festival, the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary Summer Concert Series, and the Beartooth Motorcycle Rally. No matter when you visit, there is always something happening in this vibrant town.

Dining Options in Red Lodge

dining options

Red Lodge may be small, but it packs a culinary punch. The restaurant scene here is truly impressive, with a variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. For a truly memorable meal, I highly recommend Bridge Creek. Their creative dishes and impeccable service are sure to leave a lasting impression. If you’re in the mood for something a little more casual, Bogart’s is a great choice, just be prepared for less-than-stellar service. And for a truly upscale dining experience, check out The Pollard.

Places to Stay in Red Lodge, Montana to explore the Beartooth Highway

When it comes to accommodations, Red Lodge has something for everyone. From affordable hotels and motels to charming bed and breakfasts like Gallagher’s Irish Rose, there is no shortage of places to stay in this town. And with its central location, nearly everything in Red Lodge is within walking distance.

Lodging in Red Lodge Montana

Here are some of my recommendations:

Driving the Beartooh Highway from Red Lodge

Of course, no trip to Red Lodge would be complete without a drive through the Beartooth Highway. This 50-mile stretch is truly a sight to behold. With heights reaching nearly 11,000 feet, the views from the top are truly awe-inspiring. Glaciers, alpine lakes, and snow-capped peaks dot the landscape, creating a picture-perfect scene that is truly unforgettable. This highway has been designated an All-American Road, and for good reason. As former CBS newsman Charles Kuralt once said, “it’s the most beautiful drive in America.”

Beartooth Highway in Montana

But the fun doesn’t stop when the highway ends. This beautiful town is surrounded by natural wonders and recreational opportunities that are second to none. Cross-country skiing, hiking, and camping are all popular activities in the area. And for those who prefer a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, snowmobiling is a must. Even in the depths of winter, the Beartooth Highway is a winter wonderland just waiting to be explored.

No matter what time of year you visit Red Lodge, there is always something to see and do. In the summer, take a dip in the local swimming holes or attend one of the town’s many festivals. Fall brings stunning foliage and crisp air perfect for hiking or a scenic drive through the Beartooth Highway. In winter, the area transforms into a winter wonderland with opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling, and cozy nights by the fire. Spring brings wildflowers and baby wildlife to the area, making it a great time for nature enthusiasts. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Red Lodge continues to be a beloved destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and a taste of small-town charm.

If you have any questions about visiting Red Lodge or driving the Beartooth Highway, leave a comment below. So, until next time, we’ll see ya on the road…

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


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