22 Amazing Things To Do In Red Lodge, Montana

Looking for the perfect Montana mountain town to add to your Yellowstone vacation or to visit for a long weekend? Red Lodge, Montana, is the place! We stayed for 4 nights and had so much fun and ate so much delicious food. Below we share our list of things to do in Red Lodge, Montana.

Red Lodge Featured Horseback Riding

Red Lodge is a great stop to add to your Yellowstone National Park trip or plan a whole vacation around all the awesome things to do near Yellowstone!

Horse Back Riding With Elk River Outfitters

Horseback Riding
Horseback Riding

We have been horseback riding before in Arizona and Alabama, and it was a nice and flat leisurely stroll . . . not quite the case in Montana! Instead, we were going up and down the mountain and through water so high we had to lift our legs up and out of the stir-ups! It made for quite the adventure!

We did the 1.5-hour ride, which was a perfect amount of time for our family (at the time, the kids were 12, 9, 9, and 7). Our guide, Brad from the Elk River Outfitters, took us through open fields and then up the mountain, through the river, and up to the plateau, where we had an amazing view of the surrounding area and could see 5 mountain ranges!

When you come to Montana, you have to awaken your inner cowboy and get on a horse, and Elk River Outfitters is the perfect place to do that!

Drive the Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway by Red Lodge
Beartooth Highway by Red Lodge

The Red Lodge area sits just north of the Beartooth Highway, so make sure to plan at least half a day to drive the Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge to Cooke City, and if you have more time, you can drive right into Yellowstone National Park and make it a full day trip.

The Beartooth Mountains are breathtaking, with views of the mountains and Rock Creek, and there are multiple places you can stop to take in the beauty around you and for a bathroom break! Here are the stops we recommend you don’t miss:

Vista Point Rest Area

A great first stop to take in the beautiful views and to stop for a bathroom break after continuing on. This stop is 21 miles from Red Lodge. 

Gardner Lake Pullout

Stop here for another beautiful view!

West Summit Overlook

West Summit Overlook Bearthooth Highway
West Summit Overlook Beartooth Highway

The highest point is at 10,947 feet. You get a great 360-degree view. But be prepared, it can be very windy. 

Top Of The World Store

There’s not much to the store, but it’s still an interesting stop since it doesn’t seem like there should be anything here. Yet the store is there! You can grab a few souvenirs and a snack for the rest of your drive. 

Beartooth Lake

A great place to stop to have a picnic lunch. Plus, there is a campground here, and if you have a boat or paddleboard, you can easily do that here. 

Clay Butte Lookout

Drive 3 miles on a dirt road up to an old fire lookout for more amazing views. 

Cooke City

Cooke City Museum
Cooke City Museum

Stop at the Coffee Shop for a Huckleberry White Mocha Latter and then the Visitor Center to learn the history of Cooke City (they have a small free museum both inside and outside you can check out) and to pick up info on Yellowstone.

Length: The Beartooth Highway is 68 miles long and normally takes about 2 hours to drive. 

Check out the Beartooth brochure for more details. 


The Pollard Hotel (where we were staying) will pack a bag lunch for you – it worked out really well and was so easy and nice not to have to worry about what we would eat.

UTV Rental With Red Lodge Power Sports

UTV Rental With Red Lodge Power Sports
UTV Rental With Red Lodge Power Sports

When we were driving the Beartooth highway, we looked over and saw a trail going right up the side of the mountain. When we rented UTVs the next day, we knew that was the trail we wanted to go on!

They had the perfect 6-person UTV at Red Lodge Power Sports that we rented from Jerett. He highly recommended we do the Hell Roaring Plateau – which was the exact trail we had seen! It is about 6-8 feet wide and right on the edge of the mountain, but the UTV handled it perfectly, and it was a fun ride.

When we reached the top, we got out for a gorgeous view and could see the Beartooth highway road we had driven on. We hopped back into the UTV, headed down the mountain, and onto the Glacier Lake trail through the beautiful national forest. We saw some great campground spots there and want to return to stay.

When renting the UTV, the kids were given helmets, and we had to drive on the highway for a few ways – but it wasn’t a problem. It isn’t a busy area, and we barely saw any other cars on our way out there.

If you want to do multiple trials, be sure you plan accordingly and potentially rent the UTV for the whole day. He also said people will rent them overnight or for the weekend. If you want to do this we recommend packing camping gear, driving up to the top of Hells Roaring Plateau and camping there! I would bet the stars are amazing!! Just remember to bring your bear spray.

Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary

Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary
Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary

It is a great place to learn about the Yellowstone Ecosystem and the animals that call it home. Gary – the owner and author of the Who Pooped books – took us on a tour and was so informative!! Did you know that Turkey Vultures puke their food in the face of their predators to distract them so they can empty some of their stomachs and fly away?! The kids loved that one.

The Sanctuary is in no way attached to Yellowstone National Park and is not funded by the park system or federal government. Instead, they are privately owned. They only take in animals that have been to a rehab center and have been deemed unable to live on their own in the wild.

It really is an amazing place that Gary is running and should be on your list of places to visit so you can learn more about the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – it stretches well beyond the borders of Yellowstone National Park.

You can just stop in for a visit on your own and do a self-guided tour, or else you can book a tour with the Sanctuary. If you are curious to learn more and/or want your kids to better understand the Yellowstone Ecosystem, sign up for a tour – it is well worth it!

Red Lodge Clay Center

Clay Center

Red Lodge is known for their Clay Center and has residents that come in to spend a year or 2 working at the Red Lodge Clay Center downtown and creating amazing pieces of artwork at their studio just outside of town. We were able to do a 90-minute class with Jarod, one of the newer residents, and it was awesome. The kids totally loved it and didn’t want to leave.

Cannon even stated that he wanted to live in Red Lodge for a year to build stuff with the clay daily! They have a storefront filled with amazing pieces – which we quickly walked by with 4 kids who like to wrestle and push each other . . . back to the studio area.

Jarod taught us how to create cups and bowls out of clay and then let the kids create whatever they wanted to. We weren’t able to bake the clay or glaze it since that whole process would have taken days, but just getting to learn how to create with the clay and play around with it was well worth it.

If you plan to come to Red Lodge as part of your Yellowstone National Park trip, you could time it to come back through that way at the end of your trip to pick up your piece.

Golfing At Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course

Golfing At Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course
Golfing At Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course

Any chance Craig gets to golf, he will take it! He headed to the Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course and pretty much had the whole course to himself. Minus the 30 or so deer that were just hanging out on the course.

It was a beautiful course that was spread out with challenging holes and lots of great views. If you have a golfer in your group, it is well worth getting them out on the links during your trip!

Phoenix Pearl Tea

Phoenix Pearl Tea in Red Lodge
Phoenix Pearl Tea in Red Lodge

The Phoenix Pearl Tea house has 200+ different kinds of teas and has created 50+ of their own flavors – things like Banana Bread and Harvest Moon! When you walk in and see all of the teas, it can be very overwhelming, but the workers were so helpful. They walked us through what the options were and helped us pick which one we would enjoy the most.

All the tea is made with tea leaves, which can be made into lattes with a variety of different kinds of milk. Our kids weren’t sure about a flavor, so we went with caramel and a root beer flavor, and each was served in a pot with small cups so the kids could try it!

While we were enjoying our tea, we could select from a whole wall full of board games that we could play. It was a great way to try out some new games and to play some that we knew we loved. They also sell the games so if you find a good one you can buy it here too.

If you are looking for a place to stop for a few hours and relax with a nice hot or cold tea, this is the place to do it!

Montana Candy Emporium

Montana Candy Emporium in Red Lodge
Montana Candy Emporium in Red Lodge

What kids don’t like a candy shop?! This one was really cool and unique. You walk into bins full of candy and so many cool and unique decorations. The kids loved picking out about 10 pieces each – it is paid by the pound, so pay attention to what they are getting.

They also have homemade fudge and other chocolate treats. If you want to make the kids happy and get them candy on your road trip, then make sure to stop here and look at all the cool decorations, too!

Wild Bill Lake

If you are looking for camping, fishing, and a nature trail, check out Wild Bill Lake in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Where To Eat

This was not an easy thing to decide. There are so many great restaurants to choose from. Red Lodge really has taken their food to the next level!

The Pub at The Pollard Hotel

Eating at the Pollard Hotel

The Pub is located in The Pollard Hotel and has a great selection of food options along with a great drink menu. We highly recommend the giant pretzel with Brie cheese dip. My kids loved it (me too :)) and kept asking to go back for another one!

They also have a great breakfast here where you can get a delicious Montana Skillet or french toast with whipped cream – the kids loved that! Plus, they got hot chocolate every morning. It was a great way to start our day off.

Carbon County Steakhouse

Carbon County Steakhouse in Red Lodge
Carbon County Steakhouse

Looking for a fancy dinner where you can still wear jeans? This is the place for you! The atmosphere is perfect, and the food is delicious. The kids got the 5-ounce steak off of the kid’s menu, and Craig got the cut of the day (from a local ranch).

He said it was a melt-in-your-mouth kind of steak! I opted for the tortellini, and they were delicious. Everything was great, from the food to the drink menu to the atmosphere. If you are looking for some delicious steak and a bit of a more fancy meal, this is the place for you.


Bogarts in Red Lodge
Bogarts in Red Lodge

Margarita. That is all I have to say! The margaritas here are yummy!!

When we were there in September, they had the Flathead Cherry Margarita, which was so good! I also tried the coconut one, which was like a dessert in a cup.

Oh yeah – the food was good too :). They have a variety of options with a good selection of Mexican food – enchiladas, burritos, chips, and queso. I always love a good Mexican restaurant since you get the chips and salsa to start, so the kids are occupied right away and don’t need a huge meal.

Red Lodge Pizza Co

Red Lodge Pizza Co in Red Lodge
Red Lodge Pizza Co

We ate here multiple times, and it worked out great. The salad bar (they have a kid’s salad bar price as well) and a couple of pizzas were perfect for us for lunch or dinner. Craig and I really enjoyed their vegetarian pizza options. The crust was delicious!

I also tried the huckleberry lemonade which was yummy as well. The highlight for the kids was their Crazy Cookie – a chocolate chip cookie cooked in a skillet and topped with 2 scoops of ice cream. It was delicious!

They also have an ice cream counter if you just want to stop in to grab an ice cream cone.

Prerogative Kitchen

Prerogative Kitchen in Red Lodge
Prerogative Kitchen in Red Lodge

This was such a unique place! The inside decor was so fun and unique, and so was the food. They have a menu of small plate options.

You select a protein and then multiple side dishes to go with it. It was a fun way to try a variety of different things, and everything was delicious!!

They also had a great drink and wine menu. If you have adventurous eaters, this is a great place to go – they do also have cheeseburgers, so if everyone isn’t up for trying something new, no worries!

We couldn’t believe all of the great food and restaurants on this small main road in this beautiful mountain town! You should come and stay for a couple of nights just so you can try all of the food.

Where To Stay

The Pollard Hotel

The Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge Montana

This a great spot to stay since it is located in historic downtown Red Lodge and you can walk to pretty much everything! They also have the dining room on site for breakfast and the Pub for dinner; every Friday and Saturday, they have live music.

We stopped in both nights, and it was packed! The music was great and perfect for getting up to dance.

They also have a full-on gym in the basement – nicer than some gyms back home! It literally was a fully equipped gym, along with a couple of racquetball courts.

The rooms are your basic hotel room – but you aren’t here for that as much as you are for the location and the food :).

Click here to book The Pollard Hotel now!

Parkside Campground

We stayed at the Parkside Campground in the National Forest just south of Red Lodge and fell in love with it. The campground sits right at the foot of the Beartooth Highway and has a ton of sites right on a river.

There are no hookups, but you’ll get plenty of nature and mountain fresh air, which we love! We stayed at site #07 and you can see what it looks like in the video below.

Other Campgrounds

About an hour and 15 minutes from Red Lodge is Horseshoe Bend Campground in Lovell, WY. The campsites here overlook Bighorn Lake and Sykes Mountain, offering beautiful scenery!

Billings Village RV Park is about an hour north of Red Lodge. Right off I-90, it offers quick access to traveling around the area. You could also check out all the things to do in Billings, MT.

Vacation Rentals

This luxurious log cabin has beautiful views, a golf course, and a hot tub! And it’s only a short walk to Red Lodge.

Check out these awesome Montana VRBO options, too!

Red Lodge, MT, is an awesome location to visit, with so many great outdoor recreation options, scenery, and restaurants. You can plan a whole trip here with all of these great things to do in Red Lodge, MT, or include it as a stop on your Yellowstone Vacation. 

Check out these articles for more on the beautiful area around Red Lodge, Montana:

9 Awesome Things To Do In West Yellowstone

A Guide To The Best Yellowstone Vacation and Beyond

23 Exciting and Fun Things To Do In Bozeman, MT

19 Magical Things To Do In Glacier National Park [Map Included]

15 Amazing Things To Do In Stanley, Idaho

In partnership with Yellowstone Country and Red Lodge

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Here are 22 amazing things to do in Red Lodge, Montana for an awesome mountain town vacation! Everything you need to know - including where to eat and where to stay.
Here are 22 amazing things to do in Red Lodge, Montana for an awesome mountain town vacation! Everything you need to know - including where to eat and where to stay.

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