5 winter activities for kids and families in Red Lodge, Montana

Get a sugar high at the Montana Candy Emporium

This old fashioned candy shop is stuffed with baskets full of candy, homemade chocolates and huckleberry originals.

The boys love picking out their favorite candies, and I love taking pictures. This place is photogenic thanks to the nostalgic décor, and well-staged candy buckets.

A couple hours later the boys fall apart from too much sugar, but they think it’s worth it.

Hit the slopes at http://www.redlodgemountain.com/” target=” http://www.redlodgemountain.com/“> Red Lodge Mountain

Their motto is “Red Lodge Mountain is Montana Skiing, pure and simple. No lift lines, no attitude, no big prices. Just great snow, great people, and an authentic experience in Montana’s Rocky Mountains.”

It’s not cheap, but it’s not Big Sky or Vail prices. We stick the kids in a lesson and then just buy a lower mountain (Miami Beach) pass so we can ski with them after.

If you are renting equipment, you may want to rent in town. Sizes are quantities are limited on the mountain.

Expand your knowledge with a Beartooth Ranger District Ranger Program

We stumbled on this ranger talk just hours before it started. This bit of spontaneity proved to add an entertaining and interesting element to our trip. And it’s nice to have something free and healthy to do with kids in the evening.

The Beartooth Ranger District of the USFS joins the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association in hosting full moon campfires. We attended one at the Red Lodge Nordic Center . We skied about 100 yards to the campfire (although several people just walked to the side of the ski tracks) to learn about lunar geology.

Since we got there a little early, the boys and I were able to ski around the groomed trails before the program began. Kicking and gliding through aspens after dark was a new experience for the boys and one they really enjoyed.

When we returned to the campfire, a Forest Service geologist passed around binoculars to look at the moon, maps to understand the many craters, and hot cocoa to keep us warm. We learned about the geology of the moon and how astronauts trained nearby to learn from the local platinum and palladium deposits similar to the moon’s rocks. We got to drop rocks into a pan of layered powders to mimic asteroids hitting the moon.

It wasn’t very cold the night we went, but wow, was it windy! I wished we had brought snow boots, because we all got cold toes standing around in our cross-country ski boots.

Kick and glide Nordic-style

It’s not a winter vacation without cross-country skiing. I mean, what’s the point? There seems to be a lot of skiing options and we’ve only checked out a couple. I guess we need to take another trip.

Red Lodge Nordic Center
The only groomed trails in the area are at the Red Lodge Nordic Center west of town. Over 15 km of trails are laid out to take advantage of the inspiring views (or so I’ve heard, it was dark when we were there) and easy-going terrain. This is a great place for families.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/custer/recreation/fishing/recarea/?recid=61433&actid=50″> Silver Run Ski Trails
Drive about five miles up the West Fork of Rock Creek to the Silver Creek Ski Trails on the left. There’s an easy 4 km loop (which we skied), a 7 km intermediate loop, and an 11 km advanced loop. I think the difficulty rating is based on distance, not technical difficulty or elevation change.

The mellow trails run through trees and boulders. It’s really pretty, but not especially scenic. The lower portions of the loops follow Rock Creek.

I made this video to remind Finn that he likes to ski.

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Call the Forest Service (406.446.2103) or Sylvan Peak (406.446.1770) for snow conditions. Apparently it can be pretty rocky if there isn’t enough snow.

We’ve also hiked these trails in the summer.

Here’s a list of other ski trails around Red Lodge we hope to investigate in the future.

Meet the animals at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary

I’ve written about this animal sanctuary several times. Like here and here.

It’s a little different in the winter. The gorgeous flowers are gone, of course, and the bears are hibernating, but there are still plenty of critters to learn from.

The YWS is dedicated to the care of Yellowstone ecosystem wildlife that cannot return to the wild due to injury or human imprinting. Their non-releasable wild animals act as ambassadors to help teach visitors about the value of wildlife, habitat preservation and conservation.

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