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Hike South Fork Grove Creek Near Red Lodge, Montana

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The South Fork Grove Creek Trail near Red Lodge is a little bumpy in the approach, but a nice walk once you get there.

The dirt road from Red Lodge to the trailhead is only about 7.5 miles, but it is a slow drive. Most of the route is pretty good, but there are some rocky sections. And watch out for the cows that hang out in the road.

Cows in the middle of the road


The “trail” is really a road that climbs steeply from the trailhead and parallels the South Fork of Grove Creek. The best part about this walk is the view of the Meeteetse Spires—part of the Palisades (a dramatic limestone formation). In fact, the trail goes right through the spires.

View from the trailhead

View from the trailhead

Meeteetse Spire

Meeteetse Spire

The road climbs through Douglas-firs, limber pines, and aspens. At the first junction (about 1 mile) stay to the right (you’ll come back this way) and continue for 1.7 miles from the trailhead to the remnants of an old rock structure near the creek.

Cross the creek and go left at the next junction, heading back towards the trailhead, making a lollipop loop.

South Fork Grove Creek Trail

History of the Meeteetse Trail

The Meeteetse Trail began as an Army supply trail in 1881 that started at Meeteetse, Wyoming came through Red Lodge and continued on to Coulson (now Billings). The road brought the first mail, supplies, and settlers the 100-mile distance from Meeteetse to Red Lodge and was originally called the “100 Mile Route”. Several years after its opening, stagecoaches began to travel the Meeteetse regularly.

Details For Hiking South Fork Grove Creek

Getting To South Fork Deep Creek: From the south end of Red Lodge, turn left (east) onto Meeteetse Trail. Follow the dirt road 7.4 miles to a “Y” junction (.9 miles past North Fork Grove Creek access). Stay to the right .25 miles to a parking area.

Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet

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3 thoughts on “Hike South Fork Grove Creek Near Red Lodge, Montana”

  1. Mark Fisher

    Hi Melynda,
    I have been up this dirt road/trail on South Grove Creek in 2015 past the palisades to the Forest Service.

    My BLM maps show private land on the west half of section 35 and the W1/2 of NE1/4. This is where the road switches back and forth through the palisades. Do you know if it is legal to go on this trail across private land?

    Mark Fisher

  2. Mark Fisher

    Hi Mel,
    This is Mark again. I talked to BLM and they told me they acquired the private land (about 10 years ago?). It is legal to hike.


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