Summer makes me want to hit the road, and one of my favorite things to do is explore Montana. Red Lodge is just a few hours from Bozeman, so it makes a perfect overnight getaway.
Day 1: Hike and Main Street
Take the scenic drive to Red Lodge, arriving midday.
It can be hard to choose a place to hike since there are so many great trails just outside of town. A few miles from Red Lodge, along the banks of the West Fork of Rock Creek, is the Silver Run Ski Trail system. These trails are pretty flat, scenic and can be linked together to create whatever length outing your family is up for.
(From Red Lodge drive south and turn right on West Fork Road. Stay straight at 2.8 miles. Drive another 1.6 miles to Silver Run Road and turn left. Drive across the bridge and park.)
Stroll down Broadway andif you have older kidspop into the Red Lodge Clay Center to check out the newest exhibition. Kids of all ages will enjoy Magpie Toymakers where youll find toys powered by imaginationnot batteries. Dont forget a stop at Montana Candy Emporium, an old-fashioned candy shop.
Download a self-guided historic walking tour map and discover Red Lodge’s heritage while you walk.
We often take scooters with us to explore small towns. They are easy to pack, fun for kids, and not as intrusive as a bike. The best folding scooter let’s kids burn off some energy during travel.
End the day with dinner at the kid-friendly Red Lodge Pizza Company.
Day 2: Mine and Native Animals
Mine the past
Follow Hwy 308 east. Just a few miles from town youll see the coalmines of Washoe and Bearcreek. Markers offer geologic and historic details, including the story of the Smith Mine Disaster of 1942.
Go Wild at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary
Visit native animals at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, a refuge for animals that cannot be released into the wild. Meet bobcats, coyotes, bald eagles, mountain lions and other wild critters.
The Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary (formerly Beartooth Nature Center) takes animals that cannot be released into the wild and gives them a home below the Beartooth Mountains on the outskirts of Red Lodge.
Most of the animals come from Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks. Some were confiscated when people illegally kept them as pets; others were found when their mothers were shot or otherwise orphaned. Some were just donated from private ranches when they no longer wanted them or couldnt keep them.
The nature center is good for the animals and a nice educational experience. The animals are interesting to watch and the gardens are beautifully abloom with native flowers.
Red Lodge Trip Planning
Find out about lodging, camping, rafting, horseback riding and a million other things to do in Red Lodge at redlodge.com.
From Montana Parent, Summer 2009 and updated in 2019.
Other Red Lodge Posts
Red Lodge Road Trip–Are we there, yet? from Montana Parent magazine