“Red Lodge is a place of extraordinary beauty and, wherever you turn, real smiles, genuine warmth and a welcoming, Western-style hospitality.”OUR FRIENDS AT REDLODGE.COM
Red Lodge, Montana and the Beartooth Mountains hold a special place in our hearts. The mountains are our playground and the small town of 2,300 residents is our “world headquarters.” In fact, we chose Red Lodge after a two-week trip through the Rocky Mountains as the perfect place to locate our company. We know there are more famous places in Montana, such as Glacier National Park, Big Sky, and portions of Yellowstone. And we love those too. But for a genuine, non-touristed, real Montana experience, you cannot beat Red Lodge and the Beartooths.
The breathtaking Beartooth Mountains are the highest mountain range in Montana, with numerous peaks above 12,000 feet, and offer an abundance of phenomenal hiking trails featuring pristine alpine lakes, gorgeous plateaus, and stunning vistas. The hiking is moderate and you will have options for various distances.
But we’ll do much more than hike in the mountains. We’ll take you on a ride up the Beartooth Pass, considered one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country. The road zigzags up a series of switchbacks along the Montana-Wyoming border, topping out at almost 11,000 feet and with a view of the “bear’s tooth” for which the mountain range is named. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife throughout the trip and you might spot marmots, moose, coyote, big-horned sheep, mountain goats, grizzly bears and black bears.
We’ll also spend a fun morning river rafting on the Yellowstone River (pending water levels), jump on a horse for a trail ride like a true Montanan, and visit the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary. If you are interested, we can even arrange for a private fly fishing or rock climbing guide at extra cost.
Tucked into a valley between glaciers and plains, it won’t take you long to fall in love with Red Lodge. Our charming mountain town has great restaurants, fun shops and laid-back local watering holes. There are no stoplights in the entire county yet we are only one hour from the airport in Billings and two hours from Bozeman. The locals are incredibly friendly too – including our wonderful local guides!
Benefits of Taking a Guided Vacation with Travel Montana >> By taking a guided tour your vacation will be even more amazing than it would be if you were on your own. Our guides are experts – not just in the outdoors – but in knowing the best restaurants, the best times and locations to view popular sights, the history of the region, and in interpersonal dynamics and creating group fun. It means you can let our team take care of every detail so you can actually relax and enjoy your vacation!
Looking to explore more of Montana? Check out our Best of Montana Vacation featuring the Beartooth Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park!
Travel Montana is an authorized permit holder of the US Forest Service and equal opportunity service provider
- Activities: Hiking, Horseback Riding, River Rafting, Beartooth Pass Scenic Drive
- Duration: 5 days
Price Per Person
4 - 5 people: $2,900
6 - 7 people: $2,800
8+ people: $2,750
- Single Supplement: $575
- Public Tour Date: n/a
- Explore Travel Montana's charming hometown, Red Lodge, Montana, set in the stunning Beartooth Mountains
- Hike a number of spectacular trails to beautiful alpine lakes, scenic plateaus, and breathtaking vistas
- Look for local wildlife including mountain goats, moose, deer, wild turkeys, eagles, marmots, coyotes, and bears
- Jump on a horse to get the true Montana experience and raft on the Yellowstone River
- Get a REAL Montana experience with a Montana-based company and local guides
Note: since most of our hikes are "out and backs" it is easy to shorten or lengthen the distances of the hikes below.
Welcome to your Montana Vacation! We meet in Billings at the airport or a downtown hotel (you can also meet us in Red Lodge if you are driving) and shuttle directly to Red Lodge (1 hr away). Upon arrival, we'll drop off our luggage at the hotel, discuss our plans for the week, and pack a trail lunch to take with us. After a short shuttle to the trailhead, we'll begin our introductory hike, a gentle and gradual uphill along the beautiful rushing waters of the Lake Fork of Rock Creek, where we commonly see moose. Squeezed between Hellroaring and Silver Creek plateaus, we will turn around at Broadwater Lake (actually just a widening of the river) after stopping at our favorite place on the trail - Snack Rock. We'll then return to our hotel to check in before departing for dinner at our friends' fun, casual tapas restaurant downtown.
Main Hiking Route: 7 miles - with up to 800 feet of elevation gain
This morning we shuttle 90 minutes to our trailhead in the West Rosebud Valley. Although it is only a few miles as the crow flies, we have to drive around the mountain range along the sky-high ranch country of the Beartooth Front to get to one of the most stunning locations in the area: Mystic Lake, a large lake made even larger by a hydroelectric dam. Because most of the hike is in a protected wilderness area, the power company that controls the dam has had very little impact to the lake itself and it is a nice example of man's progress melding with nature. A steady climb of three miles along West Rosebud Creek and through Custer National Forest will take us past a plethora of huckleberry bushes, through rock fields and stands of Lodgepole Pines and Aspens, to the edge of the lake. Before reaching the lakeshore, make sure to pause at the overlook to get a glimpse of Montana's uniquely shaped tallest mountain, Granite Peak. You can stop here to enjoy lunch, or continue another 2.7 miles around the lakeshore to Huckleberry Creek before turning around and heading back to the trailhead. We'll stop for dinner on our way home at a local restaurant.
Main Hiking Route: 6 miles round trip to the edge of the lake with 1,200 feet elevation gain (plus an opportunity for an easy extension around the lakeshore trail of almost 6 additional miles).
We'll give our feet a bit of a break today! After breakfast, we'll drive to the Yellowstone River for some fun and casual rafting with our rafting guide friends. Lunch is on the river bank with gourmet sandwiches and a refreshing drink. In the afternoon we'll visit the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, which provides a lifelong habitat to wildlife that is unable to be released back into the wild. he residents of the sanctuary include black bear, wolf, coyote, lynx, mountain lion, bobcat, fox, porcupine, a variety of prey birds, and Speedy the Bison! Another delicious dinner in Red Lodge awaits us and to top things off, we'll take a stroll around town while enjoying some tasty Montana-made ice cream.
Today is a big day! In the morning we visit our local wrangler friends for a horseback ride starting right from Rock Creek in Red Lodge. Our 1.5-hour ride takes us up onto the plateau above town where we have views of the Beartooth Mountains to the west, Mount Maurice to the south, the vast expanses of plains to the east, and Red Lodge snuggled below us in the valley. No experience is necessary and we'll match a horse to your riding ability. We then depart Red Lodge to drive up the famous Beartooth Pass, considered one of the most beautiful drives in the country. Up, up, up we go - to almost 11,000 feet - keeping our eyes open to try and spot the mountain goats that are commonly seen in this beautiful high-altitude tundra. We'll get out for pictures at the top of the pass before getting out to hike from Gardner Lake to Hauser Lake, the only point-to-point hike of the trip. After a short steep decline, the rest of the hike is relatively flat with beautiful scenic views in every direction. Tonight, we will have a special farewell dinner!
Main Hiking Route: 6 miles.
On our last morning together, we have an optional walk on a flat gravel path that encircles the airport and rodeo grounds, with beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains and plains. You'll have time to shower before checking out of the hotel. We'll then shuttle everyone back to Billings, where you can catch your flight home or extend your stay.
Main Route: 3 miles of nearly flat walking.Book This Vacation
CHATEAU ROUGE / RED LODGE
All four nights of this tour are spent in the comfortable and very spacious rooms of the Chateau Rouge. Units are individually owned and feature a sitting room and kitchen. This is a secret of town locals! (Please note for private tours we might use other lodging depending on dates and availability.)Book This Vacation
Arrival & Departure
We meet you in the morning in Billings whenever your flight arrives and head straight to Red Lodge an hour away. On the last afternoon of the tour, we will drop you off at the Billings airport or at a downtown hotel if you are planning to extend your stay.
- One local Travel Montana guide will accompany each trip. Additional guides added depending on group size.
- Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. You have the option to pay the single supplement to get your own room if you don’t want a roommate.
- If you are coming on a public tour solo, we will find you a roommate of the same gender. Many tour companies require you to pay a single supplement if they can’t find you a roommate. We don’t! If we can’t find you a roommate then you may end up getting your own room at no charge (although this is pretty rare). For private tours, all lodging is double occupancy.
- All of your meals except for one lunch are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included.
- All your ground transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
- All group activities including rafting and horseback riding. Optional fly fishing or rock climbing with a private guide is extra.
- NOT INCLUDED: Beverages, desserts, some lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
When to Travel
The season for outdoor activities in Red Lodge generally runs from May through September. In the summer months of July and August, highs average 80 degrees so the days can be warm. June and September are about ten degrees cooler, making them a wonderful 70 degrees on average for daytime highs, while in May high temperatures average in the low 60s. However, given we will be in the mountains on this tour and need to wait until the snow melts, this tour is best suited for the months of July, August, and September.
Changes to Your Itinerary
While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience.
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Interested in booking a vacation but still have questions? No problem!