Friday, September 4, 2015

Red Lodge, MT, Two Weeks in a Mountain Paradise!

We'd never have known about Red Lodge, MT if not for a chance encounter with fellow RVers during our stay in Desert Hot Springs last fall. Its location along the Beartooth Highway and nestled up against the Beartooth Mountains makes it an outdoor enthusiasts paradise.

Red Lodge sits at 5,568 feet and has just over 2,000 people, though I don't know if those are year round residents...the winters are cold! But even winter is popular here, there is a ski resort just a few miles from town. We were amazed at the number of streams and creeks in this area and many lakes can be found in the Beartooth Mountains, so fishing is popular as well.

The town has a number of charming shops, not overly touristy, and plenty of places to eat and drink. The Friday afternoon farmers market was small but well vended and attended, many of the produce vendors also sell at the excellent Billings farmers market on Saturdays.

They even have a brewery, Red Lodge Ales, whose tasty beers are sold all over Montana and Wyoming. The brewery offers tours and food and a pleasant location for a pint or two.

We were fortunate to meet several other couples at our RV park and one evening a few of us went into town to see the Red Elvises. This lively band tours the country constantly...if they come to your town, SEE THEM! They are a ton of fun!

Red Lodge is a really wonderful little town in a terrific location, we'd stay here again in a heart beat!

Downtown Red Lodge

Deer and turkey are often seen in yards around town.
In fact, turkey hunting season can bring hundreds into town for safety!

Red Lodge Ales has a terrific venue on the North end of town.
Hans plays cornhole while sipping a delicious Helio Hefeweizen.
I really enjoyed the Jack's 90 Scottish Ale.

The Red Elvises...SO MUCH FUN!

While we rarely saw large animals out on the trail, we did see LOTS of animals in town. Mostly turkey and deer...but the highlight was seeing this huge black bear! He must have weighed four hundred pounds.

We'd heard he was seen around town regularly so we would drive around hoping to see him, when finally one day Hans spotted him on the east hillside, not 100 yards from homes. As we watched he ambled around the hillside and then went in his den...scarily close to homes and only a couple of blocks from downtown.

Those are power lines cutting across the photo, he is very close to homes.

This is a BIG bear!

It was amazing how fast he could cross a hillside.

Love the tongue sticking out!
We were shocked when he went into a hole in those rocks just out of sight!

That black hole in the rocks is the bears den!
We were sitting in our truck probably 50 yards away.

Campground Review
There are many forest service campgrounds near Red Lodge and even some dispersed camping sites as well. But we like our hookups so we stayed at Perry's RV Park and Campground, just a couple of miles south of town.

Perry's has 50 RV sites with water and electric, some are right off the highway and some are down near Rock Creek. There are also numerous tent sites. Upon arrival we learned that it is okay to dump your grey water in the bushes/trees and they also let us borrow their Gator and dump tote to dump our black tank mid-stay, sweet!

We were in pull through site 34 down on the creek level. Though our neighbors were pretty close we were still situated for maximum privacy and it was very quiet at night. Some sites back up to Rock Creek, though none of those were available for our entire stay. Weekends were quite busy at this park and we learned that many folks were repeat visitors...this is a friendly, well located place to stay.

The park does not offer internet but we had good Verizon signal. Restrooms and showers are available and the owners are building a new restroom and laundry facility that will be ready to go next summer. In the meantime, the laundromat in town is excellent.

One important thing to be aware of: there is a black bear that lives somewhere near the RV park and is a regular visitor in the park! We're told it is a two year old, and it looks to be about two hundred pounds. We'd heard stories of him coming through camp (even rocking a car that someone was sleeping in!) and I finally saw him one morning while out walking Rosie.

Site #34.

Rosie hanging out by Rock Creek.

Hans using the Gator and dump tote.

Ruffed grouse came through the RV park several times...they were not afraid of people at all!

The local bear about 40 feet away from me!

We shared several evenings with Rick and Trudy, our next door neighbors.

Today we're off to Cody, WY where we'll stay through the holiday weekend.


  1. Beautiful peek of Red Lodge, MT. There is a timeshare there that I have wanted to try out. Difficult to book in the summer but there seems to be lots of winter availabily.

    1. :-) If you like Nordic sports this would be a great place in the winter!

  2. Yes, that part of Montana is drop dead gorgeous! Cool to see a black bear (from a distance that is!)

  3. Well, you sure got your money's worth of wildlife sightings. Didn't know about Red Lodge either.

  4. Red Lodge sounds like a perfect place to spend some time. What were your daytime temperatures?
    Funny about the bears so close to town. That's usually where we see all the wildlife, too. In fact a big horn sheep ran across the road in front of our motorhome last week. We rarely see them out hiking.

    1. Mid 80's were the hottest temps we had, and on the hottest days we did the highest hikes.

  5. We loved Red Lodge although we only spent a day there....rode the Harley from Cody! I do remember a great chocolate shop!

    What awesome pictures of the bears! But my favorite would be Rosie by the creek...

  6. Bears are hitting Ouray trash cans now, getting ready for the long winter.

  7. We learned of Red Lodge by a seasonal employee in Yellowstone who had a home there. Lovely town with so much to offer. Great photos!

  8. We will have to keep that one in the memory. Looks like a great place to explore. When in Cody check out Pat O'Hara Brewing Company. We had a good time there and the food and beer were very good.

    1. We had beers, a burger and a bratwurst and pigged out at Pat O'Hara Brewing Co!

    2. I hope that you enjoyed yourselves there. I had the Irish Bangers and Jenn had the Shepherds Pie as we both thought they were really great meals. I had to try Living the Dream Pale Ale as I always tell people that I am living the dream. A fun little brewing company.

  9. We loved Red Lodge too! And that Helio Hefe is one of my all time favorite beers. We never saw the bear though!

    1. I really like the Helio Hefe as well and bought a six pack at the grocery store. I wish we had more beer storage! ;-)

  10. Thanks for alerting me to Red Lodge. Looks like a great spot for a while. Hope the locals know now to leave any food of any kind any where if they want to keep their resident bears healthy and not in danger. Those are fantastic pictures of them both. I guess the town was there and then the bears moved in rather than the other way around. Love this post. Montana is such a great place........well other than winter!

  11. A great little town! How very cool to see that huge bear come down and go into a den! I guess the young bear is rather calm since he hangs out at the campground!? Great photos of the bears!

    I do believe we saw the Red Elvis' in Erie a few years ago at the community park. Sure sounds like you had a wonderful stay in Red Lodge. Rosie looks so cute by the river:)

  12. What a great spot to spend the month. I like the look of that site, and having the creek so close by. Rosie is so dang cute. That's a lot of bear to be so close to town. Love your pics, especially the one of him on the rock next to the rock shoes! Red Lodge looks like our kind of little town, we'll put it on the list for sure.

  13. Beautiful area, and sounds like something to put on the list for sure. Beautiful photos you have in your collections, and oh, how we enjoy visiting with campground neighbors.
    May your travels be on the wings of God’s Angels
    Till next time
    Cyndi & Budhi

  14. Looks and sounds like a great place. Glad you had your camera close for those bear photos.

  15. Red Lodge looks like an incredible place. (Of course you guys make almost anywhere look incredible.) We've got to go there next time through Montana. Can't believe that bear!!! Great pictures of him/her. Glad he didn't bother you or Rosie.

  16. What a fun and charming town! Looks like a place we would really enjoy. Very cool that you saw bears -- but a bit scary that they're so acclimated to being around people. Love the photo of Rosie relaxing by the creek. :-)

  17. Of course we will be there next year! I was surprised to see Rosie outside, was the Bear not just nearby?
    This is a charming town to explore.
    Hans is so cool looking with his pose, a winning pose. I like Hefeweizen too.