Red Lodge Backcountry
Situated at the foot of the Beartooths, Red Lodge is the first mountain town travelers reach when coming from the North and East. Those who appreciate the town and it's location will find the skiing to be just as special. The best tours here are found mid winter for beginner backcountry riders and in early summer, for those seeking a ski mountaineering adventure.
Access to Red Lodge is easy by Montana standards. Flying into Billings, MT or Cody, WY offers the quickest and easiest access to the region, with only 1 hour drive times. For those wishing to combine their winter trip with skiing around the Bozeman/Big Sky area, consider flying in or out of Bozeman, 2.5 hours away.
The roads in the plains are windswept and see less snowfall, meaning that they are generally well kept and snow free. Regardless, visitors should be prepared for snow and ice on any trip through this region. 4wd/awd is recommended.
The Northern front of the Beartooths is unique. It is a dramatic and sudden change in landscape, with relief of over 5,000' between the nearby plains and the edge of the plateaus. The drainages here offer challenging access, but rewarding slopes and objectives.
Because of it's Northerly aspect, this part of the range is subject to very unique storms that deposit a lot of snow, and only here. When it dumps in Red Lodge, almost nowhere else in Southern Montana knows about it...
The best mid-winter tours in Red Lodge start at the trailheads less than 15 minutes from town. Here we often find empty slopes, fresh snow, and perfect intro-sized climbs/descents.
During early summer and late spring, this is our favorite place to start our ski mountaineering trips. Courses can take place on extremely accessible the Beartooth Pass and objectives like Whitetail Peak are common.
Red Lodge is the year-round jumping off point for all things Beartooth. This small, Western town is situated at the foot of the Beartooth Pass, just minutes from the ski hill and numerous large drainages.
Main Street can be full of tourists during the summer season, but when the nearby Beartooth Pass shuts down for winter, the town slows down. Visitors during this time of the year tend to be more local, here for winter recreation and the mountains.
Unlike the distilled nature of Cooke City, Red Lodge boasts many winter time activities and amenities. This makes it a reasonable destination for first time backcountry skiers/riders who want to eat out, enjoy a cozy Airbnb, shop, or visit the nearby lift-accessed terrain.