September 20-24, 2021
Join me for this last minute adventure in the great state of Montana. Explore the gorgeous scenery, raft, fly fish, horseback ride and hike- all in less than a week.
Read below to learn more about why Red Lodge, Montana is THE place to be this fall.
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 what we fondly term our “world headquarters.” 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. Each day we head out on a different trail seeking out 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. You’ll even have the option to hire a private fly fishing guide at an 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!
Welcome to your Montana Vacation! We meet in Bozeman Airport when our flight arrives and shuttle directly to Red Lodge, a couple hours away. Once we’ve arrived, 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: Six 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 six 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. The 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! We depart Red Lodge in the morning 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 descending the other side and getting out to hike from Island Lake to Beauty Lake, the only point-to-point hike of the trip. Although this is the flattest hike of the week, we are at almost 10,000 feet and we do have a couple of stream crossings! Back in the Red Lodge, we’ll take a very scenic horseback ride (no experience necessary) from Rock Creek up to the Beartooth Plateau. Tonight, we will have a special farewell dinner – a cookout at Montana Vacation Company’s Headquarters, complete with a campfire and s’mores! Main Hiking Route: Six miles of nearly flat hiking
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 Bozeman, where you can catch your flight home or extend your stay. Main Route: Three miles of nearly flat walking
We meet you in the morning in Bozeman whenever your flight arrives and head straight to Red Lodge a couple hours away. On the last afternoon of the tour, we will drop you off at the Bozeman airport or at a downtown hotel if you are planning to extend your stay. ** Southwest flies to Bozeman but you can fly any airline you wish. Just let me know so we can arrage tranport. I will fly Southwest.
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.
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.
Price- $2900 pp $500 non refundable deposit to hold your spot. Balance due 40 days before the trip.