• Photo: Daniel J. Rao / Shutterstock

Red Lodge

Nestled against the foot of the pine-draped Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, this little burg is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has become a full-blown resort town, complete with a ski area, trout fishing, access to backcountry hiking, horseback riding, and a golf course. Red Lodge was named for the Crow Indians’ custom of marking their tepee lodges with paintings of red earth. It became a town in the late 1880s, when the Northern Pacific Railroad laid tracks here to take coal back to Billings. One of Red Lodge’s most colorful characters from this time was former sheriff "Liver Eatin’" Jeremiah Johnston, the subject of much Western lore and an eponymous movie starring Robert Redford. This area is a favored stopover for motorcyclists and others heading over the Beartooth Highway to Yellowstone National Park. Free brochures for self-guided historical walking tours of the town and driving tours of the county are available at the chamber of commerce and the museum.

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