Nestled against the rugged Beartooth Mountains, Red Lodge, Montana (population 1,875) was built on coal mining. The Rocky Ford Coal Company opened the area’s first mine in 1887 and by 1891 more than 400 immigrants were digging an average of 100 tons of coal a day. Today, tourism and ranching have replaced coal as the town’s main source of income.
One of the town’s major attractions is the Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery, housed in a restored 1889 train depot. Less than a block away, the Carbon County Historical Museum features exhibits on rodeo artifacts, fire wagons and a homesteader cabin.
A walking tour of the city takes visitors to the site of the Sundance Kid’s 1897 bank robbery, to Victorian “castles,” and the Theatorium, built in 1921 and decorated with marble statues imported from Italy. Visitors learn about the town’s mining boom and the bootlegging heyday that followed the bust.
Located at the northern edge of the Greater Yellowstone region, Red Lodge offers easy access to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Red Lodge Mountain ski area, and the legendary Beartooth highway. The area offers breathtaking scenery and the full gamut of outdoor recreational activities.
Every year the town hosts music and arts festivals, motorcycle rallies, and the Festival of Nations, a celebration of the town’s diverse ethnic heritage featuring three days of music, dancing, costumes, and food from around the world.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2006.