Sugar, slopes, sanctuary satisfy Red Lodge visitors -
Red Lodge Nordic Cross-country skiing

Sugar, slopes, sanctuary satisfy Red Lodge visitors

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Red Lodge Nordic Cross-country skiingNestled at the base of some of Montana’s highest peaks, Red Lodge is a mountain town with lots of culture and history. From Red Lodge’s historic downtown to the Abasroka-Beartooth Wilderness, art and Western tradition mingle, and there is plenty to do all winter long.

•Kick and glide under bluebird skies.

Cross-country skiing opportunities abound around Red Lodge.

From groomed trails at the Red Lodge Nordic Center, to dog-friendly touring along Rock Creek at the Silver Run Ski Trails, to the Lake Fork Trail, which heads into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, anyone who can click into a pair of Nordic planks can find somewhere ideal to ski.

Throughout the winter, the Beartooth Ranger District joins the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association in hosting full moon skis and talks. Meet at the Red Lodge Nordic Center and cross-country ski (or walk alongside the trail) in the shadow of aspens to a relaxing campfire and listen to talks about natural or local cultural history. For questions or special needs, call the Beartooth Ranger District at 406-446-2103.

Check in at Sylvan Peak on Broadway for ski rentals and the latest information on snow conditions.Red Lodge Nordic Cross-country skiing

• Meet the animals at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sanctuary is dedicated to the care of Yellowstone ecosystem wildlife that cannot return to the wild because of injury or human imprinting. These wild animals act as ambassadors to help teach visitors about the value of wildlife, habitat preservation and conservation.

While the bears are hibernating through the winter, coyotes, foxes, a mountain lion, wolves, a bison and other critters give visitors an up close look at animals native to the area.Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary Red Lodge

• Get a sugar high at the Montana Candy Emporium.

This old-fashioned candy shop is stuffed with baskets full of candy, homemade chocolates and huckleberry originals. The nostalgic decor makes visitors feel like they’ve stepped into the 1950s.
• Hit the slopes at Red Lodge Mountain. Their motto is “Red Lodge Mountain is Montana Skiing, pure and simple.” No lift lines, no attitude, no big prices. Just great snow, great people and an authentic experience in Montana’s Rocky Mountains.”

Just 10 minutes from downtown Red Lodge, the local ski area is big enough to be vacation-worthy, but small enough to make you feel like a local.candy

• Get cultured at the Red Lodge Clay Center.

The center provides a place for professionally-minded ceramic artists to create new work, and interested visitors to see that work in gallery exhibitions. They also host workshops, lectures, demonstrations and educational programming to share the importance of everyday art.•

• Step into the past at the Carbon County Historical Society Museum and take a self-guided walking tour of Red Lodge’s historic neighborhoods.

The museum’’s building is reason enough to visit. The Labor Temple was built in 1909 entirely by the Red Lodge Miners Local No. 1771 and put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The museum features the Greenough and Linderman rodeo collections, the Waples family gun and projectile point collection, an interactive coal and hard rock mine exhibit, the Carbon County archives and more.

The walking tour takes you to the site of the Sundance Kid’s 1897 bank robbery. You’ll also learn about the town’s mining boom and the bootlegging heyday that followed the bust. Get your copy of the walking tour from the Carbon County Museum.

For more information on planning your visit check out

Red Lodge MontanaThis story originally appeared in The Great Falls Tribune, February 8, 2014

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