to promote non-motorized trails along the Beartooth Front

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TRAILS

BEARTOOTH RECREATIONAL TRAILS ASSOCIATION

BRTA improves the quality of life and health for Red Lodge residents and visitors by partnering with area organizations to create and maintain trails in Red Lodge and along the Beartooth Front for hikers, bikers, and horses. We work with the US Forest Service on non-motorized trails in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, and with the City, County, and private landowners on the Rocky Fork trail system.

 

Since 2011, BRTA has donated more than $78,000 to bring crews of Montana Conservation Corps workers to construct and improve trails. This work has been done in partnership with the US Forest Service, city of Red Lodge, and dozens of local volunteers who cook hearty meals for the young crews (and compete to be voted the kids’ favorite!).

 

We’ve leveraged thousands of hours of volunteer time through trail “work days” and Adopt-a-Trail maintenance programs. Among the trails that BRTA has contributed to are the Palisades, Nichols Creek, Face of the Mountain, Coal Miners’ Park, and Red Lodge Airport trails. Part of BRTA’s mission includes providing resources on area trails that can be of value to residents and visitors; you can access this resource using the menu on the left.

TRAIL TIPS

Horses are allowed on trails except where noted. When encountering horses, hikers should step off the downhill side of the trail to let them pass; speak normally to the horse and rider.

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Always control your dog (leashes recommended) to protect your dog, yourself, others, and wildlife.

This is bear country. Carry bear spray, learn how to use it, learn about bears and how to live with them.

TRAILS RESOURCES

The Alpine-Mount Maurice topographical map by Rocky Mtn. Surveys is a good reference for these hikes. Day Hikes in the Beartooths by Robert Stone will define these and many more hikes in the area. Many of these trails are on US Forest Service public land. Call the Beartooth Ranger District, 406-446-2103 for information about trail conditions and restrictions; office is located on the south edge of Red Lodge on Highway 212. 

212. The Airport and Coal Miners Park Trails are on city land. Some trails—such as the Face of the Mountain—traverse private land. Always respect private property: Stay on the trail, and do not litter, camp, build fires, or trespass on private property. We are profoundly grateful to private property owners for working with us on trail access—but keeping those relationships positive depends on you.

 

The Sylvan Peak outdoor store in Red Lodge occasionally posts trail conditions on its website:

Visit the Custer Gallatin National Forest Website for more information including trail use guides and maps:

BRTA contributed to these  trails

Hikes in greater Red Lodge

Other West Fork Hikes

Hikes up the West Fork of Rock Creek - Distance from Red Lodge 3mi - 13mi

Beartooth Highway (212) Hikes

Hikes off the Beartooth (212) Highway - Distance from Red Lodge 4mi -11mi

Willow Creek Trail

From Highway 212, turn right/west near the south end of Red Lodge on West Fork Road; go one mile on pavement, turn right onto Palisades Campground Road, then 1 ½ miles to the Campground. The trailhead is at the far west end of the camp ground. This is a pleasant, forested, streamside, steady uphill trail about two miles and 800’ elevation to the Red Lodge Mtn. parking lot. Nice mountain biking.

From Highway 212, turn right/west near the south end of Red Lodge on West Fork Road; go one mile on pavement, turn right onto Palisades Campground Road, then 1 ½ miles to the Campground. The trailhead is at the far west end of the camp ground. This is a pleasant, forested, streamside, steady uphill trail about two miles and 800’ elevation to the Red Lodge Mtn. parking lot. Nice mountain biking.

Silver Run Trails

Take the West Fork Road off Hwy 212 and proceed 2.7 miles; turn left at the fork continuing on pavement another 1 ½ miles. Turn left at the sign for Silver Run Road, cross the bridge and park. The trails begin about ¼ mile west of the parking lot. Loop 1: 2.4 miles; loop 2: 3.4 miles; loop 3: 4.5 miles; loop 4: 5.1 miles. All are in lodge pole pine forest, are slightly up hill at first, and return along the river. Loop 4 connects to the Basin Lakes Trail. Nice mountain biking.

An option here is the Ingles Creek Trail which branches south off loop 2 past the bridge, and continues uphill about 2 miles and 1600’ to the ridge, meeting the Silver Run trail, then a mile down to the trailhead.

[The Silver Run Trail begins at the same parking lot as the Loop trails, or you can drive up that Silver Run road (high clearance vehicle) two miles to the trailhead. The distance from the Silver Run trailhead to the plateau is 2+ miles and 2000’ elevation.]

Basin Creek Lakes Trail

Turn west off Highway 212, south side of Red Lodge, onto West Fork Road and continue 2.7 miles; turn left at the junction, continuing on pavement 4.2 miles; turn left at the Basin Cr. Lake trailhead. This trail is uphill 2 ½ miles and 1400’ to the lower lake, and another 1 ½ miles and 700’ to the upper lake, all in lodge pole pine forest. (No horses except during hunting season).

Timberline Trail

Four miles past Basin Lakes trailhead on the left is Timberline L. Trailhead. This trail is four miles and 2,100’, near a stream, through a lot of burned forest. The lake is at the foot of 12,500’ Silver Run Mountain. Lake Gertrude about ½ mile below Timberline L. [A junction at 2 ½ miles heads left to Silver Run Lakes (1 ½ mi. & 700’) and the switchbacks up to Silver Run Plateau, continuing on as the Beartrack Trail over the Plateau. (No bikes)].

Senia Creek Trail

The Senia trailhead is at the end of West Fork road. This trail is a steep 2.5 miles and (2,000’) to the Red Lodge Cr. Plateau. It connects to the Red Lodge Cr. Trail (north east) and to the Spread Cr. Trail down to East Rosebud Lake.

West Fork Trail

At the end of West Fork Road (12.7 miles from Red Lodge) is the trailhead for the West Fork Trail. A pleasant 4 mile hike gaining 1,000’ and passing Calamity Falls and Sentinel Falls, takes you to Quinnebaugh Meadows. The trail continues to Sundance Pass, or up to Lake Mary.

Upper Rock Creek hikes

HIkes off the main fork of Rock Creek - Distance from Red Lodge 11+ miles

Glacier Lake Trail

Ten and one-half miles south of Red Lodge on Highway 212, turn right/west at the “campgrounds” sign; continue on this paved road about ½ mile, across Wyoming Creek bridge, past the Limberpine campground, then left on the gravel road where it forks. Drive 7 ½ miles on this very rough road to the Glacier Lake trailhead. It is 1 ½ miles/ 1,100’ to Glacier Lake through rocky, alpine terrain with high, granite cliffs in the background. (No bikes, no horses).

Parkside Rec. Trail

Ten and one-half miles south of Red Lodge on Highway 212, turn right/west at the “campgrounds” sign; turn right again less than ¼ mile in and park in the first parking lot; look for the Parkside Recreational Trail sign on the south side of the lot. This trail is less than two miles of gentle, mostly open terrain, paralleling Rock Creek. Another short hike (1/4 mile) goes from nearby Greenough Campground to Greenough Lake.

Beartrack Trail

This trailhead is eight miles south of Red Lodge on Highway 212, on the right side of the road, signed “Beartrack Trailhead”. It is about three miles and 3,000’ up to the Silver Run Plateau. The first 1,500’/one mile are through open hillsides with great views of the Rock Creek valley. On the Plateau, the trail connects with the Silver Run Trail and the continuation of the Beartrack Trail to Silver Run Lakes and the Timberline L. Trail.

Corral Creek Trail

Four miles south of Red Lodge on Hwy 212, turn left on the East Side Road; drive three miles to the Corral Cr. Trailhead. (Parking lot and trail sign are on your left, across the road from Rattin Campground). Take the trail behind the small sign and continue directly across the driveway. About ¼ mile on the trail you will cross another driveway…look for small “Trail” signs in the immediate area to again get you on the trail. This pleasant uphill walk follows the creek to the Line Creek Plateau (over 3,000’ and three+ miles), with several nice destinations along the way; great views of the 2000 Willy Fire down valley.

Lake Fork Trail

Eight and a half miles south of Red Lodge, turn right/west off Highway 212 at the “Lake Fork” sign. This paved road goes two miles to the trailhead. It is a pleasant uphill grade along the creek and in the forest, three miles/800’to Broadwater; four miles/1,300’ to Lost Lake; 5½ miles/ 2,000’ to Black Canyon Lake; or six miles/ 1,500’ to Keyser Brown Lake. The trail continues up to September Morn Lake and Sundance Pass. (No bikes).

(There is also a 1+ mile/300’ trail from Lions Camp to the Lake Fork trailhead on the east side of Lake Fork Creek. About 1 ¼ mi. from Hwy. 212, park beside the road on your left, and look for a foot bridge below the road, crossing the creek to that short trail.)

(No bikes)

Mt. Maurice Trail

Four miles south of Red Lodge on Hwy. 212, turn left/east onto the East Side Road (or park at the Rock Creek Resort and walk across the footbridge to the East Side Road). About ½ mile from the highway, on the East Side Road, turn left on a dirt road and park. Walk up this road a short way and open the gate…you are on the trail. It is a pleasant uphill hike through open and forested land, continuing three miles & 3,000’ to the Line Creek Plateau. There are nice destinations along the way, and the lower section has great views of the valley.

Airport Trail

A sunny three-mile loop around the Red Lodge airport, rodeo grounds, and fairgrounds, with views of downtown and surrounding mountains. Feel free to walk, bike or horseback the trail, constructed in 2009 with $105,000 in grants secured by the city, county, and BRTA. Trailheads: (1) 15th Street at McGillen Avenue, (2) Highway 78 at Rodeo Grounds entrance, (3) White Ave. and Airport Rd. Three mile loop; packed sand; no elevation gain.

LINK TO MAP >

Coal Miners Park

The 49-acre park includes mountain biking trails, riverside walking trails, fishing accesses, picnic areas, a coal mining memorial, and a disc golf course. Trails wind around the top and drop down the east side to the pleasant Rock Creek. The city and the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) constructed the park in 1994; more recently BRTA has funded MCC maintenance and extension of the Rock Creek trail. Directions: Take Second St. to the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary parking lot. Additional trailheads (very limited parking): Beartooth Lane and Fifth St. East.

LINK TO MAP >

Palisades Trail

A long three miles, gently sloped with 700’ elevation gain through ponderosa & lodgepole pine, fir and aspen forests and sagebrush meadows. To protect moose and other wildlife, no dogs January through June. This trail was constructed by the Forest Service in 2013, with BRTA providing volunteer labor and funding for MCC crews. It is popular with horsemen, bikers, and hikers. It is also popular with wildlife, including predators. Be alert. For the north trailhead: from junction of Hwy 212 & 78, go west on 78 one mile, turn left (west); then 3 miles to end of Fox Rd. For the south trailhead: From Highway 212, turn right/west near the south end of Red Lodge on West Fork Road; go one mile on pavement, turn right onto Palisades Campground Road, then 1 ½ miles to the Campground. The trailhead is at the far west end of the camp ground. Hike about 100 yards on the Willow Cr. Trail, then turn right/north onto the Palisades Trail.  

LINK TO MAP >

Nichols Creek Trail

Good mountain biking on a four-mile trail with 1000’ of elevation gain. The Forest Service completed this trail in 2018, with BRTA providing volunteer labor and funding for MCC crews. The upper trailhead is at the Red Lodge Mountain parking lot (yep, same lot where the Willow Cr. Trail connects). The lower trailhead is a quarter-mile down the  West Fork Road from its junction with Ski Run Road.

Face of The Mountain

This trail follows switchbacks of the old Black & White Road (the original road to Beartooth Pass), 1700’ up Mount Maurice to gain views of Red Lodge and limestone spires. From the ridgetop, it continues south to the Wyoming border (Robertson Draw and Line Cabin) for a one-way total distance of eight miles. The Forest Service constructed the trail in 2011, with BRTA providing grants for MCC crews. Notes: 1) the first 1 ¼ mi crosses private, open sage land; please respect private property. 2) the next few miles are bear habitat; be alert. Directions: From Highway 212 on the south edge of Red Lodge, turn left onto Meeteetse Trail Road; drive 3.3 miles on this (seldom maintained, oft-muddy) county road to the trailhead on your right.