By Ersin Ozer
Red Lodge, Montana, is the quintessential small town where easygoing locals frequent mom-and-pop businesses in the historic buildings lining the main drag. The surrounding valley and mountains were home to Crow Indian tribes before the town was established in 1884 during a coal-mining boom. Today, Red Lodge is the perfect Greater Yellowstone basecamp for outdoor getaways.
Beartooth Pass Highway – Drive this route all 68 miles from Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park. The engineering feat, completed in 1936, winds from the valley floor to nearly 11,000 feet and provides prime access to backcountry skiing, hiking, climbing and spectacular views.
Iron Horse Rodeo – This family-friendly crowd-pleaser features an arena where bikers compete in a motorcycle obstacle course, slow race, and weenie bite, among other events. The Iron Horse Rodeo caps off the Beartooth Rally, an annual three-day motorcycle fest now in its 21st year, scheduled for July 17-19.
Bearcreek Downs Pig Races – A swine rendition of the Kentucky Derby, attendees place bets on pigs racing around a track at Bearcreek Saloon and Steakhouse outside Red Lodge. Winnings are split 50/50: half going to victorious bidders, half placed into a college-scholarship fund for local youth. Races are held nightly from Thursday through Sunday all summer until Labor Day weekend.