Red Lodge, MT
Land Acknowledgement: This is the land of the Apsáalooke (Crow), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ and Salish people. They were stewards of this land from time immemorial. Click the links above to learn more about these native people.
After stopping at for a late breakfast/early lunch (where Kasen got a pancake as big as his head and declared it "the best pancake I have ever had!") we made our way to Red Lodge through Cody, WY. At Cody we stopped at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but this museum definitely went above and beyond my expectations. It's actually five museums combined together - Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indians Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and the Whitney Western Art Museum. We ended up spending five hours here. Noelle and Kasen were troopers and lasted four hours before heading to the playground for the last hour. It is a really well laid out museum with interactive exhibits and scavenger hunts for the kids. There was even a raptor show (which we unfortunately missed). It was on par with any museum I've been to and would highly recommend if you are ever in Cody!
With our extended time at the museum, we got into Red Lodge a little later than we planned. We headed to a grocery store for a quick dinner and breakfast items and than to our AirBnB. Red Lodge got hit hard by the flooding this spring and are still rebuilding. There's lots of roadwork and you can see how the river just decimated some of the houses near it. The downtown, however, is still bustling and cute with lots of shops and restaurants.
Our first full day in Red Lodge was a Saturday and was earmarked for driving the Beartooth Highway. We had a slower morning and headed out around 10:00 on a glorious sunny (but chilly) morning. Beartooth Highway winds (and I mean WINDS) it's way over the Beartooth Pass topping out at a whopping 10,970 feet. It was a beautiful drive and very cool to be able to drive in an alpine tundra. It even got a sprinkling of snow the night before, which made for some very picturesque photos :) The views were spectacular and we could see for miles in all directions. We made our way to the summit and then traveled down the other side of the pass and had lunch at a picnic spot outside of Cooke City. Our trusty GyPSy guide came along with us and we enjoyed the commentary about this amazing pass.
Our trip back over the pass went much faster (with less stopping) and we made it back to Red Lodge by late afternoon. After some resting and freshening up we headed into Red Lodge for dinner. I had looked up a well rated restaurant before we headed in and we decided to try it out. It was called Prerogative Kitchen and it did not disappoint! Definitely the best meal we've had on the trip so far. It had it all - good food, great atmosphere, wonderful service and an innovative approach to dining. Check out Noelle's review of this restaurant HERE. It was all delicious, but the brussels sprouts probably stole the show. They were fried with a spicy/sweet sauce, crumbled gorgonzola and micro greens - yum! We ended the night sharing a sticky toffee pudding and blueberry crumble with lavender ice cream. We all went home stuffed!
The next day was going to be a long driving day so we hit the hay early so we could get out at a reasonable time.