Taking in the surrounding wilderness scenarios of Montana’s Red Lodge from horseback can add deep shades of the authentic west to any visit.
The seemingly endless miles of expansive-looking mountains, trails, and prairies add to time spent in the saddle like nothing else. The landscape may well feature elements of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness and the Custer-Gallatin National Forest.
Horseback riding is an activity the whole family can get involved in when visiting Red Lodge and the season typically spans from May through September. After a spot of planning in order to connect with the right guides and terrain, you won’t need much else to get started— including experience.
If you are heading to the Red Lodge region looking for either short or long days on the trails, an outfitter’s services are one of the best ways to get deep into it. From horseback, it’s much easier to access some amazingly remote lakes and alpine terrain, and a guide or outfitter will typically give you a few basic riding tips about turning, stopping, and starting your horse.
Options such as half-day, full-day, or even multiple-day pack-trip excursions into the backcountry are offered according to the outfitter. Then you can hit the trail whether already an expert hand or with even basic skills garnered from your guide.
Before you know it you’ll be trekking like the cowboys of the Old West when horseback riding in Red Lodge.
Horseback Riding in Red Lodge
1. Elk River Outfitters
Elk River Outfitters is an authentic, fifth-generation Montana, family-owned and operated concern. Guests can take a 2-hour ride with owner Brad and his sons Chase and Tanner, both of whom are Rodeo Riders and went to University on rodeo scholarships.
Your kids are guaranteed to love riding with these real cowboys! The outfit arranges rides that include views of up to seven different mountain ranges in this amazing location.
If you have only a few hours to spare you will easily be accommodated by Elk River, who also offer half-day, full-day, or even customized horseback rides for your group. These often head up into the Pryor Mountains and include a night or two in either a cabin or a tent.
Some of the horseback rides are done on the family ranch out near Pryor, while others will lead you off into the mountains as the trails wind through shaded aspens, wildflowers, and sage meadows with views in all directions!
Whether you are just passing through Red Lodge or are looking for a specific riding destination, Elk River Outfitters provides assistance during horseback riding season—which typically runs between May and September.
Age requirements are a minimum of 6 years old and weight limits should not exceed 250 lbs. Keep in mind that reservations are necessary most of the time.
To get to the Outfitter’s address in Red Lodge, head south through the town on Highway 212, then turn left onto Highway 308 followed by the first right, which is a single-lane dirt road, until you see the horses on the right.
2. Whispering Winds Horse Adventures
Whispering Winds is just 10 miles north of Red Lodge in a scenic landscape complete with soaring eagles and playful deer and antelope. The outfit offers horseback trail riding as well as a range of other equine-related avenues such as riding lessons and therapy.
Rides start from the ranch, where the head wrangler is a 3rd-generation Montanan certified in equine-assisted learning who has been riding his whole life. You can head for the rolling hills surrounded by four mountain ranges with Whispering Winds Horse Adventures, and some rides can be tailored to include lunch or even dinner.
A diverse range of lessons are offered including therapy for traumatized riders and self-discovery retreats. As the head wrangler is specialized in particular aspects of learning you’ll find the levels of patience and professionalism here impressive to say the least. The ranch opens year-round and reservations are necessary.
3. Remington Alpine Outfitting
The owner of this outfitter, Remington DeSarro, was born and raised in the midst of the stunning Beartooth Mountains. Thus he has been exploring the area one way or another for his entire life—including by horseback.
Remington is very committed to providing high-quality outdoor adventures for others and this includes trail rides across a variety of scenic loops to choose from. The trailhead in Custer National Forest is a favorite from here too.
Horseback rides typically have minimum age requirements of 6-8 depending on the terrain being covered. There will also be maximum weight limits for riders, usually around the 250 lb-mark.
Summer backcountry pack trips of 1-6 days’ duration are offered on top of the regular horseback trail riding which comes with either hourly, half-day, and full-day options with special group concessions for parties over three. You can check out the full details including the prices HERE.