Montana Real Estate — is Red Lodge the Next Jackson Hole

People that purchased real estate in Jackson, Wyoming during the 1970s and 1980s are dancing a jig today. That is because this southern entry community to Yellowstone National Park has seen real estate prices rise twenty-fold or more, as some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals purchased real estate in the area. The same is true of Aspen, Vail, Park City, and many other Rocky Mountain Resort locations.

Red Lodge, Montana Real Estate Is Relatively Undiscovered

The charming Victorian mining-era town of Red Lodge, Montana may be just the type of real estate investment that Jackson, Vail, Aspen and Park City once were. Butch Cassidy once tried to rob the bank there and Calamity Jane spent her nights at the Pollard Hotel. Red Lodge Mountain is the local ski resort with over 2,000 feet of vertical drop. The Beartooth Pass crests at just over 11,000 feet and boasts some of the best springtime back country skiing anywhere in the nation. Red Lodge Mountain was recently purchased by JMA Associates of San Francisco. They have significant capital improvement plans including many lift upgrades and more snowmaking capacity.

This Montana town is in a major real estate renaissance when most other resorts in the U.S. are struggling to get over a ‘post real estate boom hangover.’ For instance, a new $25 million hospital begins construction in 2008, a new $9 million high school has already broken ground, a new Red Lodge Ales brewery, and Sam’s Tap Room begin construction in the summer of 2008. Plus, numerous other commercial and residential developments are well under way.

Red Lodge borders the one-million-acre Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness which contains all 43 of Montana’s mountain peaks over 12,000 feet. It’s a Mecca for backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, kite skiing, snowmobiling, and high mountain lake fishing.

Red Lodge Boasts the Least Expensive Resort Real Estate in the Rockies

When asked why Red Lodge real estate is so inexpensive, architect Don McLaughlin says, “That is a good question and a question that we don’t feel will be asked for many more years as we expect to see prices rise.” McLaughlin is a member of the Montana real estate development team at The Spires at Red Lodge. He was also instrumental in creating Red Lodge’s National Historic District in the early 1980s by chronicling all of the town’s historic structures with his wife Betsy.

The attraction with a small mountain town like Red Lodge is complex, like a fine wine, from its authentic downtown to the multitude of recreational opportunities. The town is an eclectic mix of artists, former chiefs of staff of U.S. Senators, authors, and a host of interesting world travelers that all reside together in this quaint village. It is not unusual here for people that you don’t even know to wave at you, reinforcing the friendly nature of the town.

Red Lodge Offers Fun in the Sun Every Day… Well, Almost!

Montana is known as ‘Big Sky Country’ and that sky is full of sun to enjoy scenery and outdoor activities. Red Lodge boasts nearly 300 days of sunshine per year as a result of being on the eastern front of the Rocky Mountain range. So, residents have more nice days to spend on their favorite activities:

  1. Driving “The Most Scenic Highway in America” — At least that’s what journalist Charles Kuralt called the famed Beartooth Pass which is just 12 miles south of town and climbs from 5,800 feet in elevation to just over 11,000 feet. This highway was also featured in the movie, The Horse Whisperer.
  2. Dining Out — More restaurants and bars per capita than any other city in Montana.
  3. Visiting Yellowstone National Park — One of the world’s greatest wonders is only about an hour away.
  4. Downhill Skiing — Red Lodge Mountain offers over 2,000 feet of vertical drop.
  5. Cross Country Skiing — The Beartooth Pass crests at just over 11,000 feet and offers some of the best springtime back country skiing in the nation.
  6. Whitewater Rafting — The Stillwater River 30 minutes west is a popular summer activity.
  7. Hiking and Backpacking — Area trails provide tremendous opportunities for all ages and levels of ability.
  8. Fly Fishing — The Stillwater River, Clark’s Fork, Rock Creek, Willow Creek, and the Shoshone River are guaranteed to please. The world famous Bighorn River is just a 90-minute drive away and provides some of the best tail water dam trout fishing anywhere in Montana.
  9. Mountain Biking — Bikers will have a great time on the Silver Run trail (10 minutes from town), the Meteetsee Trail (south of town), the Palisades Trail, or on one of the many trails at Red Lodge Mountain Resort.
  10. Golfing — Break out the clubs and shoot a round of 18 holes at the Red Lodge Country Club. This course challenges everyone with its water hazards while taking their breath away with the spectacular scenery.
  11. Special Events — Red Lodge hosts the annual 4th of July rodeo, a Harley Rodeo rally every mid-July, the U.S. National Ski Joring Championships, the Festival of Nations (a multicultural event), Shakespeare in the Parks, the Peaks-to-Prairies triathlon, a very popular Christmas stroll, the annual Fat Tire Frenzy, and a long list of other events.

If you have not yet visited Red Lodge and investigated the incredible real estate opportunities in this “last best place” in the Northern Rockies, then it’s time to jump in your car and check it out!