Day-Hike to Quinnebaugh Meadows

After doing the three-nighter toward Martin Lake, the dog and I went back to Red Lodge, rested up, and then hit the trail again for one more day hike before heading home. This was was out to Quinnebaugh Meadows, which I picked mostly because the dog doesn’t like being in the car and the trailhead at West Fork of Rock Creek is pretty close to Red Lodge.

The Summary

Scenery-to-Effort Ratio: 5? Scenery is probably a 9 and effort is probably a 2 (relative to 10-mile round-trips). So: 4.5 rounded up is 5. The bang-for-buck is tremendous — it’s a pretty easy half-day that takes you through much of what’s great about the Beartooths. (Also, while this is an easy 10-miler, it’s still 10 miles at very high elevation, so that might not net out as actually “easy” for everyone.)

Elevation Gain: Very gradual 1,000′. You start at about 8,000′ and the meadow is at about 9,000′.

Obstacles: The trail was slightly damp, otherwise it’s all straightforward till you get to the meadow. (If you wanted to go further, you’d have to cross a stream.)

Popularity: Moderate compared to most places, probably heavy compared to other Beartooths hikes. Crossed paths with probably six or seven other groups on the trail.

Distance: About 10 miles round-trip (this is an out-and-back).

Location: Beartooth Mountains near Red Lodge, Mont.


  • Scenery is great the whole way with no lay-off — even the burned out forest for the first mile or two past the trailhead is pretty nice.
  • Great views of ridgelines and the river (creek) roars alongside the trail.
  • A few nice little waterfalls/cascades.
  • If you wanted an easy overnighter (or a good basecamp situation), there are some decent places to camp in the meadow.
  • Saw another trail corgi (other than mine).


  • The scenery is all really nice, but there’s nothing jaw-dropping.
  • The and-back part of out-and-back i
  • s always a little less exciting than the out.
  • Not really the route to go on if you’re trying to fish.

The Rest

I dunno. Here are a bunch of photos. That should about cover it. Quinnebaugh Meadows - West Fork Trailhead Quinnebaugh Meadows Trail Beartooth Mountains from Quinnebaugh Meadow West Fork of Rock Creek And then we drove back to Red Lodge, ate decent Mexican food, then hung out at the hotel.