The Custer National Forest is one of the most spectacular in the
U.S., and East Rosebud campground sits right in the heart of it
on the Beartooth front. The trick is that East Rosebud is not
easy to get to. The closest real towns are Columbus, Montana(40
miles north) and Red Lodge, Montana(30.79 miles to the east).
Much of this drive is along a very narrow and bouncy dirt road.
Make sure you have a spare tire. In fact, It may be prudent to
have two if you plan to drive a lot in this area on the forest
roads. The campground itself is quite small, with 14 available
sites. Many of the sites have a cozy feel and privacy is just
OK. The real key to this campground is the great views and the
subalpine ambiance that permeates the area. Also, East Rosebud
Lake is right near the campground offering boating and fishing
in a classic Montana mountain setting. This area of the Custer
National forest is very rugged, with tall rock cliffs looming
out of East Rosebud Lake.
Many hikers use this area as a day hike base camp for the trails
that head off into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness such as the
East Rosebud Trail and the Red Lodge Creek Trail. The scenery
here really is something else. One thing you may notice however
is the cluster of vacation homes on the northeast shore of East
Rosebud Lake which for some may take away from the experience.
That said, the lake is still a great place to spend some time
and the campground is isolated enough from the vacation homes
to offer a sense of privacy. Also, utilizing the day hikes in
the area will quickly put you into the wilderness. Sylvan Lake
and Crow Lake are about six miles up on the East Rosebud Trail.
Note that the area was hit by a fire. This does not detract from
the natural beauty.
East Rosebud campground facts:
Video Tour available: No
Open: Varies based on snow, from late May to early September
Dump Station: No
Store: No(30.7 miles east to Red Lodge on highway 78)
Fee: $9 max length of stay 10 days
Ranger District: Beartooth
RV: 23x 31
Handicapped Accessible: Toilets
Toilets: Yes(vault) | Tables: Yes | Fire rings: Yes
Water: 1 spigot
Elevation: 6,356 feet
Fishing: Yes (East Rosebud Lake, East Rosebud River - brook trout,
Gas: No (30.7 miles east to Red Lodge on highway 78)
Repairs: No (30.7 miles east to Red Lodge on highway 78)
Image notes: photos are directly from East Rosebud Campground
in the Custer National Forest.
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