A prestigious magazine has ranked a Montana town as the #1 mountain town in the country for 2023.

I've always loved living in the mountains. Growing up in Missoula, it felt so weird when I moved to Minnesota and there weren't any obvious "landmarks." Then, when I lived in Maine it felt weird to be in the trees after living on the prairie. But between the prairie, the forest, and the mountains, I'll take the mountains every time.

And I love the Montana town that was named on this list. Even though much of Montana is still feeling overwhelmed by stories that put Montana on the map, I appreciate it when Montana is recognized, and this town is deserving.

Architectural Digest, a magazine with over 100 years of history, has just released its best mountain towns for 2023. They used several factors to determine which town was the best:

  • average snowfall
  • extreme weather events
  • airport accessibility
  • average summer temperature
  • entertainment
  • restaurants
  • air quality
  • ski resorts

They also note that "average and typical home prices" were not a factor in the ranking.

The mountain towns in the top 10 included some familiar favorites, and I was sort of surprised that the Montana town wasn't Whitefish or even Big Sky. The top 10 included:

10 - Camden, Maine

9 - Thermopolis, Wyoming

8 - Stowe, Vermont

7 - Ketchum, Idaho

6 - Aspen, Colorado

5 - Joseph, Oregon

4 - Thomas, West Virginia

3 - Lake Placid, New York

2 - Telluride, Colorado

The Montana town that took the #1 spot on the list was: Red Lodge, Montana.

mountain town red lodge montana

#1 Mountain Town: Red Lodge, Montana

So much about Red Lodge makes it an excellent pick for the #1 mountain town. The proximity to Yellowstone National Park and the Beartooth Mountains is a big one, but the town has so much to offer. The annual rodeo and 4th of July Parade draws people from hundreds of miles away, Red Lodge Mountain is a fun ski resort, and the downtown features unique shops and great food. Wild Bill Lake is also nearby and a great place to take kids fishing. Plus, there are tons of walking, hiking, and cross-country ski trails within minutes of the city.

Red Lodge saw devastating flooding in 2022 as part of the flooding that affected much of southeastern Montana. With a designation like #1 mountain town, let's hope that the national attention will lead to some tourism that could support a town that has been rebuilding.

The Best Places Where Montanans Have Lived

Of course, Montanans love our state and many will always call it home, but here is an idea of the other places all over the world where Montanans have enjoyed living.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

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