Great Towns to Visit Near Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of America’s premier destinations, and exploring its vast and varied landscape should be a part of any vacation to this neck of the woods. Three of the five entrances to the Park are located in Montana, making it easy to stay in a gateway town. These towns are charming, unique, and, most of all, fun to visit! You’ll find a combination of outdoor recreation and culture you don’t often see in remote areas, so whether you’re looking for a quiet, small-town getaway in towns like Gardiner, Cooke City, or Silver Gate, or a more urban experience such as Bozeman, you have plenty of options.

West Yellowstone

Located at the West Entrance to Yellowstone, this little town has a lot of experiences to complement your trip to the Park. It’s a popular area for ATVs and side-by-sides in the summer, and during the winter, the trail system becomes a snowmobiler’s mecca! Don’t miss the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to learn more about the fantastic wildlife in and around the Park. For the family, there are rodeos, free concerts, ziplining, live theater, and the Yellowstone Giant Screen Theater.


Big Sky

For outdoor enthusiasts or luxury trip seekers, Big Sky is a beautiful option for a vacation base. In the winter, Big Sky Resort and Lone Mountain Ranch offer downhill and Nordic skiing. Dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, and star gazing are also popular. During the summer, enjoy the lift-served, downhill biking trails and miles of hiking and biking opportunities. The summer concert series, Music in the Mountains, and the weekly Farmers Market are local favorites for evening entertainment.



Home to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and twenty-four non-stop flights to major cities across the country, Bozeman is often the launching point for a trip to southwest Montana. Situated between the West and North entrances, it’s easy to access Yellowstone from either direction or do a loop and explore all sides! Here, you’ll find outstanding restaurants, shopping, and live music – perfect for those looking for cultural activities to round out their trip. Bridger Bowl, located just sixteen miles from downtown Bozeman, is a local favorite and offers terrain for any ability – from beginner to expert.


Livingston, Montana



What started as the first gateway town to Yellowstone, Livingston, is now an eclectic mix of artists, entrepreneurs, outdoor enthusiasts, and cowboys. You’ll find art galleries, custom boot shops, incredible bookstores, and top-notch restaurants. The fishing, floating, biking, and hot springs are excellent. And, if you’re visiting in the summer, check out the live music at Pine Creek Lodge, the Old Saloon, Music Ranch Montana, and The Attic.



Nestled next to Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance, Gardiner is a great place to stay if you’re a serious wildlife watcher. The Lamar Valley is home to bison, grizzly, black bear, and most of the population of wolves. The best time to view them is early morning or late evening, so if you stay in Gardiner, you can get a little more shut-eye. If you tour the terraces and boardwalks at Mammoth Hot Springs, you’ll likely see resident elk roaming through the town. (They are still wild, don’t get too close!) Rafting, hiking, eBike tours, fishing, and horseback riding are also available.


Cooke City / Silver Gate

These two little mountain towns are just outside the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone and are the perfect spot for those looking for a remote vacation. You can hike, bike, and explore the Beartooth Highway in the summer. During winter, snowmobilers flock to the area for the big hill climbs and vast number of trails. It’s also a popular area for Nordic skiing and ice climbing and is known to maintain its snowpack well into the spring.


Red Lodge, Montana


Red Lodge

Though a bit removed in the winter months, during the summer, you can access Red Lodge via the Beartooth Highway, which makes for a lovely loop from Yellowstone. A favored route for motorcyclists, many people make the trek for the Beartooth Rally. You’ll find great restaurants, quaint shopping, and many beautiful mountains to explore.

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